Eco-Friendly Janitorial Supplies

Three Steps to More Sustainable Janitorial Practices

Second only to cooking, cleaning procedures in foodservice consume a great deal of resources, including water, electricity, employee time, and an assortment of consumables from chemicals to disposable supplies. A good way to reduce your business' overall environmental footprint is by finding ways to reduce consumption and waste in your janitorial practices. Here are three easy tips to get you started.

Implement a Recycling Program

Every establishment generates waste that can be recycled, from office paper and cardboard packaging to plastic food packaging and aluminum drink cans. One of the most economical steps you can take towards making your janitorial procedures more eco-friendly is to establish a recycling program.

Setting up a recycling program is as easy as stationing a few recycle bins around the building and training staff to understand which materials go where. Recycling bins come in all shapes and sizes, from big, blue general-purpose rollout containers to slim, low-profile containers that are color-coded for each type of material. Most businesses can benefit from at least one recycling station that includes a bin for each recyclable material, as well as one for landfill waste.

Invest in Hand Dryers

The advantages of hand dryers over paper towels are well-documented, but the initial cost is what deters many operators from making the switch. In reality, hand dryers are estimated to pay for themselves in less than two years. On top of that, businesses that make the switch decrease their carbon footprint dramatically. Take into account not just the trees required to produce paper towels, but the fossil fuel consumed to manufacture and transport them.

Modern hand dryers come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from super-efficient horizontal-wiping air dryers that take advantage of high-velocity unheated air, to more traditional hot-air dryers. There are even air dryers that generate air capable of actually killing bacteria and viruses. Whichever type you choose for your facility will take you a step down the road to sustainability.

Choose Microfiber Cleaning Supplies Instead of Cotton and Paper

Microfiber cleaning supplies are made from synthetic materials like polyester, polyamide, polypropylene, and other polymers. They offer many advantages over paper and cotton supplies. Not only are they launderable and reusable, but they're more absorbent, better at capturing dust and dirt, and therefore more effective at cleaning than conventional supplies.

Microfiber cloths are able to remove smudges from glass and steel with nothing but clean water, doing away with the need to use harsh chemicals for many everyday cleaning jobs. In addition, microfiber cleaning cloths last much longer than cotton cloths when they're properly cared for.

The advantages of microfiber cloths have been scientifically documented. When the UC Davis Medical Center switched from cleaning floors in their patient areas with traditional cotton mops to microfiber mops, they saw a 10 to 13 percent reduction in mop-related worker compensation claims. In addition, they observed microfiber mops reduce bacterial cultures by 99 percent, versus 30 percent for conventional supplies. With all factors taken into account, their study found that the facility saved 60 percent on lifetime costs by switching to microfiber.


Are microfiber cloths eco-friendly David Suzuki's Queen of Green. Accessed December 2015.

UC Davis pioneers use of microfiber mops in hospitals UC Davis Health System Newsroom. Accessed December 2015.