Going Green

Going Green

If you haven’t switched to green cleaning products, here are five reasons why you should 

By: Mary Lou Jay 


1. It’s affordable.

The price of green products has deterred many facility managers from adopting them. But choosing the lowest cost option doesn’t always get the best results.  

“Green products are slightly higher in price due to the advanced technology, such as, HEPA filtration and microfiber product development,” said Glenn McCourt, President, National Janitorial Solutions. “However, in the long run, there is less maintenance required in many cases.” Green technology includes new pads that allow floor technicians to perform wet-work services using only water, as well as products that decrease the frequency of required wet-work services while maintaining floors’ cleanliness and shine.  

Low-moisture carpet cleaning (encapsulation) reduces water usage and prevents heavy soil buildup. “We can reduce or even eliminate deep carpet extraction, extending the life of fabric while reducing labor,” said Scott Brown, Vice President, Strategic Accounts, Betco. 

Meanwhile, the cost of ingredients in many green cleaning products has been coming down, and manufacturers are developing more multipurpose products. Instead of buying five or six different cleaners for various tasks, FMs can purchase larger quantities of a single product. 

KinderCare previously allowed each of its locations to buy their choice of cleaning products. Now the company uses the same green products throughout all its centers. “They don’t add to the cost. When using a nationwide standardized system, we found better pricing than if the products were purchased by individual centers,” said Rocky LaCross, Senior Director Support Services.

2. It’s effective.

Retailers are increasingly interested in green products and procedures, Brown and McCourt added. But performance remains a priority.

“With the advancements in technology, green products are not only safer, they are just as effective as their harsher predecessor products,” McCourt said. 

Suppliers are ready to assist retail maintenance departments transitioning to green cleaning. “We will look at their entire cleaning strategy to help create clean, green and healthy environments that make a lasting impression for customers,” Brown said. “Retailers should continue to look for ways they can affect the entire process—surfaces, employees and occupants within the facility.”

3. It’s healthier and safer.

For its green cleaning, KinderCare uses supplies from Betco and from EcoLab, which evaluates its products on more than 20 attributes relating to human, environmental and societal impacts. “We felt that it was better to go with a holistic attitude of cleaning and have products that are safe for children and EPA-approved,” LaCross said. This approach provides added assurance for parents, who know there are no harmful cleaning products children could encounter in the centers. A green cleaning program helps reduce absenteeism in stores by creating a healthy indoor environment for the user and for building occupants, Brown added. 

4. It’s better for business.

FMs making a business case for green cleaning can cite KPMG’s report on Global Retail Trends 2018, which found that “customers want the companies they buy from to practice sustainability, strong ethical behavior and transparency.”  More businesses are adopting sustainable practices. Starbucks no longer offers plastic straws or Styrofoam cups; McDonald’s uses electrified water to clean its restaurants. “News headlines somewhat force the hand of executives to be environmentally responsible, and this applies to most aspects of their business, not just cleaning and maintenance,” McCourt said.

Retailers can also reduce liability risks by using green cleaning products that can’t accidentally harm customers exposed to them.

5. It’s the future of cleaning. 

“Green has evolved from individual products to the overall sustainability of a facility,” Brown said. For example, sustainable cleaning products don’t just clean; they help extend the life of floors and surfaces so they require less heavy cleaning, maintenance or replacement. 

Sustainable cleaning products have less environmental impact. Products like Betco BioActive Solutions™ use a blend of microbial species that naturally stimulate enzymes for cleaning, so there are no high alkaline or low pH chemicals going down the drain. 

FMs who take advantage of advances in green and sustainable cleaning can keep stores attractive while protecting employees, customers and the environment from exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. 


Sidebar: Picking Your Products

Do your homework. Determine your desired results, identify your budget and understand the proper solutions for your environment.

Consult the experts. Talk to your cleaning provider and to supply houses; read cleaning blogs.  

Remember there are numerous solutions that provide similar results. Keep looking until you find the one that best suits your needs.

Source: Glenn McCourt, National Janitorial Services

Your Go-To Tool

Janitorial Workload Tool 2.0, developed by the PRSM Benchmarking Committee in collaboration with Simon Institute and Michigan State University, will help retailers generate an accurate scope of work by quantifying cleanliness and removing subjectivity. It can also serve as a tool to help retailers determine and maintain their brand standards (level of cleanliness desired) and to gauge staffing requirements and costs. This could enable open conversations with the or ganization’s internal teams, such as finance, operations and store development, plus supplier partners. For more, visit prsm.com. 

Published: January 31, 2019