With green initiatives gaining traction, the pressure is on for businesses to act and become more sustainable. This includes embracing greener energy sources, reducing emissions to meet net-zero goals, and minimising harmful waste. The shift towards sustainability encompasses all business activities, including cleaning practices.
In a previous article, Vanguard explored the presence of harmful chemicals in cleaning products, shedding light on the fact that some of these products contain substances that are harmful to wildlife and the environment. This highlights the need for offices to revaluate their cleaning methods and adopt eco-friendly strategies wherever possible, to keep their community and staff safe.
As the global community becomes increasingly aware of the environmental impact of everyday actions, businesses are under growing scrutiny to do their part in protecting the planet. One way that offices can do this is by transitioning to eco-friendly cleaning products and practices. Adopting sustainable cleaning solutions is not only an ethical choice but also a proactive business move to demonstrate your environmental responsibility.
In this article, Vanguard will present 7 key ways that offices can adopt more eco-friendly cleaning strategies, helping your office to become greener and more eco-conscious. We will explore how your cleaning protocols can become more sustainable, and the ways that Vanguard Cleaning can help in providing pristine cleaning and facilities management solutions for your office.
Eco-friendly cleaning is crucial to reduce chemical pollution, as many traditional cleaning products contain harsh chemicals, which can harm wildlife when used and disposed of incorrectly. It’s not just wildlife that can be harmed, but humans too if these chemicals pollute water sources.
In our previous article, we explored COSHH regulations and CLP symbols, which highlighted how many traditional cleaning supplies contain toxic chemicals, which can cause numerous health problems such as:
Opting for more eco-friendly cleaning can reduce these risks to your staff and the environment. In addition, choosing to conduct more eco-friendly cleaning makes your company more environmentally responsible, something that is of increasing importance to both customers and potential staff.
Eco-friendly cleaning can protect the health of your staff, minimise environmental damage, and enhance your business reputation.
Conducting eco-friendly cleaning is not just a responsible choice – it’s also a strategic one. It safeguards the health and wellbeing of your staff, reduces environmental risks, and positions your business as a responsible and forward-thinking, attracting customers and talent.
Below, we have outlined 7 key tips to make your office cleaning more environmentally friendly.
Hiring a professional cleaning company is beneficial to your business in numerous ways, particularly in aiding your eco-friendly cleaning. As professional cleaners are trained on how to use products and materials, you’ll receive a service of maximum effectiveness, without wasting products.
Professional cleaning services can also take the stress and confusion out of recycling for your office, ensuring that as little waste as possible goes to landfill sites.
At Vanguard Cleaning, all our cleaning staff undergo a rigorous training procedure, so they are fully qualified in providing a pristine cleaning service. Professional cleaners have the product knowledge to use each chemical appropriately, avoiding unnecessary waste that can harm your staff and the environment.
Plus, commercial cleaning companies invest in state-of-the-art cleaning equipment and technology. Durable cleaning equipment from professional cleaning companies reduces the need to buy disposable cleaning tools, which only adds to your business waste.
Recycling should be common practice across your office, including for your cleaning products. Many cleaning products are stored in plastic containers and bottles, which can be washed and recycled. For standard trash removal, recycling policies should be in place to ensure as much of your waste can be recycled at your local facility.
According to a survey conducted by Business Waste, 90% of companies still don’t have a recycling policy. This small change can increase the eco-friendliness of your office, helping you become a more sustainable business.
Recycling cleaning products is a simple way to help become a greener business and can benefit your reputation too. Research conducted by the Harvard Business School revealed that over half of consumers believe it is important to take a stand on key social, environmental, and political issues. By following a recycling policy for your office cleaning, your business takes a proactive stance in bettering its environmental impact.
According to data from the University of Birmingham, only 10% of plastic waste is recycled in the UK, whilst 17% goes to landfill sites in the UK. Correctly disposing of cleaning packaging with a company recycling policy can reduce your landfill contribution, helping your office to become green.
