1. Use an eco-friendly cleaning service: Find a service that uses non-toxic or biodegradable products and reusable methods, like cloth rags that can be washed and used again and again. Check on-line: commercial green cleaning services are popping up just about everywhere.
2. Read the warning labels on your surface disinfectant: Select one that the EPA has determined is “Generally Regarded as Safe” (GRAS), and effective against mycobacterium TB, Salmonella, E. Coli, Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Hepatitis, HIV, H1N1, and Influenza. Avoid products containing a “Danger” or “Warning” label.
3. Avoid toxic cleaning products… (kick the bleach!)
There are plenty of non-toxic options on the market and many are made from renewable resources (non-petroleum). Avoid using chlorine bleach at all costs! Bleach is a strong oxidizer, meaning it is highly corrosive and eats through just about anything….like your water lines. And, chlorine bleach can breakdown amalgam particles in waterlines, releasing harmful mercury vapors into your operatories. When bleach is mixed with some other cleaners, it can create harmful gases resulting in breathing difficulties, vomiting, bloody noses, neurological disorders, headaches…need we go on?
4. Dispose of the toxic stuff responsibly: Many communities hold toxic recycling days and will take these off your hands. Throwing chemicals in the trash or down the drain means they might end up in our water supply or landfills, exactly where we don’t want them! Check Earth911 for toxic take-back programs near you.
5. Use eco-friendly trash bags: Regular plastic bags are made with petroleum products and can take over 100 years to break down. Sadly, less than 2% of all plastic bags get recycled. Over 100,000 marine animals and 2 million birds die every year from ingesting or being caught up in plastic debris. Choose bags made from recycled plastic or compostable materials.
6. Switch to natural and reusable cleaning wipes, etc.: Paper towels contribute 3,000 tons of waste to our landfills each year, so look for natural fiber sponges and rags to do the cleaning instead. You can wash and re-use your rags, saving money and cutting back on landfill waste.
7. Choose eco-friendly waterline cleaners: Pick a non-corrosive, antimicrobial waterline cleaner for your waterlines. Check out Team Vista, which is a daily irrigant solution derived from organic citrus botanicals.
8. Look for enzymatic instrument soaks: Enzymatic soaks extend instrument life by reducing chances for discoloration and corrosion. There are enzyme stabilizers that are eco-friendly, and which offer rapid biodegradability and low toxicity. Check out Enzymax Earth from Hu-Friedy.
9. Conserve water: Reducing your use of water not only preserves this precious resource, but saves on your water bill. Use only what you need, and never leave the faucet running! Make sure to get your patients in on the tip as well and encourage them to join the Save 90 a Day campaign, pledging to turn off the tap while they brush their teeth.
10. Bonus: Improve your indoor air with plants: If anyone knows the importance of fresh air, it’s NASA, who completed research on the best plants for maintaining air quality inside a space station. They recommend one small plant for every 100 sq. feet. Not to mention they’ll improve the look and feel of your office! Check out this list of the best plants for the job.
Happy Spring Cleaning!