Posted by: rocknrev | February 23, 2010

Green Cleaning for Health and Our World

Are you tired of hearing the word “green” all the time?  I mean, is this just a trend or is something significant happening in our world right now?  I’m a customer service manager by trade for a medium sized janitorial company in Oregon.  We’re known as the “green state”, but that has to do more with how our state is covered with trees.  The green I’m talking about today is when companies consider their environmental footprint and the impact their choices make on people and the areas where they conduct business.  In our case we’re out there night after night using all kinds of chemicals to clean & disinfect.  We have approximately 100 employees working at night cleaning office buildings, medical facilities, surgi-centers and warehouses.  Chemicals are used to clean glass, counters, toilets, urinals, floors, desks, telephones and the list goes on.

The other hat I wear around here is that of sustainability coordinator.  This has allowed me to help transition our company toward being more mindful about all we use and how we use it.  Since chemicals appeared to be the area where we have the most impact, that’s where I started.  It started six years ago and continues to this day.

Why isn’t this transition completed by now you ask?  Well, one of the many things I have learned is that becoming “green” or “sustainable” is not like a race where you run as fast as you can and then it’s over.  Rather, the path toward sustainability is a journey–your never done–your always looking for how you can do better and have even less of a negative impact on the environment.   This is not my original idea.  I owe a debt of gratitude to one of my suppliers who gently nudged me in this direction when the green movement was just picking up momentum.  Green products for the janitorial industry simply did not exist except for a company up in Wilsonville, Oregon (Coastwide Laboratories) that developed their own line of sustainable products.

This changeover to safer chemicals has reduced costs and has been beneficial to our employees and the clients we serve.  It seems like lots of companies are on the green band wagon but back when I started testing and showing these products to our management team, I got a lot of funny looks.  So, for better or worse, I am known as Mr. Green around here.  I’ve been called other names in my life, but this is one I am proud to own.

My motivation is simple.  I care about the world I live in and I care about the people I share it with.  That’s enough to keep me going on this path.  I always enjoy it when I hear someone call me “Mr. Green”.


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