Green cleaning is more than just using green chemicals. Green cleaning encompasses tools, process, and chemicals to achieve a total healthy green cleaning program for a school or facility. A healthy green cleaning program that combines all three will reduce the impact on the facility, the occupants, the environment, and the custodial staff. As you can see, green cleaning goes beyond just the discussion of chemicals, to include these other areas to be complete.
So where could someone look to learn more and put a program together? There are a few major organizations that you could look into when putting a program together, such as the US Green Building Counsel (USGBC), LEED, GREEN SEAL, EPA’s Safer Choice (formerly the Design for the Environment program), and OSHA (ergonomics). These are all great places to learn more and help create a guide that will help your crew to clean healthy and green in your facility. There is a lot of research out there on this topic and most manufacturers will be happy to talk with you about their section of this large area. But a program that contains a holistic approach to healthy green cleaning is rare.
National Chemical Laboratories (NCL) is unique in how we look at this topic. Seven years ago, NCL President Harry Pollack gathered a specific team led by Eastern Division Manager Robert Wellman (@bobwellmanNCL) and Brand Manager Curtis Gregg (@curtisgreggNCL) to undertake the task of developing a program that not only is green but also includes all areas of healthy green cleaning. The program is designed to combine the three major areas of healthy green cleaning: chemical, tools, and processes.
This program focuses on reducing the impact on the facility, occupants, environment and the custodial worker. After much hard work in developing a total and complete holistic healthy green cleaning program, NCL launched their program called “On The Mark – Healthy Green Cleaning for Schools”.
So why look at a program like this?
There are two driving factors in the market to consider green programs like this. The first of the two drivers are government mandates to go green. These mandates can be enacted at the federal, state, county, or municipal level to force these changes at governmental, educational, and other public facilities. The second factor is simple to understand – budget cuts. School systems nationwide over the last six years have seen their budgets cut drastically. Many of these cuts have impacted the custodial department (or non-essential services) the hardest with fewer employees and reduced budgets for supplies. The need to do more with fewer workers becomes the main focus of most custodial departments. This pain point forces the custodial departments to look at alternative options in the market place.
There are a few programs that have attempted to solve this problem. A simple work loading program will tell the school system that they don’t have enough employees. However, their budget for staffing will not change and the custodial directors know this fact already. A program that allows inspection and periodic task scheduling is good but does not help the custodial director understand what chemicals, tools, and safer green processes they would need to use with each cleaning task. Outsourcing the custodial department to large building services contractors (BSC’s) has been an option for schools and has gained in popularity over the last six years. This option has addressed the issue of budget cuts with BSC’s offering large savings to the school boards. However, even the BSC’s have a tough time addressing the Green aspect beyond chemicals only.
Understanding the correlations between tools, processes, and chemicals with respect to green cleaning laid out by the agencies above can solve this problem. NcL’s On The Mark – Healthy Green Cleaning program is what school systems across the country have found will solve their problem. This program is available to school districts and BSC’s for use in their accounts that are interested in healthy and green cleaning.
So, the good news for schools, BSC’s, and federal facilities is that there exists a program that puts all the information into one systematic program which will help you understand all the areas that impact the environment and the workers. But how do the custodial directors / facility managers keep track of what is going on in their facility, while organizing the whole system and training their employees?
NcL’s answer is that we have placed this system on the web, coupled it with a Quality Assurance & Periodic Task Management scheduling component that will organize the process and keep tabs on what is going on and what still needs to be done. When the overwhelming amount of information becomes organized and systemized they become easier to teach and to do on a daily bases. This helps the daily “move with a purpose” within the facility. This leads to less fatigue on their body and increased effectiveness in their work.
Regardless how you achieve healthy green cleaning in your facility – going green and healthy is the direction that most facilities are heading.
For more information or to sign up for NCL ON THE MARK, please visit nclonthemark.com