New Study Reveals More Americans Are Going Green

green productsAccording to the 5th Annual Tork Sustainability study, Americans are more interested in going green than ever before.

The study, which surveyed 2,068 adults aged 18 and older, found that seventy-eight percent of participants (up from 69 percent the year prior) purchased green products last year.

The results also revealed that the reasoning behind purchasing green products appears to have shifted. Twenty percent (up from 14 percent) of those surveyed cited health reasons as a major reason behind their green purchasing decisions, while 47 percent (down from 48 percent) cited the environment.

Are Americans willing to pay more for green products?

When it comes to green cleaning products, organic clothing, CFL bulbs and other popular green products, Americans appear to be split on whether or not they’re willing to pay more. According to the survey, 43 percent of Americans would pay more for products that could be guaranteed of ethical manufacturing practices, while 44 percent say they would not.

Additionally, participants with children under the age of 18 were significantly more likely to pay more for responsible and ethically sourced products (51 percent) than those without children (39 percent).

“People are paying more attention to health when choosing to buy green, and I believe that adults are more aware when children are in the house. It suggests this trend will continue as future consumers are being raised with these values,” said Mike Kapalko, Sustainability Marketing Manager for SCA, the company responsible for this annual survey.

Are interested in learning more about green cleaning products? Contact National Purity today!

Image Credit: Flickr

Decoding Green Cleaning Products

cleaning-supplies
At its most basic level, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has defined green cleaning as “products or services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose.”

If you’re thinking about making the switch to green cleaning products, you probably have a few questions that aren’t covered in the EPA’s definition above. So below we’ve outlined some key points to consider when making your product selection.

Skin Irritation

Traditional commercial cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that may cause redness or swelling of the skin. A less toxic cleaning solution (aka a green cleaning product) that doesn’t contain any of the following skin irritants will be safer for your cleaning staff:

  • Ammonia
  • Sodium hydroxide
  • Sodium hypochlorite (chlorine bleach)
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Sulfuric acid

Air Pollution Potential

Many commercial cleaning products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which emit smog-forming chemicals and have also been shown to cause irritation to the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. They may also induce severe asthma attacks. Choosing low VOC green cleaning products will:

  • Lower smog-forming emissions
  • Improve the health and safety of your cleaning staff
  • Reduce eye and respiratory irritation

Dyes & Fragrances

Dyes and fragrances are frequently added to cleaning agents to enhance the color of a product or mask offensive odors. However, these additives have little or no actual cleaning value. Avoiding unnecessary additives is a basic green cleaning principle — so if you really want to make the plunge, it’s best to avoid these unnecessary dyes and fragrances.

Packaging

Product packaging is an important component of going green. Packaging accounts for a significant amount of landfill waste and should be minimized whenever possible. The EPA recommends selecting products that use reduced packaging made from recycled materials.

Do you still have questions about green commercial cleaning products? We can help. Contact National Purity for more information.

 

71% of American Consumers Care About “Going Green”

green cleaning productsDo American consumers actually care about the environment?

According to a 2013 survey — the answer appears to be yes.

The survey, which was conducted by Cone Communications, found that a whopping 71 percent of Americans (up from 66 percent in 2008)  think about the environment when making purchasing decisions on things like cleaning supplies.

  • 7 percent consider every time they shop
  • 20 percent consider it regularly when they shop
  • 44 percent consider it sometimes when they shop

Do Americans really know what “going green” means?

While it’s clear that “going green” is becoming increasingly important for American consumers, there’s still a lot of confusion surrounding green products.

More than 60 percent of respondents were under the impression that marketing terms like “green” and “environmentally friendly” indicated that a particular product had little or no impact on the environment. Only 22 percent were able to recognize that such terms meant a product had a lesser impact than traditional products.

And though nearly nine in 10 respondents felt it was their responsibility to correctly use and dispose of products — only 30 percent indicated they actually use products in a way that achieves its intended environmental goal. And only 42 percent indicated they dispose of these products properly.

“With more and more products in the marketplace marketed as compostable and biodegradable, that is where the breakdown in communication begins,” said Liz Gorman, SVP for CSR and sustainable business practices at Cone Communications. “Once a consumer buys a product, they are responsible for that part of the lifecycle of the product.”

“They understand they have a responsibility to follow through, but probing a little deeper, we can see that there is a lot of confusion and they don’t always close the loop – either because they don’t understand what is expected, or don’t have the resources,” she added.

American consumers want more transparency from green manufacturers

Despite an apparent lack of follow-through, it appears that most consumers are interested in learning more. Eighty-five percent indicated that they would like product manufacturers to include better information regarding proper use and disposal. Additionally, close to three-quarters would like manufacturers to do a better job educating them on environmental terms.

When choosing a product, survey respondents felt that honesty played a key role in their decision making. Sixty-nine percent said it would be okay if a product was not environmentally perfect — as long as they were honest about it. While 78 percent say they would boycott a product that came with misleading claims about its environmental impact.

If you have questions about green cleaning supplies, contact the experts at National Purity today!

