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How to Bid a Facility Using Only Sustainable Product and Procedures

Forward thinking companies and contractors are adopting sustainable cleaning process and products as the only way of doing business and have found this to be a good operational and marketing strategy. Other companies have taken a wait and see approach and have not been willing to make a commitment to change, especially if it means an increase in costs. There is a large segment of the market, primarily the low-price contractors and customers, who don’t know or don’t care about sustainable cleaning and have no interest in changing the way they do business. Early adopters of sustainable cleaning include health care, education and local and federal government agencies. There are also geographic areas, primarily the West and East Coast states that have more interest in sustainability, with Central and Midwestern states having little or no interest in sustainable products or cleaning.

In the early years, sustainable cleaning and products were provided at premium prices, and in many cases, there are still slightly higher costs involved in the purchase and use of sustainable equipment, products and supplies. The difference in costs has continued to shrink and there is often hidden saving to be found during the implantation process. (more…)

The Cost of Sustainable Green Cleaning

Does cleaning in a green sustainable manner cost more or less than cleaning in what might be referred to as the standard way? Good question.

What I’m Seeing
A transition is taking place from the standard way of cleaning to what is commonly referred to as green or sustainable cleaning. This normally refers to at least the use of green chemicals and possibly green equipment and processes. The more advanced thinking companies (and better customers), along with health care, education and government are demanding or expect that their cleaning contractor will at least use green chemicals. Many companies now want to see a more comprehensive package of services that includes green equipment, processes along with support for their recycling program.


Green Sustainable Cleaning in Health Care and Educational Facilities

Green cleaning has evolved over the years to be much more than just using environmentally friendly chemicals during the cleaning process. In the past, if you purchased green chemicals, you had pretty much done everything you could to “green” a cleaning program. Today, the expectation in many companies and industries is that you will do green cleaning and if not, why not? By today’s standards, if all you are doing is purchasing green chemicals, you don’t have much of a green cleaning program.

Green cleaning or what is more accurately described as sustainable cleaning has evolved to a new level that encompasses all aspects of the cleaning process. It starts with chemicals, but goes far beyond that to include such things as prevention, schedules, frequencies, procedures and equipment, along with product and process effectiveness, ease of use, life cycle cost analysis, building design, carbon footprint, training, testing and return on investment. (more…)

Cleaning in the USA

ISSA/INTERCLEAN 2008 – One Great Show
The exhibitors I spoke to rated the traffic on the show floor as steady and qualified. There were a wide variety of seminars, presentations and events for everyone to attend. This year’s show in Orlando, Fl October 23-26 will be tough to beat in 2008.

The overwhelming theme this year was green, whether it was chemicals, equipment or processes. Green is hot right now and everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. I think you’ll see this trend continue, but mature and evolve over the next five years into more of a theme of sustainability rather than green chemicals and products.

Junk Science and Green Cleaning

Mike Berry Takes a Swing at Junk Science and Green Cleaning
Michael A. Berry Ph.D, Retired EPA Research Scientist and Author of Protecting the Built Environment: Cleaning for Health was recently interviewed as part of the Bridgepoint Interlink Teleconference Series 2007. I listened in and here are the highlights of what Dr.Berry had to say.

“My pet project today is confronting junk science regarding environmental issues. There is too much Eco babble and hype floating around in the cleaning industry that has no scientific basis. This type of misrepresentation of the facts is giving the cleaning industry a bad name.

“There is no data that proves that green cleaning works any better than other ways to clean. Green cleaning needs to be tested and verified before it is promoted as science. At this time more research is needed.

“It is irresponsible for companies and individuals to promote green cleaning, green chemicals and green processes as being effective or better than existing products or processes without scientific research, testing and validation.

“There is too much hype about switching to green cleaning. Chemicals aid in the cleaning process by helping to separate the soil from surfaces and materials so it can more easily be removed and disposed. Chemicals do not clean by themselves.

“Mismanagement of any chemical is bad. Misuse and improper use of cleaning chemicals is a big issue.

