By adjusting, planning and executing our business operations to include safe and effective use of cleaning chemicals, you can begin a movement towards reducing toxic fluids in your facility.
B. Scott Taylor
First of all, I’m no chemist. I am, however, considered kind of a smart business guy. At least that’s what some people say to my face. Who knows? What I do know, is that green is the new black and it’s here to stay for a while too. I don’t think that environmental issues are fads and I don’t think the government is going to relax standards related to the use and handling of toxic chemicals. So, how do we adjust, plan and execute our business operations to include safe and effective use of cleaning chemicals? Reading this I can’t wait. Hang with me. I will try to make this as exciting as possible.
Tell me if this sounds familiar. A salesman says, “ Hey, I have this new green cleaner and it’s amazing! You can replace those nasty chemicals you are using with this new safe stuff and all your troubles will be gone. It’s cheaper and better, and does the same thing as the nasty stuff.” I have a good friend that sells cars and he tells me all the time, “They all lie to me; as soon as their lips start moving, they start lying.” I always think about how tainted he is after all these years in the car business. The truth is that we are all somewhat tainted. Some of us have been in business for a few years and some of us many. People can’t seem to help themselves. This recent green movement is no exception. I think some of these companies mean well but sometimes they get a little “sideways around turn three”. So, here is the challenge. How do you make your company safe for employees, the environment and your equipment while still affording to run your business?
First of all, it isn’t easy—it takes time, energy and resources. Most of which we can’t seem to find enough of at any given time! However, there is good news. With a good jumping off point and the rightkindinformation you can do it. The Internet, as you know by now, is an amazing resource. You can educate yourself while sitting on the couch watching TV after a long week. You don’t even have to go back to school full time to get a degree in chemistry.
Initially, you’ll want to get an understanding of basic things. What makes some chemical formulas dangerous and some not? There are a few basic principles when looking at this information: health, flammability, and physical hazard. These are referred to as HMIS (hazardous materials information system) scores on every chemical product you purchase. You can find these in a MSDS document that comes with all chemicals. Below are a few examples:
- Great = 0-0-0
- Good =1-0-0
- It’s not going to kill me, but it’s cheap and works ok = 1-1-1
- Why can’t I breathe that well and why are my hands burning? = 2-1-2
- This smells funny and my hands are burning and I can’t see that well but this stuff is cheap and works great. Hey, why is my paint fading on my truck after just six months? = 3-1-1
Although, nothing is perfect, this will give you a little insight intowhat is harmful and what is not—degrees of bad and better.
The next step is review, recommend, replace. Review your options, select some products to test and calculate the true cost of these eco-friendly products. There are many variables when finding the true cost. Some are hard costs and some are soft— including total cost, dilution, handling the products and even insuring harmful chemicals—but in the end they add or subtract from your bottom line. However,first they have to work then they need to be cost effective.
Lucky for us, in recent times, people have gotten smarter in some ways. I can’t say that for everything but we seem to care more about our environmental future. It has gotten cool to be conservative and recycle pick up our trash and ride a bike to school or work. This chemical business is the last real hurdle in this movement and arguably the most important.
It isn’t always easy doing the right thing. I don’t have to be that smart to know that. However, when I have done the right thing, it’s one less thing I have to think about when I look at myself in the mirror before I head off to lead my company down the road to a safer more profitable business and, hopefully, I can leave a legacy for my family and maybe future generations. Good things are coming— this is the greatest country in the world. Don’t be afraid of embracing change.
B. Scott Taylor is CEO of Green Endeavor (Portland, OR), a company that provides better solutions for all industries. Prior to that he was the President and founder of TAOW, a modern marketing agency, and Co- Chairman and Founder of Virtual Relocation.com (Move.com) the Internet’s first and largest re-location mega site. He is a published author and frequent speaker on subjects that include sales, marketing, business strategy. Currently he is very interested in helping companies replace the bad stuff with the good stuff that works. To learn about a toxic reduction plan, or if you are interested in more information about the rating scale or would like specific links, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.greenendeavorinc.com.