3 Steps to a More Sustainable Cleaning Program

Increased demand from consumers and climate change initiatives by businesses make the shift to sustainability a hot topic in the cleaning industry.

During the last few years, the use of strong chemistries and disposable products was essential, and many industries continue to see a shortage of labour because of the pandemic. The cleaning industry and businesses alike are making the move to more sustainable cleaning products and practices to ensure facilities are clean, safe and offer a healthy work environment.

Adopting sustainable cleaning practices allow businesses to create a safe facility for staff and building occupants while protecting the environment. Our experts have shared three steps to help start your journey to a more sustainable cleaning program:

1. Reassess Chemistry

Many of the chemicals we use to clean facilities contain very powerful ingredients. In a report by the Canadian Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards, over 2400 workers submitted lost time claims due to injury caused by chemicals and chemical products in 2021. Spray and other cleaners release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air, which are harmful pollutants and that can result in mild to severe health consequences.

These chemicals can also pose a risk to the safety of water systems. When cleaning supplies are rinsed off and excess chemicals are disposed of down the drain, lingering chemicals can feed into streams and rivers and often are not broken down by water treatment facilities.

ECOLOGO® certified chemicals housed in bottles with high Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) content are a dependable, eco-friendlier chemistry solution. ECOLOGO® certification ensures that chemistries are gentler to the environment but still provide a high level of cleaning performance. Similarly, PCR content allows manufacturers to create more sustainable packaging by using recycled material.

2. Invest in More Sustainable Products and Tools

Cleaning chemistries aren’t the only way to reduce the environmental impact of your cleaning program. The tools used to apply them are also contributing factors.

For example, affordability and availability make cotton cleaning cloths a popular choice, but microfiber is far more effective. Microfiber cloths remove up to 99% of bacteria from surfaces, while cotton only removes 30%. Due to they’re design, microfiber cloths are better able to collect dirt and bacteria, requiring less cleaning product and saving labour. Using microfiber products along with eco-friendlier chemicals makes for a far more sustainable cleaning practice.

Another consideration is packaging. Did you know that 47% of all plastic waste in Canada comes from packaging? As the Canadian Government continues to introduce legislation around plastics reduction, now is the time to re-evaluate bottles, sprayers, and other product packaging in favour of more sustainable alternatives.

3. Introduce Automation

Sustainable cleaning practices also include finding ways to improve efficiency and reduce the strain of chronic cleaning industry labour shortages and employee churn.

An overload of work and inadequate time to complete tasks are among the top sources of workplace stress, according to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. Introducing automated cleaning equipment can alleviate this challenge, freeing up your cleaning team to handle more complex duties. For example, facility floorcare needs can be more efficiently met by employing an automated floor scrubber. Many models also use eco-friendlier cleaning chemicals and are designed with reusable parts, making cleaning both more efficient and more sustainable.


Looking to build a more sustainable cleaning program in your facilities? Contact us to learn about the REGARD® Eco Line, our NEW assortment of greener cleaning chemistries, coming soon!