When talking about cleaning, some people use the terms “green” and “sustainable” as though they mean the same thing. And while something can be green and sustainable, it’s not always the case.
First of all, not everyone agrees on the definitions of these terms. When we talk about green cleaning, we mean the use of chemicals and procedures that are use with the health and environmental implications in mind.
Sustainability, to borrow a definition from the United Nations, means that a solution meets our present needs without compromising those of future generations. Environmental, social and financial factors all affect sustainability.
One of the factors is reducing the energy expended in global distribution which can take lots of energy and contribute to pollution. The idea of the 100-mile diet (in which produce is sourced within the 100 miles of where it’s consumed) has taken the food and dining industries by storm.
In the cleaning industry, we can reduce the energy used to ship chemicals by choosing concentrated cleaning products. For instance, the Enviro Chem cleaning products we use at Allcare are concentrated, helping them take up less space on trucks so that fewer trucks need to be on the road.
Instead of shipping the chemicals diluted in water, the concentrated chemicals can be mixed in reusable bottles using simple tap water. This cuts down on the energy spent on shipping and also cuts down on the number of bottles used because they can be reused.
The Enviro Chem products meet stringent environmental requirements and carry the EcoLogo and Green Seal. This makes them green. Being responsible for their environmental, social and financial impacts makes them sustainable.
Green cleaners constantly strive to make their processes less harmful to the health of building inhabitants and the environment as a whole. Sustainable cleaning means being mindful of the impact that cleaning techniques and the production and distribution of chemicals have on people and the environment today, and many years from now.
For more on the difference between green and sustainable, read Ronnie Garrett’s article on the topic published on industry news site CleanLink.