Top 10 green cleaning events of 2013 that will impact green cleaning in 2014
BLOOMINGTON, IN — Stephen Ashkin, president of The Ashkin Group and long known as the "father of green cleaning," has just released his Top 10 list of events from 2013 that are likely to accelerate the Green Cleaning Movement in 2014:
10. Improving Economic Outlook: While 2013 was another tough year for the professional cleaning industry, several independent forecasts suggest that 2014 will see moderate growth, which is good news for the industry and especially the green cleaning movement, as most of the growth will be in green products and services.
9. Sustainability: More cleaning manufacturers, distributors, and service providers began using the term "sustainability" in their product or service branding, foreshadowing the industry's growing contribution to a more sustainable future.
8. Safety Data Sheet (SDS): The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) was approved for use in the U.S. and will standardize how we communicate the potential hazards of cleaning chemicals. Replacing the old MSDS, the new SDS will also make it easier to compare products across companies and around the world.*
7. Impacts of Globalization: As the global economy has improved, especially in developing countries like Brazil, China and India, the demand for cleaning products has accelerated. This is especially the case with green sanitary paper products where the supply of recycled fiber is challenged to keep up with demand.
6. Advances in Ecolabels, Transparency and Transpare: All of the major ecolabeling organizations made advances in their cleaning standards in 2013, including requirements to disclose the ingredients in their products. The professional cleaning industry also demonstrated its leadership with the launch of Transpare from ISSA, a system designed to help purchasers make wiser product selections and give manufacturers a chance to innovate and communicate product improvements.**
5. Death of Triclosan: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has concluded that there is no evidence that triclosan, found in many antibacterial hand soaps, is any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water. "Millions of Americans use antibacterial hand soap and body wash products. Although consumers generally view these products as effective tools to help prevent the spread of germs, there is currently no evidence that they are any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water. Further, some data suggest that long-term exposure to certain active ingredients used in antibacterial products-for example, triclosan (liquid soaps) and triclocarban (bar soaps)-could pose health risks, such as bacterial resistance or hormonal effects." ***
4. Devices that Turn Water into Cleaning Solutions: More than a dozen manufacturers now offer devices that create solutions that clean surfaces using ionized, electrolyzed, ozonated, or steamed water, eliminating the need for plastic bottles, cardboard cartons, transportation, storage, etc., and ultimately benefiting the bottom line.
3. Measuring Clean: Kudos to Jim Harris, Richard Shaughnessy, Stephen Spivak and Charlie Smith (leaders of the Cleaning Industry Research Initiative), along with ISSA and dozens of volunteers, who completed a procedure to objectively measure the cleanliness of surfaces. Designed initially for schools, the "Clean Standard" will help focus resources on those surfaces that really need cleaning, which should result in better health, performance, and learning outcomes.****
2. Greening of Sports: The Green Sports Alliance is ready to reach a new demographic-the people inside buildings. Imagine the impact of one's favorite league, team, ballplayer, racecar driver or athlete saying that they care about their fans, the air they breathe, the water they drink, the food they eat, as well as stewardship, conservation, and eliminating waste.
1. Release of LEED-EBOM Version 4: After more than three years of work, five rounds of public comments and more than 10,000 comments, members of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) voted to approve the newest version of LEED. Version 4 provides more options for cleaning product and service certifications, rewards innovation and lifecycle thinking, requires strategies to reduce energy and water consumption, and increases the overall purchases of cleaning products, among other improvements.
* For more information see https://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/ghs.html.
** Learn more at http://www.transpare.com.
*** For more information see http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm378542.htm.
**** For more information see http://www.issa.com/?id=clean_standard.
About Stephen Ashkin and The Ashkin Group
Stephen P. Ashkin is president of The Ashkin Group, a consulting firm specializing in Greening the cleaning industry, and CEO of Sustainability Dashboard Tools, which offers a cloud-based dashboard that allows organizations to measure, report and improve their sustainability efforts. He is also coauthor of both The Business of Green Cleaning and Green Cleaning for Dummies.