Image Credit: Flickr

How All Purpose Is An All Purpose Cleaner?

cleaningAll purpose cleaners are a lifesaver for most cleaning professionals.

While they may not actually clean every surface, they’re versatile enough to clean multiple indoor and outdoor areas. In addition to cutting through standard grease and grime, all purpose cleaners can also be used to eliminate harmful bacteria and viruses.

So where should you use an all purpose cleaner? Any of the surfaces listed below.

Public Restrooms:

  • Showers
  • Bathtubs
  • Sinks
  • Drains
  • Toilets
  • Porcelain
  • Ceramic tile

Commercial Kitchens:

  • Countertops
  • Appliances
  • Stainless steel
  • Sealed granite
  • Chrome
  • Cook top hoods
  • Exhast fans
  • Deep fryers
  • Cabinets

Other General Uses:

  • Walls
  • Painted surfaces
  • Non-wood floors
  • Vinyl
  • Marble
  • Concrete
  • Linoleum
  • Carpet spot cleaning
  • Garbage cans

When using an all purpose cleaner, remember to follow these safety steps:

  • Wear rubber gloves to protect your skin from direct contact.
  • Make sure there is good air circulation in the room you are cleaning. Open windows if you can, or use fans to increase air flow.
  • Do NOT mix two or more different cleaners together, especially if one of them contains ammonia and the other contains chlorine. When mixed together, they produce a gas called chloramine, and inhaling the fumes could be fatal.

Green All Purpose Cleaners

Depending on the ingredients used, it’s possible for all purpose cleaners to irritate the skin, eyes, nose and throat. They’re also be highly toxic when swallowed. For these reasons and more, many professional cleaners are gravitating towards green all purpose cleaners.

Just like conventional cleaners, green all purpose cleaners can cut through grease, grime and dirt. But because they’re made from plants and minerals, they leave behind no harsh chemical fumes or residue.

Do you still have questions about all purpose cleaners? Contact an expert at National Purity today!

Image Credit: Flickr

6 Ways to Make Your Facility More Sustainable

sustainabilityCreating a culture of sustainability within your facility not only helps the environment, it reduces operating costs, shows your staff that you care about their well-being and increases your organization’s marketability.

If you’re ready to implement sustainable change, the steps below will get you started on the right foot.

1. Make the switch to green commercial cleaning products. This is one of the easiest — and most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint. It’s also better for the health of your staff.

2. Change your cleaning processes. Green commercial cleaning products are a good start, but how you use them is just as important. Work with your team to redefine the ways in which cleaning is performed to ensure that contaminants are removed without adding unwanted substances to the environment.

3. Set attainable goals. If you’re truly motivated to go green, you’ve also got to be goal-oriented. Set mini goals, along with overarching objectives for your staff. This will make the task at hand less daunting. It will also make your efforts measurable.

4. Properly train your staff. To perform their job well, your staff needs on-site, site-specific and annual in-service training. This will help maintain their knowledge of the correct procedures for safety, tools, techniques and pertinent environmental standards.

5. Open the lines of communication. Make sure everyone knows (from staff to management to daily visitors) that your facility is making efforts to become more sustainable. Encouraging everyone to participate and suggest new avenues of sustainability is the only way a sustainable culture can truly thrive.

6. Incorporate sustainability into your brand identity. Telling everyone through your branding and marketing efforts will strengthen your vision and help your organization as whole meet its sustainability goals.

Image Credit: Flickr

Tips for Choosing Green Commercial Cleaning Products

cleaning-suppliesMore professional cleaning companies are choosing to go green — and for good reason. Green commercial cleaning products are not only better for the environment, they’re better for the long term health and safety of your employees.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult (if not sometimes impossible) to determine if a cleaning product is truly eco-friendly. Terms like “all natural” and “green” are often inaccurate — and because the federal government doesn’t regulate the use of these terms, it can be easy for marketers to perpetuate false claims.

In most cases, the only way to discover the actual ingredients is to read the product’s material safety data sheet (MSDS) — a federally mandated list of ingredients provided to make sure chemical hazards are well-known in the workplace. The list of potentially dangerous cleaning ingredients is endless, but here a few key violators:

  • Alkylphenol
  • Ammonia
  • Butyl Cellosolve (Butyl Glycol, Ethylene Glycol, Monobutyl)
  • Chlorine Bleach (Sodium Hypochlorite)
  • Glycol Ethers (Ethylene Glycol Mono-butyl Ether, EGBE or 2-butoxyethanol)
  • Monoethanolamine (MEA)
  • Diethanolamine (DEA) or Triethanolamine (TEA)
  • Phenols; Phosphates
  • Phthalates (fragrances)
  • Triclosan

In addition to checking on the ingredients list, we suggest following some of the guidelines below:

  • Ingredients should be natural — derived from plants and minerals. There should be no petroleum-derived or petrochemical ingredients listed on the label.
  • Green cleaning products should be safe for septic tanks and gray matter.
  • Green cleaning products should be free of any known carcinogens, mutagens teratogens and endocrine disruptors.
  • Ingredients should be biodegradable (dissolved easily within the environment without destroying nature) and non-corrosive.

