Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

What's green?

September 19, 2010
Green cleaning, what is it?

If you don’t know the answer to this question, fear not because you are in good company.

Industry leaders struggled to come up with a clear definition for green cleaning.

One reason green cleaning cannot be clearly defined is because the definition for the word “clean” has eluded many cleaning professionals.

To complicate the issue, experts say if a facility is not effectively cleaned, then it cannot be considered green.

In the past few years, major strides have been made to help define clean, beyond visual inspection.

Through studies, such as the one discussed on page 62, systems and products are measured to show real cleaning results — all in efforts to define clean.

Modern scientific measurement tools are assisting in this process and standards are in the process of being developed to assist building service contractors and in-house cleaning professionals provide proof of performance.

Green market madness
However, maybe the lack of a clear-cut definition for green cleaning is due to the hype and myths, which previously hampered the market, surrounding green cleaning.

Even with product and service certification, users and customers hesitate to forego traditional products and go green.

The old belief, “If it is not broke, why fix it?” is something I often hear when visiting with readers and inquiring about a change to green.

The problem is, the operation is broke if your employees are not safe.

Productivity matters
Today, green cleaning goes beyond purchasing certified or safer products.

Since effective cleaning equals green cleaning, just about anything can be considered green today.

Veteran employees performing above average tasks can be considered green.

Training and education is green, therefore reading this sentence is green.

Products and cleaning strategies are only green when matched with your facility’s specific needs.

Effective matting systems are green.

Replacing older windows, HVAC system, doors, etc., is also green.

All of the above can reduce the amount of dirt and contaminants in buildings, thus reducing the need for extensive cleaning, which is also considered green.

Resources to use
In our special CM/Spotlight on green cleaning, you will find plenty of information to help you provide a definition for green at your facility.

It is important when pursuing green to stay within your means, be realistic, and invest in effective cleaning strategies, such as purchasing newer equipment that uses fewer resources.

Also, partner with a knowledgeable JanSan supplier to help you along your journey toward green cleaning.


Send comments or thoughts on this topic or any other article that appears in CM/Cleaning & Maintenance Management® magazine, to rdipaolo@ntpmedia.com.