We have used and abused the environment through the industrial revolution and employed bad working habits for centuries. Today we pay the price with large areas of land unsuitable for habitation by crops or human life. Thousands of acres of land need total cleansing. Rivers had become dumping grounds, waste chemicals and oil have poured down the sink and only in the last decade have we taken action to stop this industrial vandalism.
The cleaning industry is not exempt from responsibility although with careful selection of materials and equipment we are now wasting less, re-using more and reducing pollution. Our challenge is to take responsibility for the environment for our children and grandchildren – and we have already made some important moves. If we buy environmentally friendly products and those with a recycled future and if, we dispose of the less friendly ‘green’ goods in a safe way, we can minimise future problems. Today a large percentage of our waste is being recyled and some waste centres are centres of environmental excellence.
Working for an independent national buying group I see the market trends first and I am delighted to report that what was a few years ago just smart talk of caring for the environment, is reality today due to many factors including government action, media exposure, help from pressure groups, caring manufacturers and end users.
When making a purchase of equipment or goods there are three basic questions to ask. • What environmental damage does this cause and is there a better way? • How do I dispose/recycle the used (chemical, paper wiper, sanding pads etc) ecologically? • Can I recycle this product, its container (plastic bottle etc) or in the case of equipment, the component parts for recycling? Making purchasing decisions that leave you with a clear conscience and a ‘feel good factor’ is easy if you are willing to invest a little time in being more selective and asking more questions.
All responsible manufacturers of cleaning product have ‘eco’ or ‘green’ ranges which includes their contents, delivery, packaging and life after use. The Jangro brand this year doubled its Enviro Range to include bio degradable rubbish sacks, brushes, recycled paper products, light bulbs, washing up liquid, degreasers, washing powders, polishes, toilet cleaners – the list is growing and we will expand it as more suitable products pass our specifications and rigorous checking.
We deliver to our customers responsibly in the largest possible loads using the minimum packaging but sufficient to ensure product safety. Cardboard delivery cartons are re-used or recycled Business wants eco products We have found that the requirement for environmentally friendly products is as much of interest to small businesses as it is in multi-national companies with corporate social responsibility and environmental programmes.
Caring of our environment in the cleaning profession is common sense and good business sense for supplier and user. We are pleased when customer conversations start with ‘How do I dispose of this in a responsible manner when it becomes waste?’ If you don’t get a satisfactory answer, don’t buy the product.
Surplus or used cleaning materials can have a second life. Cardboard packaging and paper is re-used, soiled mixed rags can often be laundered and reused, pallets will make many trips. Damaged plastic and metal parts, safety clothing, leather gloves, natural brushes, metal and glass products used by cleaners can all find second homes.
The WEE (Waste Electrical Electronic Equipment) Directive applies to all businesses not just computers, mobile phones but cleaning equipment like vacuums and pressure washers. When buying chemicals, or detergents etc, there are two elements to consider – whether to select ‘diluted and ready to use’ products so that there is no spillage when mixing; or concentrated products meaning less plastic bottles for disposal.
The environment is one area where European Governments are getting their acts together and making steps forward. The European Environment Agency (www.eea.europa.eu), DEFRA -The Department for the Environment Food & Rural Affairs (www.defra.gov.uk) and the Health & Safety Executive (www.hse.gov.uk) all provide useful advice and literature. Every European citizen creates 520kg of waste each year. In the past employees have taken the safe route of ‘binning it’ rather than recycling.
Buying the right products and setting up disposal/recycling systems is half of management’s responsibility. Staff education and training completes the loop for success. Customers are as enthusiastic about creating effective ‘cradle to grave’ policies as they are about saving heat, gas, light, water, diesel etc. We hope that manufacturers will meet users’ growing demands for more environmentally friendly products, packaging and delivery methods.
We want our 160-page catalogue to be filled with eco friendly products and we will keep searching until this is achieved. Jangro encourages end users to make contact to discuss their green needs and we are always interested to hear from manufacturers of eco products and equipment. Our task is to provide what you want and with 29 years of doing so, we believe that we are good at it. The rising popularity of green products will benefit the environment for us all for many years to come.
Additional Environmental Accreditation for Paper Manufactor