Every Day Is Earth Day for the Cleaning IndustryBy Jolynn Kennedy | April 20, 2012 << Back to Articles
Earth Day was created 42 years ago by a small but passionate group of individuals that organized speeches and rallies throughout the country to focus attention on our environment and how man’s activities can harm it. These individuals also pressed federal, state, and local governments to pass laws and regulations that would protect the environment and achieve their goals for a cleaner, healthier planet.
At that time, activists and most Americans alike expected the government to implement environmental regulations. They believed political action was necessary—that it was, in fact, the only way the changes they hoped for would occur. Four decades later, however, both individuals and industries such as our own have come to voluntarily embrace many of the changes those first Earth Day activists were working for, taking significant steps to protect our environment without waiting for a government mandate.
For instance, green and sustainable cleaning have now essentially become (or are becoming) standard operating procedure in the professional cleaning industry throughout much of the world. This trend is likely to continue in the years to come. Further, we are seeing this awareness expanding into new areas that go beyond the use of green cleaning chemicals or vacuum cleaners that protect indoor air quality. Moisture-controlled cleaning technologies (that use less water and use it more efficiently) and technologies that minimize chemical use and cleaning-related waste are becoming commonplace as well, complementing the goals first brought to light by Earth Day’s founders.
Examples of these changes in technology are plentiful. Take carpet extraction, for instance, which uses more water than perhaps any other form of cleaning. New wand technologies are now available that use water much more efficiently, allowing technicians to minimize the amount of water that comes in contact with the carpet while still cleaning effectively. Further, recycling carpet extractors that filter and recycle water and cleaning solution—something made possible by the use of an existing technology that has essentially been rediscovered due to our industry’s growing focus on green and sustainable cleaning—are becoming increasingly common as well.
Cylindrical brush technology, which makes use of rotating brushes instead of rotary pads for floor machines, is another old technology that has received a new lease on life due to our industry’s focus on greener, healthier, and more sustainable cleaning. Because these brushes perform more of the actual cleaning work, less chemical and water is necessary. Less noticeable but just as important, the brushes on these machines can replace as many as 100 rotary pads, reducing our industry’s impact on landfills and protecting natural resources.
But it is not just cleaning products and technologies that are evolving as a result of this resolute focus on the environment; the way we operate our businesses is changing as well. In fact, many key players in the jansan industry are now taking steps to embrace what is known as the triple bottom line and its emphasis on social, economic, and environmental principles:
- Focusing on the well-being of people, workers, and communities
- Manufacturing products that are environmentally responsible as well as functional and competitively priced
- Operating facilities in ways that minimize the use of natural resources and protect the environment.
These new goals have evolved in part as a result of those small gatherings 42 years ago and the impact of Earth Day. And just as our industry has taken a leadership role in the green and sustainable cleaning movement, we can expect it to become a leader in operating businesses responsibly and sustainably to promote the triple bottom line as well.
About the Author.
Jolynn Kennedy is marketing manager for Tornado Industries.