Edmonton’s Move Towards Eco-Friendly Workspaces
In the heart of Edmonton, a growing awareness relating to environmental sustainability is reshaping the way businesses approach their operations, including office cleaning practices. As the world struggles with environmental concerns, Edmonton is leading a movement towards eco-friendly workspaces. This article studies the significant strides that the city is making in embracing eco-friendly office cleaning practices, highlighting the benefits, challenges, and the collective effort to create cleaner, greener, and more responsible workplaces.
The Urgency of Sustainable Practices:
Edmonton, like many other cities globally, faces a pressing need to deal with climate change and reduce its ecological footprint. Businesses are increasingly recognizing the importance of adopting sustainable practices, not only as a moral obligation but also as a strategic move to align with environmentally conscious values and meet the expectations of an eco-aware clientele. This has extended to every aspect of their lives, including cleaning routines.
Sustainability is all about fulfilling the needs of the world without harming future generations’ capabilities of doing the same. Sustainable cleaning practices are increasingly being adopted, as part of a larger sustainability plan for offices or facilities, owing to the growing consumer awareness of sustainable issues. Simply put, sustainable cleaning requires the use of eco-friendly products that create minimal waste and cause no harm to the planet or humans.
The Green Cleaning Revolution:
- Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products:
Traditional cleaning products often contain harsh chemicals that can harm the environment and compromise indoor air quality. Sustainable cleaning products, on the other hand, throughout their lifecycle, leave little or no lasting impact on the environment.
Edmonton’s offices are transitioning to environmentally friendly cleaning products, such as plant-based cleaners and biodegradable solutions, to minimize their impact on ecosystems. One of the basic measures adopted is opting for non-toxic eco-friendly cleaning products. Most eco-friendly cleaning materials have their green credentials advertised on their packaging with the use of keywords like ‘vegan’, ‘eco-friendly’, ‘organic’, ‘biodegradable’ etc. Harmful cleaning products e.g., anything containing chlorine, bleach, ammonia etc. are being eased out.
- Reducing Single-Use Plastics:
Many workplaces in Edmonton are taking steps to reduce single-use plastics in office cleaning like
- Opting for refillable containers instead of single-use plastic items. E.g. reusable plastic spray bottles that can be refilled with a cleaning solution rather than buying a similar product in its own bottle each time it runs out. Many quality cleaning materials are available in tablet form, where simply water is added to get a full spray bottle’s worth.
- Installing hand dryers or a fabric towel roll in office bathrooms instead of using paper towels that cannot be recycled.
- Opting for reusable cleaning tools like microfiber cloths, scourers, sponges etc. for washing, drying, and cleaning up in the kitchen. All of these are either multi-use or can be washed, dried, and used again, both of which are better for the environment.
- Energy-Efficient Cleaning Equipment:
The type of equipment used during the cleaning process can impact the environment. Some of the measures being adopted in workplaces in Edmonton, which are useful in reducing carbon footprint are:
- Investment in cleaning equipment that has a good energy rating. Purchasing an energy-efficient model can make a significant difference in energy costs, especially since these machines are used daily.
- Switching to new-age, technology-driven products that are designed to be more environmentally efficient.
- Automatic cleaning machines reduce waste as they operate on a specific cycle, helping to maximize energy efficiency.
- Selecting equipment keeping in mind its impact on the environment e.g., use of automated dispensers that provide a certain suitable amount with each use (for products used by staff such as liquid soap in the toilets, hand sanitizer in the reception area etc.). This helps to eliminate wastage.
- Monitor and optimize energy and water usage
Steps adopted include:
- Ensuring that water is used sparingly during the cleaning process and that taps not in use are turned off to reduce water waste.
- Some modern cleaning appliances use grey water (water that has been used for cleaning dishes, for instance) for steam cleaning floors and carpets with no loss of quality.
- The adoption of water conservation practices such as “damp mopping” (the technique of misting the floor and mopping with a microfiber pad) helps to save gallons of water that is often consumed while using conventional mop buckets.
- Cost Considerations:
One of the main challenges in adopting sustainable office cleaning practices is the perceived cost. However, there has been growing awareness recently that eco-friendly products are far more cost-effective in the long run. This is because:
- In the present scenario, sustainable cleaning products cost roughly the same as normal ones, with some organic products even costing less.
- Green practices result in reduced water and energy expenses, all of which add up to create effective cost savings for businesses.
- Removing the need to dispose of toxic materials, and choosing to recycle wherever possible can result in significant savings for businesses.
- Businesses can reduce healthcare expenses related to chemical exposure and save on water treatment costs, as these products do not contribute to water pollution.
- Educating Cleaning Staff:
Shifting to sustainable practices entails educating cleaning staff on the importance of eco-friendly methods. They must understand the significance of these changes and how they contribute to a more sustainable and healthier workplace. Thorough training needs to be imparted to janitorial staff on the correct usage of eco-friendly products and equipment and effective cleaning techniques. Conducting regular inspections and performance assessments to meet cleaning standards consistently is also essential. Feedback should be sought from clients to identify areas where improvements can be made and concerns, if any, need to be addressed promptly.
