One of the most common grouses of environment watch-groups is that industrial cleaning, which is a $50 billion business wastes a lot of water. However, this is not true at all. There are various Federal and International laws and certification standards which emphasize or enforce water consumption in any and every industry including industrial cleaning. Fines and penalties in case of violations can be steep, not to mention a serious impact on the company’s image.
LEED or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is one such certification standard. EPA Clean Water Act, and various state and local regulations take a stern view on the matter and impose heavy fines such as $50,000 per day for violations.
But interestingly, the cleaning industry has evolved its processes and machinery such that, less and less of water is being consumed every day, for any kind of cleaning requirement. For example, The Cleaning Partners’ industrial-grade cleaning equipment use heat, power and pressure to give its clients the highest level of cleanliness and hygiene. Further, The Cleaning Partners can reclaim and reuse all run-off water which complies with the EPA Clean Water Act.
So what are the innovations happening in the cleaning sector?
Alternatives in Floor Care
- Mopping vs Washing: While earlier, cleaning companies found it easy to hose down a lot of water and cleaning chemicals on the surface to be cleaned, many companies and their clients prefer mopping that uses water economically.
- However, mopping has been found to be ineffective as the sphagetti mops can spread the contaminants and dirt, instead of removing them. Currently, companies use trolley buckets as a better alternative. These machines dispense water and chemicals where needed, in small quantities. Then other brushes and devices can be used to clean.
- A wet vacuum cleaner is also being used. These can vacuum the water and the dirt after the brushing and cleaning is done.
- In the past, rotary pad machines were used to clean all kinds of floor surfaces. While these are effective on even floors, uneven floors, corners, grouted areas, and porous floors, cylindrical brushes that use counter-rotating brushes are used. This can penetrate deeper, and hence require less water or cleaning chemicals.
Innovations in Fabric Care
Carpets, upholstery and thick fabrics are now being cleaned using low-moisture carpet extractors. These atomize, filter and recycle the cleaning solution even as its being used, thereby greatly reducing the need for water and chemicals.
- The emergence of Green Cleaning Products
More recently, greener or environment friendly cleaning products that are quite cost-effective have become popular. While cleaning companies proactively use them, many customers have been demanding the same. In case of a price difference between the green product and its conventional alternative, cleaning companies have been offering the green solution at no appreciable increase in price as a survey by HitMan Advertising revealed.
- The emergence of specialists with a national presence
Companies like The Cleaning Partners have operations all over the US and have been working with end-users and facility management companies to undertake a lot of cleaning. Such companies have the right scale and revenues to keep innovating their machinery and processes, and minimize use of water.
To the layman, industrial cleaning seems like one of those industries that guzzle a gazillion litres of water. But industry leaders like The Cleaning Partners have shown that by innovating constantly, they can be compliant with Governmental Regulations around consumption of water. End of the day, these companies are part of the same society that have created these regulations, and share exactly the same concerns.