We spend almost nine hours a day on average working indoors, so it's important to always make sure that our environment is the healthiest it can be. Making wise choices about suppliers and products will help ensure that your facilities are clean, healthy and comfortable places to work. If you're looking to reduce indoor air hazards, here are a few things to consider when selecting the right supplier:
- Educate yourself: While having a knowledgeable supplier is great, it's important to educate yourself on what products may contain chemicals to avoid. Products in question may include glass cleaners, general purpose cleaners, wax strippers and finish removers, degreasing agents, restroom cleaners, metal cleaners and polishes – keep an eye on their chemical composition.
- Choose the right products: Look for products designed to be safer for human and environmental health that also address environmental and human health impacts throughout their lifecycle. Avoid and/or eliminate chemicals of concern from your facilities and replace them with safer, more benign alternatives whenever possible. This includes products formulated to avoid harmful chemicals with low or no VOCs, low odor, and certified by credible, independent third-parties such as Green Seal, EPA DfE or UL Environmental. Knowing your options will help when it comes time to make informed decisions.
- Choose the right procedures: Picking the right products won't ensure success unless you implement best practices to go along with them. For example, the right supplier can help you avoid procedures that release fine mists or stir up dust, recommend high efficiency filtration on powered cleaning equipment and make sure you're using effective and accurate dilution control systems and devices.
- Not all suppliers are created equal: Look for a supplier that is proactive and offers sustainability leadership, and provides new sources of value to you. The right supplier will demonstrate basic industry compliance, provide CSR reporting and sustainability leadership. A great partnership is synergistic and built on a foundation of clear communication, transparency, trust, and collaboration.
- Start now. The management, handling, use and disposal of products that contain chemicals of concern or air contaminants require significant expenditures of time, human assets, and money. There's no need to wait – start by screening your cleaning products to identify existing contaminants with the goal of eliminating them. Additionally, screen processes and procedures for potential sources of contamination and collaborate with your suppliers to identify safer alternatives without sacrificing performance or increasing cost.
When it comes to working with suppliers, you should set and communicate clear expectations. The right supplier will listen to you and want to help you meet your expectations and objectives. A proactive, knowledgeable and transparent approach will help you eliminate hazards and inefficiencies, and save you time and money.
How have you worked with your supplier to improve your indoor environment goals?