Proper disposal of chemical waste is crucial to safeguard both human health and the environment. Incorrect disposal practices can lead to pollution and pose a substantial risk of contaminating the nearby water supply. This is harmful to aquatic life and can cause numerous health issues if consumed by humans. Some harmful chemicals commonly found in cleaning products are:
These chemicals can commonly be found in detergents and disinfectants. In the UK, disposing of chemical waste in general waste disposal is illegal. To find specific instructions on how to safely and responsibly dispose of cleaning products, always refer to the label and the manufacturer’s website.
Always take into consideration the CLP (Classification, Labelling, and Packaging) label when disposing of your products. For instance, never pour flammable substances down sinks or drains. Pouring multiple products down drains is dangerous, with the potential to create harmful gases or explosions.
There are a range of private chemical waste removal companies who will collect your waste products and dispose of them correctly. Alternatively, you can visit the government website to find your nearest local chemical and hazardous waste disposal service.
An eco-friendly office cleaning regimen is not solely about the products and materials you use; it also hinges on how efficiently and responsibly these resources are managed. One of the easiest strategies for increasing your eco-conscious office cleaning is reducing your cleaning waste. This not only benefits the environment but also keeps business costs low.
A key aspect of waste reduction in office cleaning is using products only for their intended purposes and when required. Proper training for those responsible for cleaning duties is essential to ensure that cleaning products are handled correctly, and access to these products in your office should be restricted to those with the correct training. This not only enhances the safety of your office cleaning, but also reduces the likelihood of accidental skin reactions or other health issues caused by improper usage.
Efficient use of cleaning products not only increases health and safety but reduces your negative environmental impact. When cleaning supplies are used efficiently and appropriately, less chemical waste is generated, so your office produces less polluting waste from product packaging.
Your office can also reduce its waste by passing on unused products to those who can put them to good use. This protects the environment from chemical waste from products that might otherwise be discarded, ensuring that they are used to their full potential. This, in turn, allows you to recycle the packaging, contributing to further waste reduction.
Reducing your cleaning waste is an essential element for an eco-friendly office cleaning routine. By simply ensuring you utilise your office cleaning supplies appropriately and effectively, you can make your office space more eco-friendly and help protect the environment from unnecessary waste.
Hiring a professional cleaning company like Vanguard Cleaning can reduce your office cleaning waste as we provide our own products and materials. All our cleaners arrive to your office premises with all the cleaning supplies required to provide a comprehensive office cleaning service. This means that you do not need to continue purchasing cleaning supplies for your office, as Vanguard will provide these for you and dispose of them appropriately.
There are a variety of eco-friendly products on the market, including both cleaning products and materials. Simple swaps to these products can be less harmful on the environment, for example, choosing to use cleaning supplies with fewer harmful dyes and perfumes.
One easy swap you can make to start more eco-friendly office cleaning is to change to fragrance-free products. Phosphates in fragrances can inadvertently cause algae to bloom uncontrollably in some water sources. This excessive growth depletes oxygen levels and disrupts marine ecosystems. This is because most artificial fragrances contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). When VOCs react with sunlight, they can cause ozone pollution, which affects air quality and public health.
Research in 2023 revealed that on average, traditional cleaning products emit higher levels of hazardous VOCs compared to green cleaning products, especially when compared to green fragrance-free products. Opting for fragrance-free cleaning products is an eco-friendlier choice, as they do not contain these harmful VOCs, instead tending to contain less harsh chemicals that don’t damage the environment.
Beyond cleaning products, the materials used for office cleaning can also be replaced with more eco-friendly options. Simple swaps, such as choosing plastic-free sponges and biodegradable bin bags, are easy yet impactful changes. Plastic-free sponges reduce dependence on single-use plastic cleaning materials, so your office helps to reduce its amount of plastic waste. For instance, biodegradable bin bags break down naturally, reducing the amount of non-biodegradable plastic waste in landfills.
