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Getting Your School’s Green Cleaning Program Started Right

Green Cleaning in Schools

How Green Cleaning Makes Academia Better

In a world where going green is increasingly important, it's vital not to overlook the small details. Cleaning services that provide environmentally-friendly options are on the rise, and in facilities like schools, they're creating huge positive changes. Here are some of the reasons why as well as a few tips on how to adopt a green cleaning program that enriches your academic environment.

What Is Green Cleaning?

Cleaning products serve a number of roles. Most people know they get rid of visible dirt and debris, but they also help disinfect areas that might otherwise play host to bacteria and other biological contaminants. In crowded places like schools, good cleaning can reduce the incidence of disease transmission and improve general occupant health.

Unfortunately, most conventional cleaning products perform these functions through the application of harsh chemicals and toxins. Green cleaning products on the other hand, perform the same jobs without employing such agents. These products are typically identifiable by the fact that they satisfy Green Seal or EcoLogo standards.

Why Do Schools Deserve Green Cleaning?

Children, educators and support staff, such as custodians, shouldn't have to be exposed to potentially hazardous substances in the course of learning or doing their jobs. Many of the chemicals employed in conventional cleaners remain present in the form of residues left behind following cleaning work. A number have also been implicated in contributing to negative health outcomes, such as:

  • Asthma and other respiratory ailments,
  • Cancer,
  • Neurological damage, and
  • Reproductive harm.

A Healthier Option

Some might argue that the levels of chemicals left behind in residues is too low to make a difference. The evidence, however, suggests otherwise.

There are disparately high rates of work-related asthma among school custodians. Many of the chemicals included in conventional cleaning products are associated with occupational exposure limits, meaning they have established potential for lasting harm. With government bodies like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Education recommending greener alternatives, the impetus to switch is clear.

Improved Environmental Stewardship

Green cleaning products also set a better example for up-and-coming generations. The hazards present in conventional cleaners don't only harm humans; they're also known for their negative impacts on plant, animal and insect life. By implementing greener cleaning programs, schools and other academic institutions protect entire communities and establish practices that support responsible conservation.

Economic Benefits

The widespread availability of conventional cleaners makes them seem like a good choice for budget and logistics reasons. A closer look reveals that this might be a misconception.

Green cleaning options are becoming increasingly widespread, and as of 2015, the District of Columbia and 10 states had mandated their use in schools. Furthermore, the possibility of reduced community economic burdens related to healthcare in and around schools could ultimately negate any increases in supply costs. Janitors don't get sick from chemical exposure as frequently are less likely to require time off, file insurance claims or sue their employers. Student absenteeism and the associated costs are also reduced.

Simple Steps for Getting Started on a Budget

So how do school administrators reconcile their desire to implement safer standards of cleanliness with their need to limit expenditures? The challenge may not be as great as it seems.

Seek Competitively-Priced Green Cleaning Options

Numerous examples have demonstrated that by eliminating environmentally harmful, high-cost products like aerosols, schools may actually save money. Other examinations reveal that the higher product concentrations found in green cleaners commonly result in cost savings and improved portion control.

Purchase Fewer Cleaners

Another good way to maximize cleaning savings is to limit the total number of products in active use. Assessments of universities and military academies that switched to green cleaning products showed that some saved money merely by cutting back on the range of products they procured in favor of more-effective general-purpose chemicals.

Negotiate Contracts

As the green cleaning industry grows, providers are more likely to seek agreements and deals that sustain their continued business. It might be possible to realize significant savings on supplies, accessories and training by working with green cleaning companies to obtain alternatives that aren't quite as hazardous. Providers that only offer conventional options may lack the incentive to make deals that benefit their academic partners in the long run.

Work With Companies That Are Already Green

Cleaning and custodial companies that are experienced with green cleaning technologies are more likely to identify potential savings. They may also be more effective at helping current cleaning programs evolve and improve.

What to Look for in a Commercial Cleaning Service

As more green cleaning companies spring into existence, choosing an appropriate provider may seem increasingly difficult. Schools should adhere to the following basic guidelines:

  1. Find a company that actually specializes in green cleaning. Firms that are familiar with the unique challenges of implementing environmentally-friendly cleaning regimens stand a greater chance of overcoming them. They may also be able to minimize expenditures by limiting mistakes.
  2. Evaluate providers that have successfully managed green cleaning programs in schools. Proven expertise is a must. Although green products are known for hazard reduction, they still require proper training and usage. Providers must be able to get custodians, administrators and other stakeholders up to speed for green programs to function properly. Depending on where each school is located, they may also need to tailor their efforts to meet specific laws.

In the states where they've been implemented, green cleaning programs have realized significant successes in budget savings, health outcomes and environmental stewardship. To learn more about making a positive change in your school, contact one of our experts today.

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