C3MD hosted a Conscious Coffee event at the Howard County Conservancy last month centered around “Greening Your Business.” Members gathered at the historic location to learn about running an environmentally conscious business and shared steps their businesses have taken to be more green. C3MD reached out to event attendee and C3MD member Paul Merena, Assistant Vice President of Operations at Multicorp Inc., a Commerical Contract Cleaning Service, to share about the strides his company is making in sustainability.
Multicorp is a commercial cleaning company currently servicing the MD/DC/NoVA area since 1985. While we have a long history of caring for and cleaning built human environments, over the past decade, we have been implementing environmentally sustainable products and practices to care for and clean our natural environment.
The push for environmentally friendly businesses and practices has been a trending and necessary movement since the late 1990s. However, it has taken the cleaning industry longer to make the switch in part because the efficacy of green chemicals needs to be tested and proven. Recently, more research and products have been made available because the demand for more environmentally sustainable chemicals (ESC) is increasing.
As with most situations, in the push for environmentally sustainable business practices, the approach in the cleaning industry is multifaceted. It’s not as simple as switching to ESCs. In as many sites as we service, we install a dilution dispensing station. Using these dispensing stations, we are able to buy ESCs in concentrated bottles, which has multiple environmentally positive effects starting with the manufacturer and trickling down to the consumer. Concentrated bottles take less plastic to manufacture; use less packaging to ship; and use less water for manufacturing, which in turn lessens the shipping weight to reduce gas consumption. Because we reuse the concentrated spray bottles, less plastic ends up in landfills.
But we’re not stopping there. Multicorp is currently practicing a process that doesn’t require spray bottles, just chemicals, and cleaning cloths.
Currently, my favorite research centers around using citrus-based chemicals. This is exciting because it is a renewable natural resource. It also combats the major complaint and misconception with ESCs – that an unnatural smell is left behind. The truth is that with ESCs there is no smell. A clean office should smell neutral, with no smell whatsoever. This education piece has been a huge hurdle to overcome with our customers. Many expect a “clean smell” to prove that their office, or space, has actually been cleaned. What they may not realize is that the smells and fragrances coming from standard chemicals are anything but clean. The fumes can be damaging to the air quality and are not healthy to breathe. Citrus-based chemicals provide an effective, sustainable, and environmentally friendly clean, and consumers still get the clean smell (lemon or orange scent) they so desperately want!
Another facet of sustainability in the professional cleaning industry is the cloth we use to clean with. Products like paper towels and terry cloth are commonly used in home environments and are, unfortunately, still used by some professional cleaners. Not only do these products not clean effectively, but they are also, largely, single-use. A terry cloth rag can wipe a single surface, but will then need to be washed – using yet another resource. Paper towels clog up our landfills.
Microfiber has been the go-to cloth for us here at Multicorp well before we ever switched to ESCs. Microfiber is a synthetic yard blended from polyamide and polyester, which means they have what is called a positive charge. This positive charge helps them attract surfactants, dirt, and negatively charged particles. Because of this, we can use less chemical mixture, and therefore less water, to clean. And, while we’re keeping ourselves up-to-date with the latest research on microplastics, we believe these to be the most effective, sustainable, and longest-lasting cleaning cloth on the market.
These steps that we have taken help to create a better, healthier work environment for our technicians and for the tenants/employees of the buildings we clean. We are excited to see this space continue to evolve and to keep up with the most current research so that we can provide the best for our customers and the planet.
Thank you to Paul Merena for weighing in on this important topic. We hope this post will inspire more companies to look at ways they can make their businesses more sustainable without compromising productivity or profit.
Join us for our next virtual Coffee & Collaboration in September, where we’ll focus on Conscious Culture. Register here.