Not Necessarily the Same
“Green” is the new tail fins; you must have them, even if they’re only stuck on. Some times green is greenwashed and sometimes green is only green if the world starts and ends at your front door. Example: transporting crews with green chemicals and tools from job to job in full size vans, any potential green benefit is overcome by the carbon footprint of getting to the jobsite.
Follow Through considers Portland Green Cleaning as part of our system on every job, not just green clean jobs and green as part of a whole, not something existing by itself in splendid isolation.
We do this by being a 3P company: People, Planet, Profit
The triple bottom line (Do unto others as you would have them do unto you) is our standard for business decisions. 3 P simplifies trade offs. Is it good for our people, is it good for the planet and will there be enough revenue to support the whole? If not, we won’t do it.
Green and Sustainable Cleaning
We didn’t plan to be sustainable; we planned to be frugal. Sustainability is the logical outcome of frugality. Most of our equipment purchases are second hand. We buy the same equipment, as we would have new, except we pay .10 on the dollar. We repair the tools ourselves, often using parts from salvaged machines.
We don’t use chemicals indiscriminately, water works better than most cleaners do. The more chemicals you give a janitor, the dirtier the building becomes (residue attracts soil). Our cleaners are trained to use water and a damp cloth first, only using a chemical when water is unsuccessful. When chemicals are used we employ Green Seal certified cleaners in mix stations. One product does nearly everything, floors, surfaces, bathrooms and carpet cleaning.
Statistically, a cleaning company’s supply and equipment cost is 6% of gross sales; our cost is less than 1%. Sustainable practices save us thousands of dollars every year.
Our sustainable practices would be common sense and obvious to my Depression era parents, but are alien in today’s consuming culture where “green” is just one more thing to be bought!