Our Current Sustainable Practices
Here are some things we're doing to be more mindful in our business - maybe it can give others ideas of what they can do, too:
Our Cleaning Service
-Use all natural, non-toxic and biodegradable cleaning solutions.
-Use cleaning products that are manufactured with sustainable practices and use recycled material for packaging. We also try to buy in bulk to reduce packaging and shipping (less petroleum consumption and carbon emissions).
-Use quality equipment to increase longevity, thus reducing manufacturing waste and landfill use. Also, we look for items that are easily recycled.
-Launder our rags in cold water and wait for a full load before washing. We also use a clothesline or drying rack to conserve energy.
-Utilize used products such as rags, second-hand duffle bags and vacuum cleaners when possible - to reduce manufacturing and landfill use.
-Source our organic flowers from a local farm when in season (http://www.muthfamilyfarm.com/ - see picture of owners Margaret Kirkby and Mary Ellen Muth Sherfey holding flowers)
-Purchase much of our equipment from small, locally-owned retailers.
-Use bicycles and public transportation for many of our appointments. We also carpool as much as possible when we need to drive.
-Assist clients in improving their physical and mental health via cleaning, organizing or wellness consultation.
-Hire conscientious artists and students for our crews.
-Treat our crews with respect.
-Pay our crews a living wage - over 30% more than the average wage paid by other cleaning companies.
-Provide assistance and emotional support for clients trying to make positive changes in their lives.
-Keep a home office to reduce the carbon footprint of a commute as well as conserve energy and resources.
-Use green electric power (http://www.greenmountainenergy.com/) and conserve electricity by using more daylight, shutting out lights when not in use, turning off power strip when not in use.
-Manage heat/cooling in office by using blinds, ceiling fan and window fan Ð as well as by dressing appropriately.
-Buy office products with maximum post-consumer recycled content. These include pencils made with recycled money and recycled steel paper clips (http://www.greenlinepaper.com/).
-Use electronic transfers to pay most bills to reduce paper and ink consumption.
-Recycle our printer cartridges.
-Print on both sides of paper before recycling.
-Use refillable ink pens.
-Utilize plants to clean indoor air and enhance mood.
-Use full spectrum CFL light bulbs to conserve energy and enhance mood.
-Use a web host that offsets their carbon emissions.
-Use rechargeable batteries for electronics.
-Use a digital camera to reduce unnecessary printing and toxic processing chemicals.
-Use mostly second-hand furniture
-Properly dispose of non-working electronics
-Donate packing peanuts home-based shipping businesses
-Use non-disposable items such as dishes, flatware, glasses, cloth napkins and rags. Wash with eco-safe detergents.
-Compost food scraps.
-Use filtered tap water.
-Eat outside whenever comfortable to improve mood and productivity.
-Eat organic and/or locally-sourced food when possible. If eating non-vegetarian, we try to use local products from animals that are humanely treated and pasture/grass-fed.
-Eat items from our own veggie garden when in season.
-Try to eat more raw food and cook less to maximize nutrition and use less energy (and less clean-up).
-Keep refrigerator full (stock up on beverages/water) to retain thermal mass and use less energy.
-Utilize environmentally responsible practices in our service and operations.
-Encourage our clients and the public to reduce their carbon footprint by providing brochures and online resources.
-Give free workshops and talks on how to be more sustainable.
-Donate services to non-profit fundraising events.
-Generally support and encourage sustainable businesses, artists and organizations we believe in like Co-op America, Etsy.com and the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia (for more, see our resources page).