In years past, Earth Day was an opportunity for facility managers to showcase their building’s commitment to protecting health and the environment. Last year, COVID-19-related protocols inundated—if not overwhelmed—facilities. Let’s use this upcoming Earth Day, April 22, and the spring season as a time to demonstrate our commitment to creating a clean, healthy, and environmentally responsible space. This column provides some simple ideas for sharing positive stories.
Although the guest speakers usually featured in Earth Day celebrations may need to go virtual this year, there are other options. Consider hosting outdoor events such as tree plantings, community service programs, recycling events, and award ceremonies. Involve your custodial staff in the celebratory activities instead of relegating them to set up and clean up. Make sure everyone follows appropriate face-covering rules and social distancing.
Communicate your sustainability practices through posters, handouts, and tabletop presentations. You can use these mediums to demonstrate proper handwashing techniques and explain the overall health and environmental impacts associated with cleaning, pest management, and waste and recycling.
Posters are inexpensive and can be easy to create, especially with the assistance of your suppliers. Use interesting pictures depicting your facility’s specific cleaning, pest management and waste/recycling activities. Provide specific details such as improvements in recycling or the percentage of green cleaning products your facility uses to help make the message more tangible.
Try using attention-grabbing headlines like “Did you know?” or “You can make a difference in our facility and at home,” to engage occupants, since Earth Day is really about what individuals, as well as organizations, can do to make a difference.
Highlight your green initiatives
Tabletop presentations can showcase green products such as:
- Green-certified cleaning chemicals, disinfectants, hand soaps, and hand sanitizers
- Devices that produce cleaning chemicals on-site
- Janitorial paper made with recycled content, agricultural waste, or rapidly renewable tree fibers
- Equipment such as battery-powered, high-efficiency, backpack vacuums; and/or electrostatic sprayers
- Tools such as microfiber cloths and mopheads made from recycled clothing.
Prioritize green products that create opportunities for discussions about what occupants can do to create a culture of hygiene in the facility and in their homes. For example, create a simple handout to reinforce what occupants can do to make the facility healthier and easier to clean.
Feature fun equipment
If you have the space, consider showcasing a large piece of cleaning equipment such as a riding scrubber or better yet, ask your vendor if they can demonstrate one of their new robot scrubbers. Suppliers are typically eager to participate in such events when given enough advanced notice.
Everyone is weary of focusing solely on COVID-19. Earth Day can be a great opportunity to change the discussion and showcase green cleaning. Share your ideas on what building occupants can do to truly make the facility safer while reducing adverse impacts on the environment.