Why does eco-cleaning matter?
Why does eco-cleaning matter?
We sat down with Svát’a Schubert of GreenClean Ltd. and picked his brain about green cleaning, eco-entrepreneurship, and green living (and veganism) in Prague.
These might be the most radical words you ever hear about cleaning: “all you need to clean is water, lemon juice, vinegar and a micro-fiber cloth.”
So spoke Svát’a Schubert, the smiling, tattoo-covered, vegan boss of GreenClean, the first and only eco-cleaning company in Czech Republic. To put things in perspective, Sweden already has 27 eco-cleaning companies.
GreenClean started out as two guys with two clients around five years ago and has grown to a ten-person company with mainly corporate clients such as Swedish cosmetics company Oriflame. Svát’a was approached by a friend with the idea, and knew right away that he wanted to be a part of it.
“I’ve been interested in these kinds of ideas since I turned 15. So it was kind of natural when the guy approached me… And when he asked me for help I felt like participating. I believe it’s one of the most important things if you want to have a successful business, that it’s not just your job but… it has to come from your inner core, I believe. And if that’s not there, I don’t think anything else matters.”
Though he’s the “big boss,” Svát’a makes a point of participating in the cleaning himself, seeing it as a vital aspect of managing his business.
“I’m not just a manager who talks to people. I do what all other people in the company do and they all know it. We work together and I don’t mind to ‘get dirty’ at all. In fact, I believe it is necessary and a big part of my company’s success.”
He told us that demand for eco-cleaning is growing, as more and more people and companies start to take an interest in environmental protection. GreenClean’s policy is to only work with clients who actually care.
“I’m picky as far as how the management of the company understands my message. Fortunately I’m already at a point where I can choose. I choose those companies that kind of have an idea, and as for Czech Republic, it’s usually companies with foreign management.”
But at the end of the day, the need to be clean is universal — as Svát’a put it, “the world is messy, and cleaning needs to be provided: it’s as important as eating, sleeping and taking a poo.” Well, we can’t argue with that!
“The world is messy, and cleaning needs to be provided: it’s as important as eating, sleeping and taking a poo.” – Svát’a Schuberg, CEO of GreenClean Ltd.
“We are like an added value to the service. The service has to be of a high quality, of course, but being ecological is something that everybody likes. It’s a bonus extra.”
Svát’a explained that eco-cleaning means using chemical-free cleaning products, energy-efficient vacuum cleaners, machinery and tools, and optimizing the cleaning process to save time, water and energy.
“The idea is to do it with as much respect towards the environment as possible. Of course there are some limitations, but we try. It means to know what harms the environment and how you can actually reduce it, or eliminate it altogether. So the first step is to educate yourself. Then, as far as the craft is concerned, you have to know some skills because it requires some human work. The last and maybe most important thing is to care and to know why it’s important. We’ve been trying very hard to combine these three elements and I dare to say, so far so good!”
“The last and maybe most important thing is to care and to know why it’s important.” – Svát’a Schuberg, CEO of GreenClean Ltd.
But really? Can water, vinegar and lemon juice do the trick? Svát’a wholeheartedly believes so, and reminded us that in our grandparents’ era, home-remedies like baking soda and vinegar were the norm.
“You can clean only with water if you have good tools, which usually means microfiber cloths or good machines. It’s usually a combination of chemicals, time, temperature and physical force, and you need to know how to combine these in order to make it as ecological and effective as possible.”
We’ll let you in on a secret: GreenClean won’t actually get to work on your office with lemons and a bottle of vinegar, though that could be fun to watch. They do, however, mainly use products based on those simple ingredients, as well as soap-nuts from India, from the Czech brand Tierra Verde.
Svát’a recommends that if you’re looking for the best eco-cleaning products, check the ingredient list instead of the label. Too many unfamiliar sounding ingredients equals bad news – no matter what kind of eco-label is on the package.
Price-wise, Svát’a says GreenClean is competitive with traditional cleaning companies, and can in fact save companies money by saving water and electricity.
If you want GreenClean to take care of your office-space in an eco-friendly way, Svát’a welcomes you to get in touch – but only if you really care.
The Green Spotlight
We have a few questions we like to ask all of our interviewees about their green business, green entrepreneurship and green living in Prague. Svát’a had some fascinating answers for us. For example, did you know Czech Republic has the highest ratio of vegan/vegetarian restaurants to people in Europe? Here’s what else he had to say.
Tell us something special about GreenClean.
“Except for one person, we are all vegans. With vegans and all these hippy people, it’s more likely that they’re going to understand the eco-message that my company is trying to communicate. The thing is that veganism is very much eco-friendly as well, of course. I try to make [the business] as eco-friendly as possible in as many ways as possible. So, you know, connecting like-minded people and thus creating an environment that is friendly and nice to work in.”
Do you have any tips for other aspiring eco-entrepreneurs?
“To persevere. To not give up. It’s tough to break through all the crap, but it’s possible and I think it’s getting better and better. For example, for me to start what I started five years ago would be way easier to do now. So I think it’s getting better and better, and that gives me hope. And it should give hope to anyone who is interested in these kinds of things and businesses.”
“The thing is, you have to always, always start with yourself. You cannot bullshit other people and you can’t bullshit yourself. You need to be honest about what you do and how you do it and I think that then it’s kind of like a guaranteed success.”
“The thing is, you have to always, always start with yourself. You cannot bullsh!t other people and you can’t bullsh!t yourself. You need to be honest about what you do and how you do it and I think that then it’s kind of like a guaranteed success.” – Svát’a Schuberg, CEO of GreenClean Ltd.
“It’s always about baby steps… The goal might be the process itself. That’s the important thing, I believe: to actually embark on the journey of a change. And I believe that’s what life is about: to always evolve and change and try to be honest about what you do and why are doing it. And I believe it might actually be the source of happiness for human beings.”
Do you have any favorite tips for green living in Prague?
“From my vegan point of view, it’s super easy to live a vegan life here in Prague because we have the most vegetarian and vegan places in the whole of Europe. If you consider the ratio – the number of places to number of people – we are better than London, Berlin, Paris and Barcelona all together, which is really great. There are many sources that you can get your info from. It’s really possible. Everyone can have a very much eco-friendly work environment, household and lifestyle – it’s very much accessible, reachable, possible, and it doesn’t have to cost you anything extra — actually you can save money. You just have to make the first step. The tip would be to try to stay open minded. Because then you get a whole horizon of opportunities revealed in front of your eyes.”
“Everyone can have a very much eco-friendly work environment, household and lifestyle – it’s very much accessible, reachable, possible, and it doesn’t have to cost you anything extra — actually you can save money. You just have to make the first step.” – Svát’a Schubert, CEO of GreenClean Ltd.
What’s your favorite place in Prague to get into nature?
“Letna, Stromovka, Letenske Sady, Satalicka Obora.”
See our profile of GreenClean here.