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Sustainability As A Mainstay

September 19, 2010
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The green cleaning and sustainability movements have made leaps and bounds in the past decade. Once a two-lane road divided by a median of terminology discrepancy, green cleaning and sustainability have merged and become interchangeable in their meaning for the JanSan industry.

The path environmentally preferable cleaning and maintenance strategies have taken seems logical through hindsight, and if the past is any indicator of the future, green cleaning will prove sustainable — it is here for the long haul.

Green Is Sustainable

As Paul Coty, who is director of sales and marketing for Soy Technologies LLC, asserts, the future of green is sustainability.

"The use of renewable resources will drive the future innovations in this field," states Coty. "Our mastery in imitating natural process will be replaced by our understanding and utilization of the power that already exists in nature. Our desire to create new molecules will be replaced by the realization that the power of the natural far exceeds our ability to imitate or enhance it."

The current trend of manufacturers creating new products with plant-based formulations is likely to continue.

And, as more realize the benefits of using less taxing means to achieve health and cleanliness goals, the demands for all-natural, safe, sustainable products will grow exponentially.

"While I do feel and sense that there has been an initial hysteria, I don''t think that the green movement or the awareness of the impact we are having on the Earth will wane anytime soon," notes Doug Phillips, director of information technology (IT) and web media for Vital Technologies Inc. "Children are now taught at an early age about environmental concerns and [they are] much more aware than even many adults today."

Sustainability is about more than just innovative chemical formulations, it is also contingent on equipment that complements the characteristics of sustainable chemicals.

"Many current vacuum products fit into the green movement by providing lower sound levels and improving indoor air quality through better filtration and better dust containment," says Bob Abrams, product manager of vacuum products for Nilfisk-Advance Inc.

Some equipment, such as autoscrubbers and sprayers that utilize electrolyzed water and require no cleaning chemicals at all, can be considered trailblazing pioneers.

"One genuine breakthrough is [electrolyzed water], a versatile cleaner that transforms tap water into a powerful cleaner for ideal use on glass, stainless steel, wood, stone and marble as well as carpet and clothing," asserts Chris Deets, marketing director for Activeion Cleaning Solutions. "In fact, [this technology] can replace up to 47 general-purpose chemical cleaners."

Mandates And Regulations

Additionally, sustainability''s future success will be heavily assisted by an increase in government regulations and legislation mandating its implementation and practice.

"Especially now that we have a green-oriented President Obama, I am of the opinion that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other governmental organizations will place greater emphasis, and perhaps even mandate that all cleaning chemicals and practices have the least amount of environmental impact as possible," notes Phillips. "Cleaning practices will become much more conscious of the environmental impact and possibly mandated by local governments to ensure that cleaning professionals are held to the highest environmental standards."

Several municipalities have begun exploring the possibility of adopting more sustainable practices — including green cleaning — without being mandated to do so.

One example is the proposed legislation in East Lansing, Michigan, to create a green building policy that requires new businesses that receive funding from economic development programs to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification standards.

Coty adds, "While green certifications will continue to have great importance to the green cleaning movement, the use of government mandates will be limited to regulation of government cleaning requirements. This will include areas such as schools and other public institutions."

This trend is already visible through recent legislation mandating green cleaning in schools in the states of New York, Illinois, Missouri, Maine and Maryland.

Moreover, Coty reports that green cleaning will not only remain profitable, but the demand will also continue to drive the discovery of new and more efficient chemistries and techniques that will ensure healthy growth.

The more we understand about our impact on the environment, the more inclined we are to lessen our ecological footprint — that is the essence of sustainability.

"Not only is green cleaning relevant for human society but for virtually all forms of life throughout the global ecosystem," proclaims Phillips. "The importance of green cleaning by specifically limiting the use of toxic chemicals is critical to the health

of our waterways, soil and all the organisms that come into contact with chemical run-off."

According to Stephen Ashkin, president of The Ashkin Group LLC, sustainability is an idea whose time has come. The world is not going back to its old ways. We are on a green path that cannot be reversed.

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