The Whats and Whys of the Green Cleaning Revolution
At one time or another, you might have heard or read of the term ‘green cleaning’. Have you ever wondered what green cleaning is, how it got started, or why it is important to you? Here is a short primer to get you up to speed.
The early conservation movement began in the 18th Century after the advent of the Industrial Revolution. The concept included the management of fisheries, wildlife, water, soil, and forests. The idea of conservation was not considered until then because there was no need to save an environment that was not seen as being endangered.
Fifty years ago, a movement arose that was called ‘ecology’. The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970, reflecting the environmental consciousness that was spreading throughout the world. Although the early colonists recycled, it was because new materials were hard to come by. The reasons for recycling changed in the 1970s, and the problem was reframed as being something that consumers should solve. The creation of the Environmental Protection Agency would come next, as the government began to take an active part in protecting the environment.
Not long afterward, the first green cleaning products made their way onto the shelves of health food stores. The green cleaning movement had started but it began as a narrow niche. Much like recycling, the use of green cleaners spread as an altruistic endeavor of the consumer. It would take several decades before green cleaning would make progress as a practice in the professional cleaning industry. One of the reasons for the slow adoption was that there were no clear standards or definitions of what a green cleaning product was, and no one really knew for sure what was good for the environment or not.
That changed in the 1990s when legislation directed federal agencies to start purchasing environmentally friendly products for cleaning federal offices. This created a need to develop standards. The need for standards then created a demand for green certification organizations. The organizations made it easier for purchasing agents to identify the green products. It also drove the development of new products in the marketplace. Now, all new green cleaning products looking for certification need to be evaluated in a scientific way. They also need to perform as well as chemical-based cleaners, and they have to be independently certified as green. Additional criteria and standards have arisen as well, including the use of sustainable resources, and the cleaner’s ability to be biodegradable and recyclable. Other factors include the cleaning agent’s ability to conserve water, its allergic reactivity, and other considerations. At this time, the federal government has not had a role in developing green standards. However, there is a push in that direction.
So, why is it important for your professional cleaning company to use green cleaning products? Going green when cleaning can lessen water pollution, an important point considering the recent problems with the Indian River. It also reduces air pollution somewhat and even helps fight climate change and ozone depletion to a small degree. In addition, the practice of using green products also promotes recycling, which can reduce the use of raw materials. Green cleaning certainly lessens the need for the disposal of toxic products. Most importantly, green cleaning makes your home and business environment safe. It keeps your indoor air less polluted so that you don’t have to breathe those strong-smelling chemicals.
With all of these advantages and no disadvantages, it is truly a wonder why all professional cleaning companies don’t use green cleaning products. If your current cleaning company does not use them, even on a limited basis, we have a suggestion for a cleaning company that does. They use tea-tree based cleaners that are better for the environment, and they have the added bonus of protecting the health of you, your family and your employees. Give us a call today!