As we become more aware of climate change we also become more aware of how our behaviour impacts the environment around us. There is currently a large consumer movement towards eco-conscious living, and using products and services that have less of an impact on the planet.
Chemicals and processes used in cleaning can be very harmful to the environment. Luckily, there is now a huge range of eco-friendly ‘green’ cleaners available for household and commercial cleaning.
What is green cleaning?
There is no scientific or legal definition of what ‘green’ or environmentally friendly products actually are. This has led to some companies making claims about their products that aren’t true or can’t be supported, in an attempt to profit off the eco-conscious movement.
Green cleaning is generally defined as using cleaning products and processes that cause minimal harm to the environment. This includes not using harsh chemicals such as bleaches and ammonia, using basic natural ingredients like vinegar or baking soda, and reducing the water consumption in cleaning practices.
In businesses and organisations where environmental health is very important, such as daycares, schools and public eateries, green cleaning is becoming much more of a priority. As there is no official definition and no regulation of the green cleaning industry, it can be difficult to know what to look for. As this consumer movement has become more popular, the certification of products has become more of a focus. We talk more about cleaning product certification later in this post, so keep reading!
Benefits of green cleaning
- Biodegradable – biodegradable products can be broken down by bacteria and other living organisms, which reduces or avoids pollution.
- Mild ingredients – reduce allergies, asthma, skin irritations and other health issues that can come from using harsher ingredients and products.
- Less fragrances – synthetic perfumes can cause breathing and skin irritations or exaggerate allergies and asthma.
- Sustainably grown ingredients – many green cleaning products use sustainably grown ingredients, for example locally grown, ethically made, or organic ingredients.
- Improves air quality – indoor air quality is very important for our health, and the products we use indoors directly impact it. Using green products reduces levels of allergens and toxins released into the air, keeping the air healthier.
- Prioritises health and safety – the chemicals we use in cleaning products impact human health. Making sure to use green products in homes and businesses is a good way to prioritise the health of your family, staff, students, or customers.
- Reducing chemical runoff – using products that contain less harmful ingredients will reduce the number of toxins that end up in waterways or elsewhere, which can cause damage to the environment.
- Recycled products and packaging – many eco-friendly cleaners use recycled cardboard and papers in their packaging or compostable containers which helps to reduce landfill.
Green cleaning certifications
The certification of green products is essential, as it means consumers can trust that what they are buying is in fact a more environmentally friendly option.
Environmental Choice is New Zealand’s eco-labelling programme. The programme has been running since 1992 with the intention to support government, businesses and consumers to move to a more sustainable and lower emission economy. It does so by recognising and certifying sustainably preferable products and services.
The Environmental Choice eco-label programme uses the following tools and techniques:
- A thorough multi-criteria assessment across the life cycle of a product or service
- Independent third party verification
- Ongoing compliance monitoring
- Local criteria that are written to address local environmental issues
- Criteria are regularly updated to encourage continuous improvement of products and services
So you can rest assured when you see a business offering products or services endorsed by Environmental Choice New Zealand that they are a truly greener option.
Green cleaning tips
You can jump-start your green cleaning transition in your home or business easily. You might find you already have plenty of natural ingredients in your pantry that you can put to work!
- You can use lemon juice to remove stains from vinyl floors and furniture, and tile flooring
- Trade ammonia based window cleaners for microfibre cloths. Lemon juice can also be used for windows as can rubbing alcohol and witch hazel
- 2 parts olive oil and 1 part lemon juice can be used as wood furniture polish. Traditional furniture polishes tend to be highly toxic and smelly
- Vinegar is great for absorbing fresh paint odours. Leave it out in small dishes and replace the vinegar each day
- Fireplaces gather soot and dark smudges. A mix of cream of tartar and water can be rubbed into the stains, left to dry then scrubbed off
Green cleaning with Crewcare
Many of Crewcare’s cleaning services have been certified by Environmental Choice New Zealand – including our commercial cleaning, window cleaning, hard floor cleaning, and carpet and upholstery cleaning services. All of the core cleaning products that we use are also certified.
We use a microfibre cloth cleaning system that reduces our reliance on water consumption and harsh chemicals. As an added bonus, this system also reduces the risk of cross-contaminating germs between different areas, such as the kitchen and bathroom.
Crewcare has also developed and adheres to an environmental sustainability policy.