Do you still have questions about green commercial cleaning products? Contact National Purity today!

Image Credit: Flickr

How-To: Sustainable Cleaning in the Workplace

green cleaning
Increased efficiency, reduced costs and brand enhancement are just a few benefits associated with going green. Unfortunately many small business owners fail to recognize that adopting a culture of sustainability begins with the cleaning process.

Sustainable cleaning in the workplace is an easy starting point for small companies that wish to reduce their carbon footprint without spending an excess of time or money. It’s a simple, cost-effective initiative that your company can implement right away.

So where do you start?

Cleaning Products

Most commercial cleaning products contain a brew of toxic chemicals that are harmful to both the environment and the health of your employees. Inversely, environmentally-friendly cleaning products contain fewer pollutants and subsequently clean more safely. They also require less packaging than traditional commercial cleaning products. When hiring a commercial cleaning company, make sure they specialize in certified green cleaning products and practices.

Daytime Cleaning

Traditionally most businesses have hired contract cleaners to address building sanitation and cleaning duties during off-peak hours. These days however, more and more companies are shifting towards a new daytime cleaning policy because it reduces both energy consumption and light pollution. If you can manage to implement a daytime cleaning program, your company will be considerably more sustainable and cost-efficient.

Waste Management

Every business creates waste, but many fail to realize that much of this waste is recyclable. Establishing a recycling program is the best way to make sure reusable materials aren’t ending up in landfills. A good recycling program requires effort from everyone on the team to be effective. If your business only generates a small amount of recyclables, you may want to consider partnering with neighboring businesses so that you can qualify for pick-up by a commercial recycler or waste hauler.

The Hidden Dangers of Commercial Cleaning Residue

By now, most of us are aware that chemical cleaning products aren’t very good for the environment or for our bodies. But what about the residue left behind after cleaning, is that harmful too?

The vast majority of chemical cleaning products we use to maintain facilities are made from some type of soap, oil or surfactant. As a result, residues can gradually build up over time – though they may be hidden from the naked eye.

Whether or not these residues are harmful ultimately depends on the chemistry of the solution being used. Generally speaking, the more toxic a chemical cleaner is – the greater the health risk.

Risks associated with cleaning chemical residue:

  • Dangerously slippery floors or other surfaces – When a surface feels slick or slippery following a thorough cleaning, this is a good indication that residue has been left behind.
  • Food for microbes – Residual product provides a food source for microbes – which cause the surface to become re-contaminated – increasing the need for additional cleaning.
  • Indoor air quality issues – Chemical residues can become airborne, aggravating asthma, allergies and other respiratory issues.

Chemical residues not only pose health and safety risks for building occupants, they also might contribute to building degradation over time.

So what can you do to prevent chemical residue?

Environmentally-friendly cleaning products!

Unfortunately there aren’t many chemical cleaning products that are residue-free. But there are a variety of green commercial cleaning products like soap-free detergents that can service as a great first step towards eliminating safety and health risks. Some solvents and team vapor systems are also good examples of residue-free chemistry, but they may not be as kind to the environment.

Cleaning with green rinse-free products from the start is the best way to eliminate build-up over time. At National Purity, we carry a variety of green all-purpose cleaners, green soaps and green degreasers. Learn more about our products.

Why Choose Green Commercial Cleaning Products?

green cleaningMaintaining a clean and sanitary office or work environment is an essential component to good health. The last thing you want to do is to introduce harmful chemicals into these environments.

Unfortunately, many of today’s commercial cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that have been linked to a variety of health conditions such as an increased risk of allergies, respiratory diseases, reproductive problems and even cancer.
By choosing green commercial cleaning products and supplies, you are reducing the risk of exposure to harmful chemicals and abrasive products.

Are Green Commercial Cleaning Products More Expensive?

Though many fear that green cleaning products will increase costs, they may actually reduce costs (especially on a large scale) in the long run. This is because many concentrated forms of commercial cleaning supplies require additional steps and safeguards for proper disposal.
By purchasing less hazardous cleaners, you may actually reduce or eliminate costs associated with disposing hazardous chemicals.

5 Tips for Choosing Green Cleaning Supplies

From equipment, to cleaning procedures to products, green sanitation involves a lot of consideration. If you’re thinking about going green, check out the tips below.

  1. Don’t buy products that contain harmful chemicals such as ammonia or chlorine. These chemicals can comprise air quality and irritate the eyes, nose or throat. These products are also very toxic. Too much exposure can be deadly.
  2. When it comes to vacuuming, choosing a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuum will minimize the effects of allergens and other airborne pollutants.
  3. All purpose and surface cleaners should contain plant-based solvents.
  4. Avoid green products that fail to disclose a list of ingredients on the product label. Always choose products you can trust.
  5. Products should be pH neutral (7.0), which is safer for both the environment and people.  Alkaline or acidic products may burn your skin.