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What comes first? Green or Results?

How do government agencies advocate the transition into green chemicals? I asked the former NY State Director of Environmental Services, Kurt Larson, to contribute his thoughts.

The following is Kurt’s message:

The dictionary states that green maybe something designed to limit environmental damage. What is meant by green cleaning?

NY States website explains green cleaning as,“Enabling schools and state agencies to select green cleaning products that work effectively, protect the health of children and employees, and minimize the adverse environmental impact”.

A complaint heard most often from custodians is that green products do not perform effectively. And, some products that may work well, are not environmentally or people-friendly. How does a custodian deal with such challenges?

NY State guidelines say, “the goal of using green products is to reduce the exposure of potentially harmful substances”. i.e. Maximize soil removal and/or minimize the use of floor finish.

How should custodial products be evaluated?

  1. Although a product must be environmentally friendly, it does not have to be approved by a certification organization. A manufacturer may show that their green products have been tested by an authorized laboratory ensuring that green standards are being met or exceeded.
  2. Productsmustperform effectively. For example, detergents must remove all of the soil without damaging the surface or leaving residue.
  3. Products must be cost-effective. You will need to calculate the actual cost at the point of use. A detergents cost per diluted gallon or the average yearly cost of floor finish over an 8 to 10 year period are TRUE costs. The cost per packaged gallon or liter is immaterial.
  4. Make it a rule to compare products and costs. Test the products in a variety of settings and conditions within a facility. Require vendors to present actual cost and performance information secured from, and confirmed by, other users.

Green, high-performance chemicals are available. Raise the bar, demand excellence, and do not accept excuses for product failure.

My thanks to Kurt for his comments.

As always, thank you for allowing me this visit.