April 22nd marks the 45th annual Earth Day the first of which significantly changed the way global citizens related to the environment. The first Earth Day was followed by environmental laws including Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and many more. The Earth Day Network strive to “inform and energize populations so they will act to secure a healthy future for themselves and their children”.
Essentially, Earth Day strives to bring awareness to individuals all over the world about the steps they can take and the variety of ways to contribute to a healthier planet and a healthier quality of life.
How does it matter to us?
Earth Day activities features educating and spreading awareness on environmental issues as part of their greening schools campaign. A key feature of ensuring a green and healthy school applies to the facility as well as those who spend the majority of their days within it. Optimizing a school’s cleaning program therefore includes considering elements of health and cleanliness. A positive and efficient environment for students and teachers alike is one that is conducive to learning and growth.
Extending efforts beyond the annual Earth Day is the organization’s ultimate goal as it inspires the population of diverse countries to do their part in reducing the effects of climate change. Water and air are our most essential resources, required for sustaining life of any kind. It therefore becomes integral that we begin to convert our non-renewable habits to renewable ones. The process of creating a healthy and, in the case of some facilities such as hospitals, sterile indoor environment should not come at the cost of the planet’s natural environment.
What can we do?
Environmentally preferable solutions are a vital way of ensuring that cleaning your facility targets areas to improve health and wellness as well as our planet. Using biological cleaning solutions optimizes biological decomposition that effectively cleans and deodorizes without compromising the health of workers, customers or the environment. By harnessing nature’s own processes to recycle waste into simple and essential substances, they can meet the demands for cleaning, odour control, and waste elimination just as successfully as chemical cleaning products without the use of potentially harmful chemicals. Eliminating the need for harsh and harmful cleaning agents will contribute to a healthier indoor environment with improved indoor air quality. This will help increase productivity while reducing risks of health complications such as developing asthma or reacting to chemicals released from the use conventional products.
Here are some things to look for when opting for environmentally friendly solutions to meet all your cleaning needs:
- Environmentally preferable solutions that you select for your facility’s cleaning needs should be engineered based on sound science that are independently tested then third party certified to comply with the strictest environmental standards.
- Solutions that you select for green cleaning needs should contain readily biodegradable raw materials in accordance with Health and Safety Regulations.
- You should be selecting green solutions that do not contain carcinogens, Alkyl, Octl, Nonyl Phenol Ethoxylates (APE’s, OPE’s, NPE’s)
- The green solution should always contain low or no VOC’s, or phosphates, no zinc nor dibutyl phthalate.
- Make sure you verify the products you chose have the various UL EcoLogo, Green Seal, Environmental Choice Program and other standard industry certifications.
- The industry does not always provide the necessary information or clear information in its labelling. It is therefore very important to be educated and trained about MSDS and WHMIS regulations and standards.
Sustainable Cleaning Programs:
Implementing a sustainable cleaning program does not refer exclusively to the products being used. Rather, there are several measures that could additionally be taken to ensure waste reduction and the optimal use of natural resources. An example of monitoring and limiting the use of natural resourcing is water conservation. Water conservation methods include metering and charging users by volume, using flow-restriction faucets and low-flush toilet tanks, and reducing the frequency or hours of operation of automatic flushing systems. Also, making cleaning schedule alterations such as ensuring cleaning procedures are completed during daylight, will conserve the use of energy and electricity.
Continuing to educate yourself and your staff on the benefits of maintaining a clean and healthy environment through the use of wall charts and training programs is as equally vital as choosing environmentally preferable solutions and implementing sustainable cleaning programs. Through initiatives such as these, we can take Earth Day as a helpful reminders to continue to conduct audits and evaluate our sustainable practices in order to continuously implement more for the sake of our health, wellness, and our planet.