Green Cleaning Practices in Schools

green-cleaning-in-schoolsGreen Cleaning in Schools

School facilities, campuses and classrooms all benefit from being clean and well maintained. A properly trained cleaning staff and a high standard of cleanliness keep students and faculty healthy and focused on learning. School and campus cleaning departments have increasingly been relying on green cleaning products to achieve the high standards needed for school facility cleanliness.

Adopting Green Cleaning Products and Practices

Green cleaning products and practices have become more than feel good additions to campus cleaning regimens. Cleaning departments across the country are adopting green cleaning products and practices to achieve higher sustainability goals, and legislation is regularly being passed that mandates more sustainable cleaning methods.

The Impact of Green Cleaning in Schools

Green cleaning aims to provide healthy, safe and clean learning spaces without harming the environment. The foodservice and preparation areas, restrooms, classrooms and locker room facilities in schools are all high-traffic areas that need regular cleaning on a daily basis. Conventional cleaning products and practices introduce harsh chemicals and detergents into the air and water and can provide less than adequate conditions for students and faculty. The impact of adopting green cleaning practices in schools around the country can have a collectively major positive impact on the environment.

Green Cleaning Practices

Green cleaning practices in schools have been implemented by many schools because of performance standards that regulate indoor air quality, environmental hazards, healthy physical environments, and student health. Clean school environments that use green and sustainable cleaning practices can improve student absenteeism, levels of infection, and reduce asthma-related problems.

  • Green cleaning practices start with a good training program. Custodial and janitorial staff should be given instructions, tools and resources that allow them to implement green cleaning practices properly. 
  • Sustainability in cleaning is more than using green cleaning products. Understanding best practices, having access to efficient equipment, and using smart products like concentrated cleaning solutions, will create a broad approach to sustainable cleaning practices that includes less packaging, less transportation, and greener products.

Green Cleaning Products and Purchasing for Schools

Schools that are moving forward with sustainable cleaning practices rely on vendors and distributors for the products and equipment they need. A focus on green cleaning needs to go beyond the campus boundaries and into the business communities that work with campuses, school districts and facilities. Suppliers of green cleaning products and sustainable cleaning equipment are valuable partners for schools who are reaching for greener cleaning standards.

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Exploring Green Cleaning in Healthcare

disinfecting-hospitalsComparing Green Disinfecting Methods in Healthcare Facilities

Sanitation, hygiene and safety are paramount in healthcare settings. The health of patients, staff and visitors depends on a clean, disinfected environment.

As trends in commercial cleaning continue to include more green and environmentally friendly products and practices, it is important to maintain effective methods of disinfecting hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities.

Effective Disinfection

Ideal disinfection of a healthcare environment should meet the following qualifications:

  • A high kill of organisms that pose a threat of infection, most importantly Clostridium difficile (C. diff) spores.
  • Quickly accomplished in a thorough manner.
  • Easy to perform by trained cleaning staff.
  • A cost-effective set of practices and products that meet a high standard of cleanliness.
  • Sustainable cleaning program that is nonconsumptive and has minimal waste.
  • Uses cleaning methods and products that are safe for staff and patients to interact with.
  • Reduces infections and improves patient health.

Green Cleaning Products and Practices

Chemical disinfectants, Ultraviolet systems, and steam vapor cleaners are among the most commonly used disinfection systems used in healthcare environments today.

  • Chemical disinfectants. Chemical disinfectants make use of Volatile Organic Compounds, ethers, ammonias and other chemicals and detergents. Chemical disinfectants are considered hazardous and need to be handled with care and stored safely. These cleaners are relatively affordable, easy to obtain and simple to use. While not considered green cleaning products, themselves, there are green cleaning methods that can make the use of chemical disinfectants more sustainable. Using chemical cleaners that are in concentrated forms allows cleaning staff to dilute them to the desired amount, helping save on packaging, shipping and waste reduction.
  • Ultraviolet room disinfecting systems. UV cleaning systems are an effective, chemical-free way of disinfecting surfaces in healthcare facilities. While there are amounts of mercury in the UV emitters themselves, the cleaning process is essentially the shining of a UV light over surfaces that need to be disinfected. The obvious benefits are many, including no VOCs, chemicals or detergents. UV disinfection cannot, however, be used for daily cleaning of rooms or spaces. It does not remove dirt, dust or grime—it simply kills organisms.
  • Steam vapor sanitation systems. The high heat of steam is used to disinfect hospitals and clinics with steam vapor sanitation machines. Tap water and a cloth attachment help remove dirt and grime while killing bacteria and other organisms with the power of steam. The high temperatures and penetrating nature of steam make this an attractive option for disinfecting textiles, curtains and other permeable surfaces in healthcare environments.

