By Mark Petruzzi
If you’re reading the Sustainable Schools column in SP&M, you’re probably using some green cleaning products, and you may even have a robust green cleaning program (products, procedures, and policies) in place. For too many of our schools, though, green cleaning is something they haven’t been able to implement. Some of the same, longstanding myths about green cleaning continue to pop up as reasons why not: green products are more expensive, green products don’t work as well, etc.
Advocates for healthier school environments have been touting the benefits of green cleaning products for many years now: they’re cost-neutral to cost-saving (especially if you switch from ready-to-use products to concentrates), they perform like “traditional” cleaners, they’re safer for staff to handle and use, and they contain far fewer ingredients of concern to growing children’s bodies (and grown-ups, too). Even with all the positives, there are still schools and school districts where green cleaning hasn’t yet been embraced.
Rather than continue to espouse the same green cleaning benefits and run headfirst into the same myths, I thought I’d share two resources that may help your school make the transition to a cleaning program that’s better for students, staff, and the environment.
Fresh on the heels of the Summer Olympic Games, nearly everyone is a fan of one sport or another. While your facility managers, custodial staff, and school board may not all cheer for the same professional sports teams, I guarantee they all own at least one item of clothing with an elementary, middle, or high school mascot on it. They may even have been spotted wearing face paint or with hair sprayed in team colors. To take advantage of this enthusiasm, the first resource I want to share is the Green Sports Alliance Greener Cleaning Playbook.
As noted on the Green Sports Alliance website (greensportsalliance.org), “The Greener Cleaning Playbook is designed to help sports facilities reduce the health and environmental threats associated with cleaning sports venues. Beyond protecting health, the cleaning industry uses significant quantities of chemicals, paper products, cleaning equipment, plastic liners for waste receptacles, and other supplies.”