Everyone these days is “going green”. But what does this mean for Steam Master Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning? We only use chemical solutions manufactured by Bridgepoint Systems. Bridgepoint Systems is a chemical solutions manufacturing enterprise and has been practicing many of the common sense applications of the “green movement” since the company began in 1972.
But what does green really mean? Here is what Bridgepoint Systems concludes:
One of the questions you should be asking yourself is this: “what does green really mean?” There are at least eight ways that we see “green” could be measured when you are looking at the impact of cleaning chemical solutions on the world around us.
- Outdoor environmental impact and footprint – Are the cleaning solutions rapidly biodegradable? What impact does it have on the environment to access the raw ingredients that make up those cleaning solutions?
- Indoor environmental quality – The cleaning green process should not only improve the appearance of the surface being cleaned, it should also improve the environmental quality by removing soil, allergens, pollutants, contaminants, and particles from the indoor environment. It should do this without the overuse of the “green cleaning” solutions.
- Sustainability and the use of renewable resources – What are the sources for the ingredients that make up the “green cleaning” solutions? Many surfactants and most solvents are derived from petroleum oil – a limited resource that requires environmental impact to extract or pump. We now have safer and effective cleaning detergents that are comprised of surfactants derived from plants and seeds. These are renewable resources that can be sustained over a long period of time. However, there are still some surfactants that are considered green even though their source is not readily renewable, simply because they are from a natural environment.
- Packaging and recycling issues – Are the cleaning solutions packaged in containers (bottles and boxes) which can easily and readily be recycled? Does the company using those solutions take the time and effort to make sure they are recycled rather than ending up in landfills? How much recycled material is used to make the bottle and box in the first place?
- Reducing use of resources – The more concentrated the cleaning solution is, the less resources are used to transport it from the manufacturer to the user. Concentration and dilution rates are critical parts of the cleaning green process. Generally, the less cleaning solution we have to use, the better.
- Health impact upon the occupants of the home or business, as well as the cleaning technician themselves – Are the cleaning solutions safer to use and non-toxic? Do they contribute to issues of those who are chemically sensitive with strong fragrances or dyes? What about the impact on the cleaning technician who is exposed to that cleaning solution day in and day out?
- Impact of the “new” green chemistry upon the construction and texture of the surface being cleaned – If these “green” cleaning solutions truly are “new” technology, how do we know what their impact is on the surface being cleaned? Traditional cleaning solutions have been used on carpets, hard floors, countertops, bathroom fixtures and more for years and years. Should we just assume that a new chemical does not have any effect on the construction and texture of those surfaces?
- Cleaning effectiveness – This may well be the most important measurement of whether the solution is truly “green.” If cleaning is defined as the “proper removal, collection, and disposal of unwanted matter from a surface or environment,” then cleaning itself is a “green process.” We want to make sure it breaks down, dissolves, emulsifies, and allows for complete removal of the soils, allergens, particulates, contaminants, and pollutants from the surface being cleaned. If a cleaning technician is trying to clean an extremely soiled surface, and the “green” cleaning solution is not effectively doing it, then the natural tendency is to use more of the cleaning solution. This can lead to the overuse or misuse of the “green” cleaning chemical. A build up of “plant or seed derived” surfactants on a surface being applied and not extracted, can lead to a “mold farm” of left behind surfactants, certainly not a “green cleaning” principle.
Cleaning green puts just as much emphasis upon the process and the procedures and the overall dedication of the cleaning technicians and the cleaning company as it does on the cleaning solution itself. To market green cleaning any other way to the consumer is only going to contribute to a hugely potential of “false security.” As Dr. Michael Berry has stated, doing the right thing also needs to become doing the rational thing.”