Outsourced janitorial services play a vital role in sustainability for schools and businesses.
Janitorial Services Role in Sustainability for Schools and Businesses
As the popularity of sustainable business practices begins to rise, due in large part to consumer demand, it is important for schools and businesses to consider the underlying reasons as to why this has happened, and how it can, directly and indirectly, benefit their organization, specifically through cleaning and janitorial services.
According to Environmental Leader;
One of the most effective ways cleaning sustainability is being accomplished is through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) BioPreferred Program.
The essence of this program is to convert, in whole or in part, unused agricultural products, residues, and forestry materials, and turn them into a wide range of products, including those that can be used for professional cleaning.
A June 2015 report by the USDA makes it fairly clear that the economic and community pillars are satisfied through increases in production of biobased goods.
As many as four million jobs have been created since 2013 as a result of the “bio-economy,” as they call it.
In terms of dollars and cents, the USDA says the bio-economy contributes nearly $370 million annually to the U.S. economy.
Where State and Federal Government organizations have moved to align with and foster positive sustainable business practices to accomplish, among other goals:
- A reduction in the environmental impact incurred by the production of traditional commercial and consumer cleaning products, and;
- An improvement in the overall health and safety of building occupants and custodial workers who are exposed to the chemicals, resulting in;
- A decrease in the financial burden of health care costs associated with long-term exposure to environmental damage and indoor air pollution.
Schools and businesses can align their procedures and purchasing practices to improve profitability and student performance.
- NC State University reports a savings of $48,000 per year due to a realignment of cleaning policies and product use.
- The University of Georgia reported approximately $850,000 in savings, between 2008-09, by switching to green cleaning practices, and;
- The City of Oakland was spared $600,000 a year in taxpayer money by adopting sustainable practices and installing energy efficient systems throughout a new government building.
Tips for Implementing Sustainable Practices
- Assess your environments’ current infrastructure and policies to identify areas of concern, projects that can yield positive results with minimal investment, and cleaning products that may overlap in purpose, contain toxic chemicals or be ill-suited for your organization’s use.
- Invest early on in proven technologies, such as HEPA filtration, green floor care, and microfiber, as well as low-cost, low-tech solutions, such as indoor plants to help purify the air, and relocating desks and cubicles to take advantage of heat and light coming from windows.
- Partner with a janitorial vendor that provides recycling services for both organic and non-organic waste.
- Take the time to train your staff and students on the proper handling of any cleaning products, and what to do if they are exposed in a manner that could be hazardous to their health.
- Develop benchmarks and project goals early on to measure the success of the various programs your organization implements, making certain to include key performance indicators, such as improved occupant and customer satisfaction, reduced sick leave, improved grades and testing times, as well as cost reductions, increases in production output, and improved profit margins.
References & Resources
- Green Housekeeping
- Sustainable and Effective Cleaning Practices Lead to Cost Savings
- The Challenge of Going Green
- Green Cleaning
- Sustainable Green Cleaning
Profit and social responsibility are powerful motivators.
Fortunately, the market has shifted towards a strong consumer preference for environmentally-conscious schools, businesses, and products, so the real decision now is how well and how soon your organization can benefit from a ‘cleaning for health first’ janitorial program.
Program adoption can be complicated, and it can be extremely difficult to identify cost-effective products that meet your organization’s needs while aligning with your goals.
Partnering with an experienced, multi-disciplined vendor will streamline the process, and encourage early adoption, which means a faster return on investment, and more profits.
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