Hopefully this brief guide will help you begin your search for greener, more sustainable cleaning methods in your healthcare facility.

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5 Ways Green Cleaning is Good for Your Clients

5-green-cleaning-benefits

Client Benefits of Green Cleaning

Green practices are gaining popularity and momentum across the country. Green is a buzzword that has large companies finding new ways to improve their corporate social responsibility (CSR) profile, and is a way of life for many businesses who are dedicated to protecting the environment while doing business.

One of the most impactful ways of going green is by implementing green cleaning practices. The chemicals and detergents used by conventional cleaning methods directly impact the environment.

5 Green Cleaning Benefits

Choosing green cleaning options has a broader set of of benefits than just a good report card. It’s good for your clients in 5 important ways:

  1. Green cleaning improves health and safety. Interacting with the abrasive chemicals used in conventional cleaners and cleaning methods impacts the health and safety of cleaning staff and occupants and employees of buildings. Using green cleaning practices reduces or eliminates the use of harmful chemicals that can leave residues and fumes that can harm humans.
  2. Green cleaning supports innovation. The green cleaning industry is at the forefront of green innovation. Organizations like the U.S. Green Building Council and Green Seal have created standards that are driving the improvement and innovation of green cleaning products, equipment and methods. When your client chooses a cleaning service that provides green cleaning, they are supporting innovation and development that helps drive the greater economy.
  3. Client goals are met through green cleaning. Many companies are setting goals and aspiring for industry standards that require green cleaning.
  4. Green business is flourishing. The use of green cleaning services is a way your client can communicate its eye for innovation and environmental stewardship to their customers. More Americans prefer companies to be green than ever, and it is more than a trend. Competitive companies are going green, and that means including green cleaning practices into their operating procedures.
  5. Green cleaning can save your client money. Green cleaning practices are about more than reducing chemicals. Using efficient products and cleaning methods, administering low amounts of concentrated cleaning solutions, using practical and timely cleaning methods, and investing in green cleaning technology and machinery are other ways that cleaning services are finding more sustainable ways to operate. Many of these sustainable methods save money, especially in the long run.

National Purity provides green cleaning products and supports the innovation of green cleaning industry-wide. Discover what they have to offer you and your clients at NationalPurity.com.

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GS-42: The Commercial Cleaning Standard

Commercial Cleaning Service Chattanooga TNGreen Seal Sets Cleaning Standard

The environmental advocate and non-profit organization Green Seal created an environmental standard for commercial cleaning companies called GS-42. The standard was created in 2006 and is officially called Green Seal’s Environmental Leadership Standard for Commercial and Institutional Cleaning Services, and is widely respected as a definitive standard for green operating procedures.

About GS-42

Commercial cleaners across the country have gained GS-42 certification, and more are joining them each year. The green cleaning standard is determined by distilling best practices throughout the industry and ranking cleaning companies based on how well they adopt them.

GS-42 Requirements

What does it take to get GS-42 certified by Green Seal? There is a detailed set of requirements that cover all aspects of the green cleaning industry. The standard heavily rewards highly organized cleaning strategies that value communication and community involvement.

An overview of the general requirements for the standard includes:

  • Cleaning staff and clients need to have clearly written operating procedures availble to them.
  • Unique green cleaning plans need to be created for each building.
  • A clearly defined system that details ways for cleaning staff, managers, building staff and occupants to  communicate with one another. This includes ways for all levels of the cleaning community to submit feedback about the system as a whole.
  • A sophisticated cleaning schedule that addresses the multifaceted needs of each building or facility that is being cleaned.
  • Specific instructions and descriptions for green cleaning procedures in all areas of a building.
  • Directions for green cleaning procedures that employ easily understandable language and graphics. The directions should details the use of tools, products and cleaning machinery.
  • The use of certified green products and cleaning chemicals.

A complete and detailed list of requirements can be viewed at greenseal.org.