- Meeting Stringent Cleaning Standards:
Certain industries, such as healthcare and laboratories, have stringent cleanliness standards. In Edmonton, offices in these sectors are successfully managing the challenges of regulatory requirements even while prioritizing sustainability in their cleaning practices, to ensure compliance and avoid costly penalties. Even as environmental regulations are becoming stricter and sustainability is fast becoming a global priority, the Government is progressively enforcing legislation relating to the adoption of eco-friendly practices such as net-zero commitments. Switching to sustainable practices is helping industries in the above sectors to remain ahead of the curve and avoid future penalties or sanctions.
Improved Indoor Air Quality:
Sustainable office cleaning contributes to improved indoor air quality by minimizing the use of harmful chemicals. Eco-friendly products are non-toxic and free of harsh chemicals, thus lessening the possibility of health issues for employees. By using eco-friendly cleaning methods, indoor air quality can be improved in the workplace. This results in better overall well-being and productivity for the employees.
Enhanced Employee Morale:
Switching to eco-friendly cleaning creates a more conducive work environment for employees. A healthier work environment can lead to fewer sick days, lower healthcare costs, and improved employee welfare and comfort.
A commitment to green cleaning can raise employee morale and satisfaction, showing that the company cares about their health and the environment. Employees nowadays are increasingly conscious of their workplace’s commitment to sustainability. Environmental issues are a key concern for many workers and people get greater job satisfaction working for environmentally responsible companies.
Positive Brand Image:
Eco-friendly cleaning is a powerful tool for attracting and retaining eco-conscious customers, clients and partners. Consumers nowadays are more discerning and concerned about the environment. They prefer to work with companies that are committed to sustainability and adopt a net-zero carbon footprint. Following eco-friendly cleaning practices not only attracts eco-conscious customers but also enhances a company’s reputation. By using green cleaning methods, businesses can stand apart from their competitors and draw eco-conscious customers.
The Collective Effort:
Collaboration with Cleaning Service Providers:
Many businesses in Edmonton make use of professional cleaning services. It is important to look for a cleaning partner that shares their commitment to sustainability. An environmentally conscious company will use cleaning products that are safe, effective, and biodegradable. These companies have practices in place that reduce their environmental impact, such as usage of energy-efficient equipment, minimizing waste etc. In addition, a green cleaning company will have trained employees who are well-versed in green cleaning methods and can provide advice and support to the client. Partnering with a green cleaning company will ensure that the workplace is cleaned to the highest standards of safety
Edmonton’s journey towards sustainable office cleaning practices involves community engagement. Offices are educating their team on the benefits of eco-friendly cleaning practices such as reduced health risks etc. They are promoting a culture of environmental responsibility by engaging employees in green cleaning initiatives and encouraging their involvement by initiation of recognition schemes, posting recycling targets, energy consumption goals etc. This acts as an incentive for the employees. The employees are also educated on simple eco-friendly measures like using personal reusable water bottles and coffee cups, properly sorting waste for recycling etc.
Looking Towards the Future:
Innovations in Sustainable Office Cleaning:
Many cleaning companies have adopted new technologies that have brought a paradigm shift in the way cleaning is managed in workplaces. Some of these include:
- Smart waste management systems – which employ sensors and data analytics to optimize waste collection and disposal, resulting in more efficient waste management and reduced costs.
- Robotic cleaners – autonomous machines, equipped with advanced sensors and artificial intelligence that navigate seamlessly through the workplace and handle manual and time-consuming tasks like vacuuming.
- Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and devices – devices that keep track of the cleanliness of various areas in real-time, providing valuable data to the facilities managers.
- Green cleaning practices – the adoption of sustainable cleaning methods that reduce waste, energy and water e.g., implementing closed-loop recycling programs for waste generated during cleaning, optimizing cleaning schedules to minimize energy and product waste.
Government Incentives and Regulations:
In Edmonton, the Government and regulatory bodies are actively supporting and promoting eco-friendly practices. They are providing incentives to businesses to adopt green cleaning solutions by offering them tax benefits, certifications and recognition as environmentally responsible entities for using eco-friendly products. As a result, businesses that embrace this change stand to benefit significantly.
Edmonton’s journey towards sustainable office cleaning practices is a testament to the city’s commitment to environmental responsibility. By adopting eco-friendly cleaning products, reducing single-use plastics, and embracing energy-efficient technologies, businesses in Edmonton are not only contributing to a healthier planet but also reaping tangible benefits such as improved indoor air quality, enhanced employee morale, and a positive brand image. In an era where sustainability is key, adopting eco-friendly cleaning practices in Edmonton is a step in the right direction towards a cleaner and greener future.