The Grind of Environmental Challenges of the Cleaning Industry
The first time I went up the Grouse Grind was a mistake.
I realized my mistake around 27 seconds after I decided that running it seemed like a reasonable choice.
For those who don’t know, the Grouse Grind is a “hike” in North Vancouver that is lovingly dubbed as “Mother Nature’s Stair Master”. It is 2,830 stairs straight up a 2.9 km trail with a 853 meter elevation. It is straight up hell.
As I climbed that mountain and my breaks came every 10 minutes, then 5 minutes, then every 11.3 seconds, my anger, embarrassment and exhaustion grew exponentially. As I completed every step forward I understood the depths of my mortality. My shaking legs knew that they were marching closer to completion, that this feeling was going to pass and this moment will be conquered. I was in control. After what felt like hours of pain and anger, I was emerging as a new person.
Then I saw the ¼ mark.
Needless to say, the rest of the hike wasn’t great. Once my legs and ego had recovered I decided to go again. And again. And again. Initially I didn’t understand why I kept going back. However, around the 6th or 7th time I clued in. No matter how many times I go back it will never change; it will always have an elevation of 853 meters, it will always be 2.9 km, and it will always have 2,830 stairs. The only thing I have any control over on that mountain is how I choose to approach it, and who I choose to be while doing it. Just like life, it's the only thing we ever really have control of.
This awareness is how we approach our vision at AspenClean. We understand that there is a way of the cleaning industry has moved and made decisions, and they are ingrained to the point of fact. It’s been a fact that to save costs, chemicals such as known carcinogen 1,4 Dioxane must be used. Or that to have an effective cleaning product their formula must include toxic chemicals. Or that it’s acceptable to for the industry to use ethoxylated alcohol, which destroys ecosystems.
The cleaning industry is on the cusp of a real green revolution. There's a shift happening and we recognize there is a different way to solve the problems ahead of us. It is possible to create effective cleaning products using only plant and mineral based ingredients that are hypoallergenic. We can use organizations like ECOCERT and the EWG so that claims of transparency are accountable in green cleaning products. And we can work with our greater community and help educate them to create a green cleaning services and a sustainable world.
Everything described above is what we have already committed and actioned as a company in 2018, and it's what we hope our contemporaries in the industry can choose to commit to as well.
Our goal is the same as any other cleaning company. It is to create products and services that will effectively clean. But just like the grouse grind, the only thing we have control of is how we choose to get there and the choices we make in achieving that goal. It is what makes all the difference.