Adopting Green Cleaning Strategies

Adopting changes doesn’t happen overnight. Gaining the support of your cleaning staff is essential for green cleaning procedures to be used effectively, and for acquiring GS-42 certification. You can help transition to a greener cleaning regimen by:

  • Holding regular staff meetings and training sessions that emphasize green cleaning procedures.
  • Explaining to your staff why green cleaning tactics are being implemented, and explaining the importance of GS-42 certification.
  • Outlining the benefits of green cleaning, including improved health, increased productivity, lower costs, the potential for valuable opportunities in the growing green cleaning market and the pride of cleaning at a nationally recognized high standard.

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Beyond Environmentally Friendly Cleaning: Creating Green Policy

green-cleaning-policyGreen Cleaning Choices

Commercial cleaning companies have high standards to meet. Large cleaning tasks often have to be completed in a short amount of time, and the level of cleanliness reflects the competency and professionalism of the business.

Incorporating green cleaning into your business is an increasingly popular practice. By using more environmentally friendly cleaning products, companies can reduce waste, contribute fewer harsh chemicals to the air and water, and create safer environments for people who use the cleaned spaces.

Creating Green Policies

Creating a comprehensive green policy is more than using environmentally friendly all-purpose cleaners and hand soaps. Taking green cleaning to the next level means creating a training, maintenance and product purchasing plan that incorporates the tenets of green cleaning into the bigger picture.

A well-developed green cleaning policy will lessen your environmental impact and create a safe working environment for your employees.

Tips for a Greener Approach to Commercial Cleaning

  • Product selection. Environmentally friendly cleaning products are the backbone of green cleaning. Products that are sourced from natural ingredients, and eschew harsh chemicals and detergents contribute to better indoor air quality, and the reduction of pollution in the water and air. Conventional cleaning chemicals can contribute to skin and respiratory irritation, or burning if improperly administered. By developing  purchasing strategies that systematically incorporate green cleaning products, the quality of the spaces and the health of your staff will be directly and positively affected.
  • Training. Going green takes more than just using green products. A solid training program should be developed that instills smart, practical sustainable practices along with the use of green cleaning products. This step is essential to successful green cleaning policy that will have lasting power and be readily adopted by clients and staff. Training your staff to choose the right product for each cleaning job will also reduce wastage, make each cleaning task as effective as it can be, and limit damage to surfaces (a repair cost that your company would likely incur).
  • Sustainable cleaning practices. Creating a green policy can go beyond using green products. Cleaning methods that are more sustainable can also be adopted to form a more comprehensive green cleaning policy. For example, if your company uses conventional cleaning products, consider using ones that come in concentrated liquid form. This reduces the amount of energy it takes to ship them, they require less packaging and you can control the dosage of the chemicals for each cleaning job.

Keep Communicating

Communicate regularly with your staff with regular meetings, a newsletter or a weekly e-mail to keep the green cleaning conversation happening. Regular communication will also increase awareness of green cleaning practices and show your commitment to green cleaning policy.

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Consumers Prefer Environmentally Friendly Companies

Green-companiesCustomers Prefer Green Companies

Creating policies, products and practices that benefit the environment is an important part of corporate social responsibility. What has been long considered a “feel good” way of doing business is now becoming the status quo according to a new survey conducted by Cone Communications and Echo Global. Environmental concerns ranked number two on the list of issues people want corporations to publicly communicate the most, right after plans for economic development in their local communities.

Moreover, consumers are looking to corporations to drive environmental responsibility forward, not just passively participate.

Communicating Change

The survey also found that consumers want corporations to communicate their environmental impact, whether it is positive or negative. A large part of what the public considers corporate social responsibility appears to be transparency and communication.

Corporations and Green Cleaning 

Advocating for environmental changes can take many forms in the corporate sphere. One area that can have a significant impact is the products and methods that are used to clean corporate facilities. Harsh chemicals and detergents often leave residues, end up in the water supply and create harmful environments for cleaning staff and corporate employees. By being proactive about using environmentally friendly products like hand soaps, all-purpose cleaners and degreasers, corporations can improve their corporate social responsibility profile and help make green cleaning the industry standard.