“For scientific research to be valid, it needs to be certified with scientific methods, followed by peer review. When it comes to green cleaning, what we are seeing passed off as science is actually consensus. A group of people get together and agree on their personal opinions about the subject. This is not science – it could just as well be babble.

”What we are seeing is certification in the absence of science. Full disclosure is needed. Cold water cleaning is insane and moronic. Science gives you the knowledge to do the work.

“Although I am troubled by all the misinformation and hype about benefits of green cleaning without scientific support, I am encouraged to see professionalism grow and take hold in the cleaning industry.

Cleaning is of value in society for these reasons:

  1. It allows for increased productivity
  2. It reduces risk and costs
  3. It protects surfaces, areas and people
  4. It projects a positive image
  5. It improves health
  6. It promotes ownership and human dignity

“The definition of clean is the same today as it has been in the past; condition and surfaces that are free of unwanted matter that gets in the way of human activity.”

If you\’d like a copy of Mike Berry’s interview contact:

IAQ Radio
Now here’s something you want to check out. This is where technology and the cleaning industry come together. Personally I’m excited about the concept and think this is the start of something big. Give it a listen and I think you’ll see what I mean.
Go to: scroll down on the right side and click on IAQ Radio with Cliff Zlotnik.
I see a lot of potential in the concept. It’s a live call in show and pod cast and more all built into one.

BSCAI 2007 Convention and Trade Show
The last time I wrote about the Building Service Contractor Association, myself and the publisher got threatening letters from the association’s lawyers threatening legal action if we didn’t retract what I said. Well it turns out what I said was right on the money.

So now I’m ready to try it again. It’s my opinion and prediction that this years BSCAI Convention and Trade Show in Chicago will be the worst attended BSCAI Show in the history of the association and it will be the last BSCAI show as we know it. If you’d like more info visit:

Green Seal Goes after the Green
Green Seal recently released its GS-42 Standard for Green Cleaning Services. Great document, it tells you what you need to do to have Green Seal certify your firm as an official Green Seal Certified Green Cleaning Contractor. What they don’t tell you, except in the fine print is that the fee to get certified is between $6500.00 and $10.000.
If you want to get in line to pass your green to this greedy group, visit:

Cleaning Industry Trade Shows

ISSA/INTERCLEAN Amsterdam Show (May 9 to 12, 2006)
It was a great show with over 570 booths and 25,000 attendees from over 120 countries. You really couldn’t ask for much more in a tradeshow. Everyone I spoke to was happy and enjoyed themselves. Many new products, innovations and advancements were on display. Some of the items that caught my eye include: Carbon fiber extension poles for window cleaning, diamond impregnated floor pads for stone polishing, new stand up riding equipment, a growing selection of micro-fiber products and flat mops, I only saw one booth in the entire show that displayed a string mop. Biodegradable products including dust mops, trash bags, and wipers were on display. Anti-microbial treatments were included in dust mops, cleaning cloths, micro-fibers and electric hand dryers. Nano-technology is making its way into the cleaning industry in finish, detergents and coatings. (more…)

Cleaning in the USA

Honoring Dick
A friend of mine died recently. I don’t usually do funerals, weddings or memorials but I made an exception for Dick. He was one of the good guys and there aren’t enough of them around anymore. Over Dick’s 30 + years in the cleaning industry he worked his way up from a part time janitor to Branch Manager for American Building Maintenance Co. in Seattle WA. This was quite an accomplishment, considering that ABM is one of those places with the 300% turnover.

Safety and Environment

Using Effective Environmentally Safe Chemicals

Due to technological advances, there are now many products available which are safer for workers and building occupants, and more friendly to the environment, while still providing cleaning effectiveness without a price increase. Many of these products clean better than old stand-bys such as new non-ammoniated strippers.

However, custodians and their supervisors must look beyond chemicals and consider the whole process of cleaning from purchasing and storage to cleaning techniques and practices. (more…)