Additionally, part of creating a greener cleaning protocol in your office involves minimising the use of plastics in personal cleaning too. For example, opting for bars of soap instead of liquid soap for your office restrooms and kitchens is a small but noteworthy change. Research reveals that liquid soap has a carbon footprint 10x greater than that of bar soap, because of the additional chemicals and packaging required.
By using bar soap, your business can help significantly reduce plastic waste and carbon emissions. Overall, reducing the use of plastics for all types of cleaning throughout your office ensures that your business will have a lower carbon footprint.
In addition to your cleaning products, the materials you use to clean your office may be unsustainable. Paper cloths and towels create a huge amount of waste, whereas microfibre cloths and towels can be washed and reused many times. Plus, microfibers are highly effective at picking up dirt, which can reduce reliance on harsh chemical cleaning products.
Microfibre cloths attract bacteria and dirt from surfaces with both positive-charged and negative-charged components. They are far more eco-efficient than regular cotton cloths and paper towels, with research indicating that microfiber mops require 75% less water and chemicals than cotton mops and cloths.
As well as being less effective compared with microfibre cloths, cotton is less sustainable to produce. Cotton grown using conventional methods required huge amounts of land, as well as chemical fertiliser and pesticides. This can involve the conversion of natural habitats into agricultural land, plus risks water contamination for local communities growing the crop. It takes 10,000 litres of water to produce just 1kg of cotton, with 250 billion tons of water being used to produce cotton each year.
Paper towels are also unsustainable, as they are single-use and their production causes deforestation. Microfibre cloths are a more sustainable alternative, typically lasting up to 500 washes. Although they don’t last forever, they are a more sustainable option compared with paper towels and cotton cloths and prove more cost-effective too.
Cleaning your office is not just about using chemicals and cleaning materials. Modern office cleaning often involves machinery, such as hoovers, window cleaning machinery, and more.
Investing in more energy efficient equipment helps to reduce your energy usage, reducing your carbon emissions and getting you closer to that 2050 net-zero goal. With less effective machinery, office cleaning duties can take longer to perform to a high standard. Another benefit of this is that it helps alter energy inefficiencies in your office, which can save on your energy bill.
Professional cleaning companies can help with your eco-friendly office cleaning by providing their own equipment. This industry-leading equipment is utilised by staff with the correct training, ensuring your office is cleaned comprehensively and in a timely manner. This means your office is cleaned more effectively, without wasting energy.
Saving water is another easy way to make your office eco-friendlier. Cleaning often involves high water usage, but there are ways to reduce this. For instance, considering your office size and requirements can help you to use water more efficiently. Small kitchen areas may not require a full mop bucket of water in order to be cleaned effectively, the same way that you taps do not need to be left running for extended periods of time when refilling products.
According to data, over 3 billion litres of clean water is wasted every day in the UK. This equates to 25% of the UK’s daily water consumption. Significant water waste is harmful to global communities, as it leaves them with less accessible and usable water. Furthermore, it damages the environment if it drains too much water from the natural ecosystem. To protect this vital natural resource for humans and other wildlife, conserving water when possible is crucial.
Professional cleaners are trained to use cleaning products efficiently and effectively, minimising waste. At Vanguard, we consider the size of your business when creating our tailormade contracts, so that we work with your business in mind. This People First approach extends across our extensive range of cleaning services, so that we come equipped with the right amount of products and personnel for an effective cleaning solution.
Vanguard provides pristine office cleaning services, drawing upon 22 years of experience to offer both daily maintenance and deep cleaning services, ensuring your office remains spotless.
We recognise that every office is unique, and that’s why each of our cleaning contracts is tailored to your specific needs, regardless of your office size. Our flexible cleaning schedules guarantee a regular clean without disrupting your workday.
Vanguard proudly holds the approval of the British Institute Of Cleaning Science (BICSc), a testament to our top-quality training and procedures. Our membership from the Alcumus Safe Contractor Scheme further underscores our commitment to delivering a gold-standard service for your office space.
For more information on our competitive rates and to request a free, no-obligation quote, don’t hesitate to reach out to Vanguard’s team of experts today!