How Our Decisions Drive Our Footprints

Footprints in the sand on a beach

This issue of CMM is going to press on the heels of the inaugural Clean Buildings Expo (CBE) —a joint venture between ISSA and Trade Press Media Group designed specifically for facility service providers.

During this two-day conference and trade show in Baltimore, MD, I was fortunate enough to listen to a half-dozen education sessions led by top industry professionals. While there were a variety of focus areas and topics to choose from, one common message rang loud and clear across most of the conference presentations: It’s imperative for the cleaning industry to get a handle on its footprint.

Impact Considerations

While innovation in building infrastructure and product developments are at the forefront of helping organizations curb access spend, manpower, and cleaning chemical usage, there are still concerns that should be top of mind when selecting state-of-the-art tools for building operations. “We have to think about what the environmental fate of things [is] going to be,” said Heidi Wilcox, a microbiologist and industry consultant, during her CBE presentation. “Show me the data on what happens to it in five to 10 years,”she said, encouraging session attendees to stop and consider the long-term impact of their purchases, even if they do help to save on time and money in the immediate future.

With the comments of Wilcox and other CBE presenters still fresh in my mind, now would have been a great time to roll out our waste management issue of CMM, which is slated for next month. Even so, there are so many pieces of this month’s edition that still relate to Wilcox’s point. In fact, every decision that facility service providers make have a long-term impact on our industry’s footprint. Consider the following:

  • Which active ingredients does your facility purchase for cleaning and disinfection, and how do you dispose of them?

Taming the Force

The cleaning industry is a force, but our impact is based on a variety of practices that we can control: manufacturing, purchasing, and quality assurance, just to name a few. With this in mind, it’s critical that we make decisions that are smart for operations, building patrons, staff, and overall, our global footprint.


Kelly Zimmerman

Kelly Zimmerman

Managing Editor, CMM

Kelly Zimmerman is the managing editor of Cleaning & Maintenance Management. She has experience managing industry-specific content for print and digital formats. She holds a master of science in journalism from Northwestern University. Kelly can be reached at

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