One of the questions I most frequently receive lately is about the impact U.S. President Donald Trump will have on green cleaning. While I am always open to answering questions, I tend to avoid political issues as my focus has always been to advocate for green cleaning as a necessary movement to protect our health and the environment.
To me, green cleaning is not a political issue; it’s a health issue. No matter which party or individuals have political power at any given time, this will always be true.
However, with the president’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and the substantial reduction in funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), I decided the time had come to break my silence. Here are some of the questions I frequently receive regarding this issue, and my answers:
Will the U.S. federal government continue to purchase environmentally preferable cleaning products?
For now, the answer is yes. Many of the purchasing contracts the U.S. government has signed with cleaning product suppliers still have one or more years remaining before they expire. Those contracts will be honored.
Will state and local communities as well as school districts continue to purchase green cleaning products?
In most cases, state and local government bodies, as well as school districts, are placing increasingly more emphasis on selecting environmentally preferable products. As of July 2015, 10 states and the District of Columbia, have enacted laws requiring green cleaning products and methods to be used in schools. Ten years ago, only one state, New York, had passed such legislation. We can expect these numbers to grow, specifically in schools, where parents, teachers, and administrators are continually trending towards the belief that green cleaning is necessary.
What impact will this current administration’s actions have on green cleaning in general?
None. If this were happening a decade or more ago, the green cleaning movement would be vulnerable and its future uncertain. But at this stage, with all the time and resources the professional cleaning industry has put into the development of environmentally preferable cleaning products, paired with customer demand for these products, I do not see any regression occurring. Furthermore, much of my work involves working with building managers and cleaning products manufacturers, and I simply have not seen any movement away from green cleaning products and methods.
What is your advice to those in the cleaning industry about the future of green cleaning?
Keep going. Let’s say a manufacturer or distributor decides to no longer make or market environmentally preferable cleaning products; this will just open-up new opportunities for those that are still focused on green cleaning.
To reinforce this idea, if we look at some of the leading companies in our country—Google, Apple, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Adobe, and Microsoft—we see these companies increasingly supporting the use of environmentally preferable cleaning products. In addition, they are also becoming much more focused on developing sustainability strategies. Very often, they are turning to their janitorial contractors and distributors to help them with these initiatives.
It is undeniable that we are going through a trying period regarding environmental issues. However, I view all challenges, including this one, as an opportunity, and I suggest that our industry do the same.