The Impact of Sustainable Cleaning ChemicalsNovember 9, 2021
Over the last few years, the entire world has gotten a crash course in why cleaning and disinfecting are such necessary services. As the pandemic grew around the globe, janitors and cleaning services worldwide suddenly became some of the most valuable workers around. Undoubtedly, without the tireless work of talented and dedicated cleaning crews, the pandemic likely could have been much worse.
As a result, the world is getting a little better about keeping things clean! More stores and restaurants offer hand sanitizers, more public areas are regularly cleaned, and even people at home have become more conscientious of germs and bacteria. This is excellent news, particularly for the health of many people, but there is also a possible danger that will come with an increase in cleaning and disinfecting.
While our cleaning standards and expectations have risen, many people haven’t taken the time to learn about the products they are using. Cleaning chemicals are fantastic at handling germs, bacteria, and other unwanted molecules, but when they make their way back into the environment, things can get a little hairy. Many of the common chemicals we use today for cleaning can impact our earth, and if people are cleaning more often, that could mean that these chemicals are on the rise.
As a result, we wanted to put together some information on staying clean without sacrificing the environment. We can all agree that the ability to clean and disinfect the areas around us is crucial, but if it comes at the cost of our environment, then something has to change. We’ll take a quick look at what sustainable cleaning products can look like and why they are becoming so crucial to cleaners everywhere.
What’s The Big Deal?
By now, most (if not all) people will acknowledge the ongoing climate crisis our Earth is facing. After centuries of disregard and pollution, humans are feeling the effects of global warming and climate change more than ever before. We know that many problems come from cars, carbon emissions, and fossil fuels in general…so how do cleaning supplies factor into that, and why should we have to change?
For starters, consider the cleaning products you already have in your home. Grab one or two of them if you’re particularly curious! Scan the ingredients list on the back of the product and consider which ingredients you recognize and which ones are unfamiliar to you. At a guess, the majority of us would only recognize a few of the major components, while all of the other chemicals and compounds would elude us. Unless these cleaners are already designed with sustainability in mind, there is bound to be a chemical or two on that list that can have a severe impact on your health or the environment.
Now, think about all of the times you have used your cleaning products and where all those chemicals might have ended up. If it went down the drain, the chemicals likely made it back to our oceans in some form. If it had been released into the air, many chemicals might have lingered and contributed to the air quality. Naturally, your impact on all of this will be minuscule in the global sense, but when you consider that millions and millions of people use these chemicals every single day, you can start to understand the scope of the problem.
We don’t expect you to learn every harmful chemical out there because that would be a little extreme, but if you have some extra time, and are curious about the many cleaning products in your home or office, check out this list from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). The 20-page document includes all chemicals that are considered harmful to human health and the environment.
How Do We Change?
Luckily for us, we live in a time where sustainability and conservation efforts are extremely important, so people are constantly devising new cleaning methods, products, and strategies to combat our existing problems. There are plenty of different ways that you can improve the sustainability of your cleaning products, and if you’re able to follow just a few of them, it can go a long way to helping our environment stay healthy while you stay clean!
Low VOC Content
If nothing else, try to avoid cleaners that contain VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds. These compounds are some of the most significant contributors to climate change, resulting in the EPA’s classification of “VOC.” Though several different VOCs exist, the EPA recommends avoiding phosphorus, nitrogen, and ammonia in particular. If you can find a safe cleaning product that contains minimal (or zero) amounts of these compounds, you’re on the right track.
Sustainable cleaning isn’t just about preventing toxic chemicals from entering nature; it’s also about finding renewable alternatives to our existing products. A great way to do this is by seeking out products that utilize renewable, plant-based compounds. For example, opt for multi-surface cleaners that contain essential oils like pine oil, citrus oil, or seed oil instead of manufactured chemicals! These oils come from nature and don’t directly impact the environment’s health, making them great for everything from dish soap to glass cleaner!
Finally, some chemical safety and disposal knowledge can go a long way to preventing chemicals in our environment. Any time you work with a cleaning company or janitorial service, you’re hopefully working with people who are trained and capable of responsible chemical safety practices. This makes sense, as office buildings are one of the most regularly cleaned areas in the world!
However, the average person likely doesn’t have this training, so there is a much higher chance of chemicals making their way into nature.
Safety In Cleaning
At LACOSTA, we know our way around cleaning chemicals, as we’ve provided industry-leading cleaning services for over 30+ years! All of our team members are extensively trained and well-versed in chemical safety so that you don’t have to worry about the cleanliness of your space or the impact of your chemicals!