- Google Hopes To Create World’s Healthiest Workplaces
- Google's Green Cleaning Initiative Started Out Rough
How Google Embraces Zero Waste
Google's attention to these other offices, and how they're cleaned is a big deal. In addition to its cluster of facilities in the Bay Area, the company has several throughout the United States and 70 offices in more than 40 other countries, according to its website.
Globally, Navarro says Google wants to move past just simply getting green cleaning products in the facilities. The company wants to focus on educating the workers at these facilities and show them why green cleaning is so important.
Nationally, he says the facilities are often pretty advanced in their green cleaning, but there are still opportunities for the company to better implement the practice.
"There's lots of opportunities to expand out and grow our green cleaning program to arm our facilities teams with the right tools and resources to get there," says Navarro.
As Google moves towards using more green cleaning products and practices, it simultaneously embraces zero waste initiatives — and that's a direction in which the company wants to head. Navarro says janitorial operations simply produce too much waste. However, the implementation of green cleaning improves upon this issue because the practice has an imbedded concept of zero waste. For example, some green cleaning products are diluted on-site, which produces less waste than a pre-diluted solution.
"When you think of the packaging that (traditional cleaning products) come in, there's a lot of wraps, lots of styrofoam, there's a lot of stuff that you have to go through before you even get to the product itself," says Navarro.
To reduce its waste, Google is looking into placing an engineered water solution on the site of its facilities. He envisions workers will have access to a general cleaning solution that they can just "pump out like you're at a soda machine."
"I think the concept of on-site generation for chemicals is the next big step," says Steve Ashkin, president of The Ashkin Group, a consulting firm that helps organizations make their cleaning programs more green. "We've looked at a life cycle assessment. The life-cycle assessment on on-site generation are amazing in terms of the environmental reductions."
As it pertains to zero waste, Google is also working with its janitorial teams and getting them to be a part of their mission. The company is also auditing its waste a little bit so it has a better idea of what amount of contaminants are in their waste streams — a step Ashkin thinks is important.
"(America) has tried for generations now, since the 1970s, to recycle and we still can't figure out which bin a disposable coffee container goes in," says Ashkin.
Companies have tried to model Google's operations for years, and some will likely continue this trend by monitoring how the corporation handles green cleaning. For Google, green cleaning is all about improving the health of its employees. For other businesses, green cleaning might mean something else.
Ashkin, who has helped Google evaluate and implement its green cleaning strategies, suggests companies encourage their janitorial workers to think about the future and look into innovations they can implement that are nontraditional in the cleaning industry.
Whatever it might be that a company values, it's probably something that can be positively impacted by green cleaning. Those pushing green cleaning just need to figure out what that value is. "Really focus on the customer and look at what their values are," says Ashkin.
Google's Green Cleaning Initiative Started Out Rough