Smarter Business: Greening Advisor
Cleaning and maintenance
Almost all commonly used cleaning and maintenance products contain chemicals that can cause serious health effects, including respiratory ailments, skin irritation, neurological disorders, and even cancer. In addition to the human effects, many of these products—or their byproducts—can harm aquatic life and other species.
Consider consulting with your local public health officials and product suppliers to determine the potential hazards of the cleaning and maintenance products your company currently buys, and inquire about alternatives. Where possible, consider purchasing products that have been certified by Green Seal. EPA’s Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Database is another excellent resource for information on product specifications and contract language.
You may also wish to consider phasing out the use of antibacterial soap in restrooms. Antibiotics in soap are unnecessary and may cause more harm than good, helping to create antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the environment.
Cleaning and maintenance products can contain a wide variety of chemicals that can adversely impact the health of employees. Visit Green Seal and EPA’s Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Database to find out which cleaning products are right for your business.
The following resource may also be helpful: Department of the Interior: Custodial RFP
Sample Letter to Current Suppliers
Our company has initiated an effort to improve its environmental performance in all aspects of its operations. Because you are our supplier of cleaning and maintenance products, we would like to meet with you to discuss this objective in more detail. We would also like to discuss ways to cost-effectively switch to less-harmful products within the next few years.
Many common cleaning and maintenance products contain chemicals that are harmful to both public health and the environment. We would like to reduce as much as possible the harmful effects associated with our operations, and we would like to speak with you about less-harmful alternatives to the products that we are currently using.
We look forward to discussing this with you. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
- Green Seal
- Greening Your Purchase of Cleaning Products
- Green Cleaning Pollution Prevention Calculator
- EPA: Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Database
- Department of the Interior: Request for Proposals for Janitorial Products
- Safe and Effective Restroom Cleaning
- Safe and Effective Carpet Cleaning
- Safe and Effective Disinfecting
- National Institutes of Health: ToxNet
- EPA—Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines: Supplier Database
- Environmental Benefits and Cost Savings Calculator for Purchasers
Consider phasing out the use of antibacterial soap in restrooms. Antibiotics in soap are unnecessary and help create antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the environment.
Let us know.