Office cleaning and reducing environmental impact, Tidy workplace advice, Volatile organic compounds
Office Cleaning and Reducing Environmental Impact Guide
20 Apr 2023
Every aspect of maintaining an office will have some environmental impact, from repairing portions of the office to conducting regular cleaning. Even the kind of office supplies you order for your business and the hours your employees work will have an effect on the environment.
How do you reduce the negative impact and still operate a business efficiently? With each kind of building, there are a variety of environmental concerns to take into account, and the focus in this article is on cleaning.
The method you choose for cleaning your offices will factor into your environmental impact, reducing or increasing carbon emissions and creating or eliminating waste. Here are some effective methods to decrease your environmental impact when cleaning your business offices.
Use Eco-Friendly Cleaners
One of the biggest ways your cleaning methods directly affect the environment is in the use of cleaning chemicals. Many commercial cleaning solutions contain harmful particles like parabens and VOCs (volatile organic compounds). These can affect your health and the air quality around you and your employees.
If you care about protecting the environment, you will be very careful about what kinds of cleaners your company uses. Whether you have a cleaning crew on your staff or you hire professional cleaning services, make sure that the cleaning agents they use are environmentally friendly. There are many alternatives to harmful cleaners, including baking soda and vinegar. Alternative cleaning methods can be used, like steam cleaning, which produces no harmful chemicals.
How sustainable are your company’s cleaning products that are used to tidy and sanitize the office? Are they corrosive, carcinogenic, or ozone depleting? Taking the time to know which chemicals and methods are being used and ensuring they are eco-friendly will go a long way toward cutting back on harmful chemicals in your building’s environment.
Implement Biodegradable Supplies
It is not just the cleaning agents that need to be scrutinized for their environmental impact. You should also look at the cleaning tools that are used, like cloths, mops, brooms, scrubbing brushes, and more. If they are disposable, you could be creating unnecessary waste. If they are not biodegradable, then you may want to switch them out for products that are safer for the environment.
Choosing disposable, biodegradable products is an option, especially with cleaning cloths, scrubbing pads, and other items that would normally be used over a short term before they need to be disposed of. Another option is to use very durable tools that are not going to need to be replaced anytime soon. Consider paying more for cleaning tools that would not take up space in a landfill for many years. The higher upfront costs will be covered by lower overall costs in the long run.
You should also look at the materials your cleaning tools are made from. Glass and wood are far more sustainable than plastics. Encourage your cleaning specialists to reuse and recycle their cleaning containers and tools. This saves you money on purchases and reduces environmental impact at the same time.
How Often to Clean
Another aspect of your office cleaning routine to consider is the frequency of cleaning. That will mostly be determined by your budget and the traffic in the offices, in many cases. A cleaner with imagine maids suggests that “You may not be able to afford commercial cleaning services several times a week, and it may be difficult to have your company’s cleaning staff do a thorough office cleaning as often as you would like”. For efficient cleaning of the offices, you may need to schedule cleaning for each area of the building at different times of the week.
Areas of the office that are open to the public or visible to the public will need to be cleaned the most frequently, followed by work areas and common areas. Trying to keep the property fully cleaned on a continuous basis may not make economic sense and might not be feasible or practical. Reducing cleaning in areas that do not require it as often will reduce your environmental impact as well. It is important to identify the areas of your offices that need to be cleaned more frequently and create a cleaning schedule to ensure a minimal waste of time, effort, and resources.
Who Should Do the Cleaning?
Is it more efficient and economical to have company staff do all of the cleaning, or would it be better to hire experienced cleaners to come and do periodic cleaning? Consider these questions that factor into your company’s environmental impact- Which kind of cleaners will get the job done better and faster? Which kind of cleaners will use fewer resources? Which kind of cleaners will clean in a way that does not require any follow up or frequent, repeated cleanings?
The efficiency and economics of this decision may come down to a few different factors, like the size of the offices, the cleaning needs for that environment, and the amount of foot traffic in the area.
Choose Materials That Are Easy to Clean
All cleaning services will use resources and take time, but you can minimize how much manpower and cleaning chemicals need to be used to do the job if you choose the proper materials for your offices. For instance, carpets will require more intensive and frequent cleaning than tile floors, and they can have a big environmental impact. Permeable surfaces will be more difficult to clean than smooth ones. Furniture with plastic covers will clean faster and easier than furniture with the fabric exposed.
If you are just setting up your offices or are looking for ways to renovate or change things up to be more eco-friendly, consider the materials that make up your office furniture, floors, and walls. Consider both how easy they are to clean and how often they would need to be cleaned. What may seem like minor decisions will have a major impact over time as the surfaces need to be cleaned repeatedly.
You can do plenty to protect the environment, even when it comes to how you clean and maintain your offices.
Comments on this Office Cleaning and Reducing Environmental Impact article are welcome.
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