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Major change is coming to your cleaning operation

September 19, 2010
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It’s been just seven short months since I took over the helm as senior editor of CM/Cleaning & Maintenance Management® magazine and already the professional cleaning industry is faced with the prospect of major change.

In fact, you could make a case that the coming change is revolutionary.

At BSCAI’s 2006 annual Convention & Trade Show that was held March 24-28 in Nashville, TN, Arthur B. Weissman, president and CEO of Green Seal, presented information that will directly affect building service contractors (BSCs) as well as in-house facility managers and directors and the cleaning operations they oversee.

Weissman updated approximately 70 BSCs and interested industry representatives on Green Seal’s development of a standard for cleaning services; to say his presentation created a buzz in the room would be an understatement.

Weissman recently took time (See “Green Seal certification of services” page 30.) to speak with CM/Cleaning & Maintenance Management® magazine and provide an update on the latest developments.

The standard, which is currently being fine-tuned after an April public review and comment period, will be officially published in June.

According to Weissman, the Green Seal certification of cleaning services will “continue an industry revolution in cleaning, promoting high-performance Green Cleaning without health and environmental danger.”

What will a Green Seal certification of cleaning services mean for you, BSCs and in-house facility directors or managers?

If you opt in, the standard requires you to come up with an overall plan, with written procedures, to implement a Green Cleaning program, which means you’ll have to understand what Green Cleaning is.

You’ll have to take a long, hard look at the products, chemicals and equipment you’ve been using and you’ll be asked to use independent, third-party-approved alternatives that are environmentally friendly.

But it won’t just be a matter of changing chemicals or throwing out those ancient, dust-spewing vacuum cleaners you’re still using. You’ll have to change the way you approach and accomplish cleaning.

Waste, exposure, vulnerable populations, recycling, labeling, communication and, yes, more training, all will be flash words of the Green Cleaning future.

As will cost.

Weissman pointed out that, if orchestrated correctly, providing Green Seal-certified cleaning services can actually save money for an in-house cleaning operation or even help BSCs make more money if they market the program as a premium service.

But will that, in reality, be the case?

Some other questions to consider:

  • Will your building occupants buy in and request Green Cleaning?
  • Can BSCs handle the extra demand and cost of training — initial, plus annual updates — when they have all they can do to keep their workforces fully staffed now?
  • Will independent, third-party-approved chemicals, products and equipment really work this time around?

No one is sure of the answers to those questions. We’ll just have to wait and see.

But one thing that is certain, change is coming in a big way.

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