Companies can improve their environmental impact with green cleaning by:

  • Using a green all-purpose cleaner. All-purpose cleaners are the backbone of every cleaning staff. Use on everything from floors and walls to tables and countertops, all-purpose cleaners are pervasive throughout corporate buildings and facilities. Using an environmentally all-purpose cleaner reduces harmful residues and chemicals that end up getting washed down drains, on people and released into the atmosphere.
  • Switching to environmentally friendly foaming hand soap. Foaming hand soap and automatic soap dispensers are becoming more popular not just for their convenience, but also for their positive environmental impact. Foaming hand soap is considered more sustainable because, compared to liquid hand soaps, less of it is wasted. Foaming hand soap rarely drips or leaks onto the floor, and when paired with an automatic dispenser, can be released in controlled, sustainable amounts directly into users’ hands. Using a green formula for foaming hand soap ups the ante. Restrooms are high-traffic, heavily used parts of any company. Changing the products in them for the better can have a significantly positive effect on the environment.

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Deep Clean Your School This Summer

school-deep-cleanSummer Deep Cleaning

The natural cycle of the school season provides a unique opportunity for cleaning during the off-months. Summers create an opening in the normally hectic school year schedule for cleaning staff to deep clean buildings and give attention to areas that need extra cleaning and repairs.

School’s Out

Students traditionally have summers off from school. While they are working summer jobs, are at home relaxing or are going on family vacations, janitorial and cleaning staff are often in the middle of their busy season. While many school facilities host training camps and summer school programs, many do not. Those that do are still operating at a much lower capacity than during the regular school year. With fewer students and faculty using the classrooms, hallways and cafeterias, custodial and cleaning staff have an opportunity to take on thorough cleaning and repair jobs.

While regular cleaning is maintained throughout the school year, some cleaning jobs need more time and space to be done well.

With empty or reduced-use schools to work with, cleaning staff can focus on:

  • Thoroughly scrubbing and cleaning floors.
  • Deep cleaning foodservice floors and equipment.
  • Gymnasium cleaning: bleachers, floors, seats, locker rooms, showers and equipment.
  • Vacuum and thoroughly clean dorm buildings, including common areas, game rooms and individual dorm rooms.
  • Window washing.

Green Cleaning

The health, safety and happiness of students is paramount at any school. Part of the bigger picture is the environment in which they learn in. Using green cleaning products that are healthier for people and the environment is a simple choice that schools can make to improve their learning spaces.

National Purity full line of green cleaning products is designed to be sustainable and eco-friendly. High-traffic and high-use areas in schools can greatly benefit from adopting green cleaning practices and green cleaning products. Conventional chemical cleaners can leave unpleasant residues that actually become harbors for dirt, grime and germs. A school environment is a place where germs can be spread quickly.

Improve Your School’s Health

Green cleaning products help reduce the amount of residue and grime build up on sinks, toilets, fixtures and faucets. This safe, healthy and clean environment maintained with effective green cleaning can also save your school money by improving the health of your faculty and reducing the amount of cleaning that needs to be done. Foaming hand soaps, in particular, are wasted less and create less of a mess on slippery bathroom floors.

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Defining Sustainable Cleaning

Practicing Sustainable Cleaning

green-cleaning-practicesGreen cleaning and green cleaning products have established themselves as more than a trend. Increased awareness and demand for green cleaning services are creating a culture of sustainability in the cleaning industry. By the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) definition, sustainable practices are those that create conditions where humans and nature productively coexist while meeting the economic and social needs of a population.

Reigning in Consumption

An essential part of creating sustainable cleaning products and services is forming a culture of controlled consumption. Limited consumption can affect everything from packaging to the type of all-purpose cleaner you use.

Your cleaning company can look for ways to reduce consumption in these areas:

  • Packaging. Packaging is a major source of waste. From petroleum-derived plastics and polystyrene packing materials to cardboard and other paper products, the packaging your equipment and products comes with has an impact on how sustainable they are. You can lower your packaging consumption by selecting green cleaning products that are minimally packaged, or that are packaged with recycled materials.
  • Chemicals. The United States has legalized the use of more than 80,000 different chemicals, many of which are used in cleaning products and equipment. The cleaning industry has many sustainable options that use fewer chemicals than standard or conventional cleaning products. The use of green cleaning products that use natural cleaning agents insteaad of harsh chemical compounds is considered more sustainable. It reduces the amount of chemical consumption while at the same time creates less chemical pollution that ends up in the air and water. Reducing your reliance on chemical cleaning products will have less of a negative impact on the environment, and may save you money as well. By using simple, natural cleaning compounds, your budget will be less burdened by expensive chemicals.

