Lemonade Out of Lemons: Out-of-Work Day Laborers Open Eco-Friendly Cleaning Service in NYC

lemons photo

Image: Bobbi Bowers via flickr

The New York Times had a nice story last week about women who would wait at a Williamsburg intersection to find work on a day-by-day basis. But there was no work on far too many days for comfort—getting a job for two or three hours at a time was a good thing. So a group of them got together and started their own cleaning service. But not just any service—the Apple Eco-Friendly Cleaning cooperative, which advertises on recycled paper and uses homemade cleaning products based on ingredients like lemon juice, glycerin, borax and fruit oils.The women have said that in their previous jobs, they would suffer from the harsh chemicals they would use—a connection that more and more people have made as they realize the kinds of chemicals contained in most cleaning products on supermarket shelves. Workplaces have even seen employees call in fewer sick days after making a switch to greener cleaners.

Better Treatment, Physically and Emotionally
Now, they feel better not only because they are using nontoxic cleaners they formulate themselves, but they are treated better and with more respect, as well. "When we say we're from a company with a business card, they treat you differently from the time you arrive," one of the cooperative's founders told The Times.

Started by two sisters and comprised of workers they met at that Williamsburg intersection, the cooperative is focused on reducing workplace toxics and abides by core pillars that include:

Promote the use of non-toxic, biodegradable and organic derived cleaning agent to help protect the health of our clients, our own and our environment

Guarantee a High-Quality Green Cleaning that combines best sustainable methods with accredited professional experience

Create Green, Healthy and Sustainable Cleaning Jobs with dignified working conditions and a living wage

So far, the cooperative has been off to a successful, but very slow, start. So if you know anyone in New York City who needs a cleaning service...

More on green cleaning:
How to Go Green: Cleaning
10 Cancer-Causers to Remove from Your Home

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