For some, spring cleaning is an opportunity to get rid of that box of VHS tapes that’s been cluttering up the garage since 1997. For enterprising businesses, spring cleaning is an opportunity to think about whether you’re getting the best results from your janitorial and sanitation (JanSan) supplies and services.
While going green is a catchphrase that business managers may associate with higher costs, that’s not necessarily the case for JanSan. The JanSan industry has been on the leading edge of producing sustainable products since 1993, when President Clinton signed an executive order mandating the use of environmentally preferable cleaning products in all federal facilities. Today, using green JanSan products can support business goals, such as lower costs, healthier employees, and customer retention. And even if these products don’t always meet your particular business needs, they open the door to a discussion about the effectiveness of your JanSan strategy.
Going green = saving green
In addition to some of the more apparent outcomes (such as reduced environmental impact), using green supplies can provide other value. Customers may prefer companies that have environmental sustainability efforts—for some businesses it may be a requirement. In terms of cost, green supplies may lead to better air quality at your facility, eliminating the need for expensive and time-consuming alternatives like increasing ventilation or installing air filtration systems. And eco-friendly JanSan products often use less packaging, resulting in lower manufacturer and distributor shipping costs, which can be passed on to customers.
Switching to greener JanSan supplies can also lead to other initiatives for reducing both costs and environmental impact. One example is a waste audit, a review of how much waste a business or facility produces, the type of waste, the cost of trash removal, and incentives for new procedures (e.g., recycling). Even small businesses can save based on an analysis of the way they handle waste.
It’s easy being green
Once you decide to switch to greener supplies, you can choose products with features that meet your specific business needs. The National Institute of Building Sciences has recommendations for sustainable building maintenance, including
- using bio-degradable cleaning products;
- choosing products that are concentrated and use less packaging; and
- selecting non-toxic pest control for use indoors.
The EPA has instituted the Safer Choice labeling program to help commercial buyers “identify and select products with safer chemical ingredients, without sacrificing quality or performance.” Over 2,000 products currently qualify for the Safer Choice label. Businesses can use the EPA’s user-friendly search to identify better choices in a number of categories.
Of course, not all businesses have the time or resources to initiate a green JanSan program on a product-by-product basis. In these cases, working with a distributor or supplier that has a green JanSan program in place may be the most efficient solution. For example, Innovatix contracted supplier Network® Distribution’s NetGreen™ program features a full line of environmentally preferred JanSan products. Innovatix members also have access to greener products through such distribution channels as Staples and Office Depot/Office Max as well as such leading manufacturers as Georgia-Pacific, Diversey, Kimberly-Clark, Midlab, SCA Tissue, and U.N.X.
With the proliferation of eco-friendly JanSan supplies, now more than ever your business has more options for traditional and greener products that best meet your needs. And the benefits—for your employees, your customers, the environment, and your business’s bottom line—will make your competitors green with envy.