What is the difference between Green and Sustainable?


It is often thought that the terms “green” and “sustainable” can be used interchangeably, tomato/tomoto right? Wrong. Being “green” is actually just one component in a much more complex system that is Sustainability. As it becomes more and more popular to make things green or sustainable, especially when discussing facility operations, we wanted to make sure that you knew the difference between the two as well! 

 Let’s start with the term “green.” Green is focused solely on products and procedures that reduce the impact on users, building occupants and the environment. This could mean using a chemical that has a green seal and less hazardous materials or it could be implementing machines that require significantly less water and electricity than the norm. Today, we have many options available for implementing green procedures into any and all types of buildings.

“Sustainability” is a much more broader term than “green.” Being green or environmental is just one of the three components that make up sustainability.

3 Legs of the “Sustainability” Tripod:

  • Environmental: Green Cleaning. Using products that are more efficient with chemicals that do not harm the environment.
  • Social: Looks at social equality and human resource. Are the employees making a fair living wage, do they have health insurance, do they have safe working conditions? This is historically the hardest area of the tripod for compliance. Part time workers, because they do not qualify for health insurance, are not considered sustainable.
  • Financial: Company must be able to sustain itself before it can implement other sustainable practices. Ie. Have a fair amount of profits.

 As you can incite from the definitions above, implementing green practices into custodial operations is a much more achievable goal than becoming sustainable.  However both are important components of reducing our footprint on the earth and creating a place for many future generations to live happily. 

 Call us for more information on what your facility can be doing to become more green!

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