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.
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.
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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