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Eco-cleaners: What Are “Eco-Friendly” Cleaners?

Posted by NBB Maintenance on Apr 19, 2019 5:09:00 AM

A bottle of cleaning solution, next to a roll of paper towels.

At Northbay Maintenance, we’re eco-cleaners serving commercial and residential customers in Marin, Sonoma, Napa, and Eastbay Counties.

But what does it mean to be “eco-cleaners”? Today, let’s take a look at the green side of the cleaning business.

Eco Cleaning Services

Cleaning and maintenance work uses a lot of water which in Northern California we know is a precious resource. It also generates a lot of wastewater, introducing many kinds of pollutants into the ecosystem. These are both serious problems.

Thanks to regulatory oversight and decades of scientific advancement, cleaning chemicals and cleaning services are much safer for both humans and the environment today than they were 50 years ago; however, there is still a heavy environmental impact.

That’s why, several years ago, Northbay Maintenance began offering eco-friendly green cleaning services.

“Eco cleaning services” essentially means that an eco-cleaning company is taking the time and consideration to certify their business and employees in eco-friendly cleaning practices that save on chemicals, water waste, and pollution.

Woman holds small planted sprout.

What Makes a Cleaning Product “Green”?

Our end goal as eco-cleaners is for all our cleaning products to be fully biodegradable, with zero impact on human health, minimal environmental impact, and little or no depletion of nonrenewable resources. We believe that any significant step in this direction is fair to call “green.”

Look at Why a Product or Cleaning Service Is Eco-Friendly

The place to begin is to look at why a product or service claims to be green. At Northbay Maintenance, our focus on green cleaning has led to the following guidelines for us as eco-cleaners:

  • Minimize water usage.
  • Minimize water usage.
  • Reduce the amount of wastewater and landfill trash we produce.
  • Make the waste that we do generate less environmentally hazardous.
  • Reduce our consumption of nonrenewable raw materials and fuels.
  • Reduce our consumption of products that cause a lot of pollution.
  • Reduce our use of chemicals that can cause health problems.
  • Conserve energy or use more green energy.
  • Deliver the same high quality of service to our customers.

In practical terms, becoming eco-cleaners means we’ve switched out a lot of our traditional cleaning products and materials with green alternatives. If you’re curious about the nitty-gritty details, feel free to ask us when you contact us with your specific cleaning needs.

The Chemistry of Cleaning Agents

What makes a given cleaning agent green? It usually comes down to the underlying chemistry. If a cleaning product causes environmentally harmful byproducts, especially in the wastewater, then a replacement product that doesn’t produce these harmful byproducts can be considered “green.”

Sometimes the green factor comes from how a product is created or how much water it uses. When manufacturers can reduce their emissions, waste, or consumption by changing their methods, this can also be considered green. (As eco-cleaners, and pressure washing and window washing experts, we strive in particular to reduce our own water usage!)

One piece of advice: Don’t be afraid of chemicals with long names. That’s not where the threat lies; it’s just how chemists name chemicals. (Did you know the chemical name for water is “dihydrogen monoxide”?) Instead, look for the actual effects of chemicals on the environment.

Are eco-cleaners More Expensive Than Traditional Cleaners?

The short answer is yes, our eco cleaning services cost a little more than our regular cleaning services. There are a few reasons for this:

  • Eco-cleaners have to do more work to mitigate the environmental impact of their services. This is one of those things that’s inherently more expensive but has a large, positive impact on our world in the long run.
  • Eco cleaning services also have fewer market externalities than traditional services. An externality occurs when the price of something doesn’t capture its true cost. For example, the economic blow to fishing companies—caused by fish-killing algae blooms resulting from the phosphates in laundry and dishwashing detergent wastewater—hasn’t traditionally been reflected in the prices of those detergents. In essence, the detergent companies (and their customers) were imposing massive costs on the fishing companies (and their customers). When you pay a little more for green cleaning agents, you’re helping to reduce the external costs that you’re imposing on other industries, on consumers more generally (including yourself), and on the broader environment. That’s a lot of win-win situations.

Environmental regulation is here to stay and more is coming. Many traditional cleaning products will be phased out or reformulated in the years to come. By transitioning your traditional cleaners to eco-cleaners and eco cleaning services now, on your terms, you can get ahead of the scramble and avoid any unexpected shocks down the road.

Human hand painted green holds small green sprout.

Aren’t “Green” Products Just a Fad or a Ripoff?

Yes and no:

There Are Phonies Out There

Now that the concept of “going green” is gaining popular acceptance, there are a lot of opportunists coming out of the woodwork. They label their products as “green,” slap on a high price, and laugh all the way to the bank. Anybody can call their products “green,” “natural,” and a bunch of other nice-sounding words.

This situation will improve in the future as industry certifications become more standardized and environmental regulatory oversight becomes more specific. But for now, you still have to do your research. Don’t buy a product or service purely because it claims to be green. As eco-cleaners, we follow this same advice when choosing products for our eco cleaning services.

But Environmental Protection Is a Worthy Cause

Meanwhile, green products aren’t just a fad. The green movement began many decades ago by citizens, conservationists, and naturalists who were passionate about protecting the Earth.

Hiring eco-cleaners is one small step you can take toward doing your part to make a more eco-friendly world. And when it comes to green cleaning products and eco cleaning services, the underlying science and technology will only improve with time, making green cleaning even more effective.

Is Northbay Maintenance 100 Percent Green?

To help accommodate customers of all interests, we still offer our traditional cleaning services alongside our eco cleaning services. By offering our customers a choice, we let them make the decision to go green on their own terms.

We hope that by prominently marketing ourselves as eco-cleaners, together with our established reputation as the best cleaning and maintenance company in the region, we can convince our clientele to gradually switch over to our green services.

Our long-term goal is to be as environmentally friendly as we can be -- and that shows in our dedication to using eco-friendly MSDS recognized products, and our California State Pressure Washing C-61 and D-38 Licenses which requires we learn the best, water conservation practices possible in our pressure cleaning services.

Talk To Us About Going Green to Clean

If you’re ready to think about hiring eco-cleaners, contact us today to get that discussion started. We’ll answer any of your questions, and we’ll come out to your location to do a free onsite evaluation, get a sense of the scope of your needs, and give you a competitive bid. Give us a call and make the planet a little greener today!

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