By now most people know how to “green up” their household cleaning supplies. They know, for example, that adding some baking soda, dish soap and vinegar to a spray bottle filled with water makes a pretty great all-purpose cleanser. They know that the easiest way to clean a bathtub is with a grapefruit and kosher salt.
When it comes to industrial cleaning, though, most people get a little bit lost. It’s easy to search for environmentally friendly cleaning companies but hard to figure out who actually knows what they are doing. After all, these companies probably aren’t employing people to stand around and create gallons of cleansers out of water, vinegar, baking soda and dish soap! Plus, these companies often use different terminologies for the same idea.
There are, luckily, a few common things that separate the good green industrial cleaners from those who are just hoping to make a quick buck off of the trend. They are also, if you are in the industrial and professional cleaning business, things that you can do to ensure your customers that your company truly is green.
It Isn’t Just About the Planet
There are lots of things that professional cleaners can use to clean a place that don’t necessarily harm the environment. Some of those cleansers though are toxic to humans and animals and that presents a problem. To be a proper green company, the company needs to prove that it knows how to keep people just as safe as the planet. The last thing a company should do is say “we got it clean, but you can’t go in there or touch anything from there for a few days until the cleansers have settled in.”
Beware Price Gouging
The food industry is famous for increasing its prices for foods that are certified organic. It’s no wonder that other companies would try the same thing. While it is true that “greening up” a business can cost money, beware of the company that insists on passing that cost along to the consumer (and don’t try to do that if the company is yours). There are a lot of great tax credits and grants available to companies who want to go green that can offset the cost of the upgrades.
Find/Get the Seal of Approval
As of yet, there are no laws that require a company prove its sustainability or greenness before it can call itself environmentally friendly. In other words, there are no local or federal certifications that a company must obtain before boasting about their “green” power. There are, however, independent organizations like Green Seal that offer companies the chance to get things like a certification for green cleaning products. Look for the green seal and other endorsements from recognizable sources that can back up a company’s claims of environmental friendliness.
Walking the Walk
It’s one thing to say that you are green and that you support the green movement. It’s another to prove it. Being transparent about all of the things you’re doing to offset your carbon footprint is a great way to rest skeptical minds who might otherwise be wary of your services. This is also a good idea if you plan to franchise your company out to people who might not be as strict about your standards as you’d like. JaniKing is a cleaning business, for example, that invests in green cleaning initiatives and works only with preferred vendors who are also green and sustainable (source: JaniKing company website).
The fact is that companies of every stripe are boasting their environmental sustainability. All sorts of products are being touted as “green” now that you might never have thought to be harmful. Knowing how to separate the companies who are raising their prices because they slapped a recycling symbol on their marketing and those who are doing the real work is important. It is particularly important that, as a business owner, you separate yourself from the posers. Hopefully this article has helped you figure out how to do that.