Health Factors

The health of the planet is a major motivating factor behind the green cleaning establishment. Equally as important is the health of people who interact with cleaning products. Harsh synthetic chemicals used for cleaning can be harmful is breathed or swallowed. They also often leave surfaces with a chemical residue. That residue ends up both on humans and in the environment. Residue from chemical cleaners can also attract more dirt and grime that can harbor germs and other microbes.

National Purity’s Green Cleaning Products

National Purity offers a full line of green cleaning products. Our hand soaps, degreasers and all purpose cleaners are created to be sustainable for cleaning staff and the environment.

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What Makes Green Cleaning Products Green?

If you’re like most Americans, green cleaning products are on your radar. Healthier to use and less impactful on the environment, it’s no wonder that more businesses than ever are turning to green cleaning supplies to keep their offices, foodservice areas and medical facilities safe and sanitary.

As the market expands to meet the increasing demand for green cleaning products, it’s important to educate yourself about what actually makes them green. Standards may differ between suppliers. Your definition may be different than your provider’s.

What makes green cleaning products green?

Green cleaning products come in all stripes. From reduced packaging to less skin irritation, many things can make a cleaning product green. The type of green cleaning product you select should meet your goals. Do you want products that come with less packaging, or do you want materials that don’t use harsh chemicals? Here are some things to consider when searching for a greener cleaning product:

Packaging. 

  • Landfills are spilling over with the plastics we use to package things. Locating suppliers and distributors that use minimal packaging can go a long way towards going green.
  • You can take it a step further and choose products that are packaged with recycled or partially recycled materials.

Pollution.

  • Smog-forming chemicals, also known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), are present in many conventional cleaning products.
  • VOC products can contribute to air pollution and asthma attacks.
  • Low VOC cleaners help reduce smog-forming emissions and respiratory stress.

Skin Irritants.

  • The harsh chemicals in traditional cleaning products can cause irritation to skin and eyes.
  • Green cleaning products that do not use ammonia, sulfuric acid, chlorine bleach, or sodium hydroxide will create a safer and less harsh environment for cleaning staff.

Fragrance and Dye.

  • Chemicals are often added to conventional cleaning products to make them look unique or to mask offensive or harsh chemical odors.
  • Additives that alter the fragrance or appearance of cleaning materials have virtually no value as cleaning elements.
  • Using green cleaning products for foodservice and food preparation areas will eliminate the possibility of cleaning product odors reducing food quality.
  • Reducing the amount of unnecessary chemical compounds is a basic green principle.

If you have more questions or want to learn more about specific green cleaning products, contact National Purity. Our staff is knowledgeable about green cleaning products and methods and is happy to guide you to the green cleaning solution you are looking for.

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Tips for Improving Indoor Air Quality

pollutionMost of us tend to think of pollution as something that only occurs outside — smog, billowing smoke stacks and haze hanging in the air are all perfect examples. But the truth is, indoor air is often more harmful and polluted than anything we come into contact with outdoors.

The average person spends nearly 90 percent of their day indoors. With so much time spent at home, in the office or at school, it shouldn’t be a surprise that indoor air quality (IAQ) can have a significant impact on your health in more ways than one. In fact, poor IAQ is associated with a variety of health concerns, including asthma, nausea and fatigue.

So can you improve indoor air quality?

  • Reduce Chemical Pollutants: High-efficiency filters, green commercial cleaning products and germicidal lights can all play a part in reducing indoor contamination. These products help control particles, chemical vapors and bioeareosls.
  • Balance Indoor Humidity: High levels of humidity have been linked to asthma and increase the risk of mildew, bacteria and dust mites. To control humidity levels, you should invest in a high-efficiency filter, as well as a dehumidification system based on humidity levels rather than temperature.
  • Eliminate Dander: Reduce allergies and asthma by making sure your facility is clean and free of common triggers such as roaches, dust mites and mold. Common methods to attack the dander problem include high-efficiency air filters and germicidal lights.
  • Counter Carbon-Dioxide: Poor air circulation can drastically reduce concentration levels and increase fatigue. Control ventilation systems exchange and dilute contaminated air by introducing fresh air, based on current building carbon dioxide levels.
  • Eliminate Dander: Reduce allergies and asthma by making sure your facility is clean and free of common triggers such as roaches, dust mites and mold. Common methods to attack the dander problem include high-efficiency air filters and germicidal lights.

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