Partnership is the key to green cleaning success
Partnership and shared risk were the keys to success during a recent green cleaning project in an inner Melbourne local council, writes BRIDGET GARDNER from Fresh Green Clean.
The biggest barrier to ‘green’ cleaning products is the perception that they don’t work. With labour costs representing up to 80 percent of an operating budget, poor product performance can hurt profits. But it’s the risk of occupant complaints that often prevents the adoption of more innovative environmentally sustainable methods.
To address these concerns, I was contracted by a council to facilitate a collaborative green clean program between cleaning contractors and building managers. Cleaning products and practices were audited against the FGC (Fresh Green Clean) benchmark, and then a range of possible improvements explored.
The outcomes include the following initiatives:
- chemicals on childcare centre floors were replaced with microfibre mops that are used and laundered on each site by cleaners, then dried by staff every morning. Floors have never looked cleaner;
- several ‘biological’ urinal blocks and cleaning solutions were trialed to ensure low flushing could occur with a safe and effective method for preventing malodours and drain blockages;
- occupant education addressed the response to the removal of bleach;
- A 46 percent reduction in volume of chemicals was achieved by replacing seven products with one multi-purpose product;
- dose dispensers were installed at the council’s expense;
- staff and manager received training;
- all chemicals provide evidence of low environmental impact: full product Ready Biodegradability, GECA or Green Seal certification.
Cleaners were more willing to try new methods when the council was prepared to listen and not penalise them for teething problems. Without such a partnership, green cleaning products can easily fail, with poor performance being used as the scapegoat.