Sustainability is a big buzzword these days, but what exactly does it mean? Sustainability is meeting your current needs without having a negative impact on the needs of future generations. In short it is the capacity to endure.
This term is being used more and more with respect to saving our planet which means so much in protecting our family’s health. But what does it mean in regards to green cleaning?
Our world is a wasteful one. We can see this just be looking around to see the amount of excessive packaging associated with nearly everything we purchase. In addition, more and more products are not designed to be repaired, but rather to be replaced. Each of these practices not only clogs up our landfills, but also hurts our wallets.
For these reasons it is important to review the process and the products used in your green cleaning. Here are 15 ways to get you started:
- Avoid disposable cleaning accessories and supplies.
- Stop using paper towels all together and use washable cloths. If you must, make sure any paper products you purchase are made with recycled content.
- Minimize single use items, specifically those omnipresent wipes that now seem to be available for any cleaning need.
- Use microfiber cloths. Due to the nature of the individual fibers, each is able to grab and trap the dirt which is then easily washed away.
- Use nontoxic green cleaning products to protect the health and safety of our family, our pets, and our guests. The traditional cleaners contain petroleum-based ingredients, volatile organic compounds (VOC), and synthetic fragrances. Each of these products are harmful to our health and significantly decrease our indoor air quality. They are a major contributor to allergies, sick building syndrome, and environmental hypersensitivity.
- Select bio-based products that are derived from biological products or renewable domestic agricultural materials (including plant, animal and marine) or forestry materials. These renewable resources reduce our dependence on increasingly scarce petroleum.
- Look at the packaging. Stay away from those large (1 gallon) containers of ready to use product that will then be poured into a smaller (1 quart) spray bottle. This results in MORE, not less, packaging that must be discarded.
- Purchase super concentrated products that are designed to be diluted by you. Not only are these more cost-effective, transportation costs and fossil fuel consumption involved in transporting the products is an important aspect of reducing the overall impact on our environment.
- Use reusable spray bottles. Those single use bottles with low-grade triggers that are so prevalent in our grocery stores are made from petroleum-based plastic and often are hard to recycle.
- Buy biodegradable products, those that are designed to rapidly degrade in the environment at a rate of about 100% in about 15 days.
- Reduce first, then recycle. In the reduce, reuse, recycle triangle, recycling is actually the least desirable action item. Of course, recycling is much better than adding trash to a landfill. An example of reduction is choosing a small one ounce plastic bag that mixes into one quart (32 ounces) of ready to use product over a one quart of ready to use product in a single use bottle.
- Buy corn-based trash bags that are biodegradable. These dissolve over time and is one less type of plastic in our landfills.
- When replacing, buy an energy saver appliances, such as front-loading washers, dryers, and efficient dishwashers. Over time you will save money.
- Fix leaky pipes. Most can be easily repaired by replacing worn parts. Even small leaks can waste thousands of gallons of water a year.
- Leverage yourself by supporting a sustainability oriented company that is strategically focused to continuously improve the three P’s of sustainability (People, Plant and Profits) in their operations.
It is easy to purchase green cleaning products that work well and are cost comparable. In addition to enhancing the health and safety of you and your loved ones. Sustainability oriented decisions today will protect our planet tomorrow.