Ensuring that your home, business and family are eco-friendly and environmentally conscious is relatively easy. Taking care of the earth is a series of choices about the products you buy, foods you eat, places you shop and what you put (and don’t put) into the waste stream.
Helping you better choose eco-friendly help
When you hire someone to clean your home or assist you with a task, you lose an element of control over your environmental impact. Knowing the right questions to ask and things to look out for can help ensure you hire the best vendors.
Follow these five tips below and you’ll be well on your way to keeping your environmental objectives in check – ensuring an eco-friendly cleaning vendor is stepping inside your treasured home.
- Interview Providers Thoroughly — A thorough interview will not only give you perspective on the service provider’s personality and whether you’re compatible or not, but it will also give you the opportunity to ask valuable questions about their products, services and policies. Questions you should be sure to ask are:
- How long have you been in business?
- What is your mission statement?
- What is your environmental philosophy?
- What types of products do you use?
- How long have you been eco-friendly?
- Look for the Green Seal — Green Seal is an independent certification for contractors. Obtaining certification means that the product or service provider meets performance, health and environmental criteria established by Green Seal. You can find more information on their website here.
- Research Your Products — To ensure your home or office remains environmentally friendly, learn about the products being used in and around your space. Avoid products with phthalates and phosphates. Review any products on websites such as Consumer Reports Greener Choices or the Environmental Working Group.
- Know Your Terminology — Descriptions such as “non-toxic” or “environmentally friendly” don’t necessarily mean that they are safe for humans, pets or the earth. Learn which chemicals are truly environmentally friendly and which are not. Don’t take the claims on the label at face value.
- Ask for Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) — MSDS sheets are intended to provide information about chemical compounds and how to handle them safely. Companies who manufacture chemicals are required to file safety data sheets with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for each of their products. Ask for the MSDS sheets for any chemical or cleaning agents used in and around your home or office.
Check Provider Tools — Even if a service’s cleaning agents are environmentally friendly and safe, take your research a step further. Ensure the American Lung Association approves of their vacuums. Inquire about the gas efficiency of their vehicles. Do they use paper towels or rags to apply cleaning products? Paper towels end up in the landfill after one use, but rags can be washed and used over and over again.
Finally, before you hire anyone to work in and around your home, let them know that the environment is important to you. Setting expectations is a large part of being environmentally responsible.
About the Author
Bonnie Joy Dewkett writes for Quill.com about organizing and green cleaning. With an undergraduate degree in agri-business, she is passionate about helping people green their homes and businesses.
Feature image courtesy of Inhabitat (Flickr)