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Take it step-by-step to a green facility

September 19, 2010
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"Getting green" has dominated the JanSan/maintenance industry in the past year. And, rightly so; it is clear the measures that we adopt today as an industry in the area of environmental responsibility will have a lasting effect on our planet, our children and future generations.

In all practicality, what can be done at the facility management level today to provide a high level of cleaning efficacy (to control costs) while implementing a green cleaning program? The answer is most likely “more than you think”.

Taking steps, making strides
Your operation can take several steps right now to insure that your facility is proactive in the development of a cleaning program that is environmentally responsible:

  1. Evaluate your facility with respect to the proper use dilution of all JanSan maintenance chemicals.
  2. Make sure that, wherever possible, the use of accurate dispensing equipment is enabled to eliminate possible overuse/misuse of chemical cleaners.
  3. Note that supervisory personnel should be instructed to monitor chemical dispensing, assuring that the equipment is used correctly and is properly maintained.
  4. Adjust the way cleaning chemicals are purchased to utilize concentrated/super concentrated technology.
  5. Use these products properly, and your facility will promote source reduction and gain a major cost advantage over the use of ready-to-use products.

Because of the highly concentrated nature of these products, the end result is a higher level of cleaning performance vs. “mis-measured”, traditional-strength janitorial products. (See “Chart your progress”, sidebar.)

Meeting a standard of green
As a facility manager, ask your janitorial products distributor or vendor for any verification available as to the effectiveness of the products being considered green.

Currently in our industry, Green Seal, Inc. is a third-party entity that has established a broad range of criteria for judging products (including cleaning performance) used in facilities. The Green Seal GS-37 Standard for Industrial and Institutional Cleaning Products has been accepted in many government facilities as a baseline for establishment of a green cleaning program; products that meet or exceed this standard can show the “Green Seal Certified” logo on its labels and literature.

Consider these tips for your operation:

  • Consult with your janitorial products distributor or vendor to determine the best type of product for your particular application. Your facility will reduce overall cleaning cost and improve cleaning efficiency when the strength and type of product is matched with the individual application.
  • Choose a vendor that can provide proper use training of the chemical program to your employees, therefore maximizing its effectiveness.
  • Where possible, discuss the potential for “streamlining” the product mix used in a building: Often in buildings, there is a “ready-to-use” product, an aerosol product, and a concentrate on the shelf that the service person has at his/her disposal to use for a regular cleaning task.

By eliminating one or two product types — and focusing on the use of a proper dilution of the concentrated product through a proportioning system as mentioned above — you will reduce the potential for misuse and reduce cleaning costs.

Jerry Churchill, Ph.D. is technical director, and William J. Smith is vice president, Marketing, for National Chemical Laboratories, Inc., Philadelphia.
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