Green Cleaning: Read the label

What to look for when choosing green cleaning products for your education facility.

It soon will be time to release bid specifications prior to summer deep cleaning activities. The following are recommended changes to product specifications that make it simpler to procure green consumables while minimizing changes to legal and other contracting requirements.

Specifications are based on the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance Rating System Version 4 (LEED-EBOM v4) and the Healthy Schools Campaign’s Quick & Easy Guide to Green Cleaning in Schools.

 

Chemicals

All-purpose, glass and washroom cleaners (non-disinfecting) shall meet one of the following requirements: Green Seal GS-37, EcoLogo CCD-146, U.S. EPA’s Design for the Environment (DfE) Program, and/or cleaning device that produces ionized, ozonated, electrolyzed or similar cleaning solutions.

Disinfectants and sanitizers shall meet one of the following requirements: California Code of Regulations maximum allowable VOC levels for the specific product category, U.S. EPA’s DfE, and/or cleaning device that is registered with U.S. EPA that produces ionized, ozonated, electrolyzed or similar disinfecting or sanitizing solutions.

Heavy-duty degreasers shall meet one of the following requirements: Green Seal GS-34, EcoLogo CCD-110, and/or U.S. EPA’s DfE.

Hand soaps and hand sanitizers shall meet one of the following requirements: Green Seal GS-41, EcoLogo CCD-104, EcoLogo CCD-170 (for hand sanitizers), U.S. EPA’s DfE, and/or contain no antimicrobial agents (other than as a preservative) except where required by health codes and other regulations (e.g., food service and health care requirements).

Biological and enzymatic products used for odor control and drain maintenance shall meet the following requirements: EcoLogo CCD-112 or CCD-115 for odor control, EcoLogo CCD-113 for drain and grease traps, Green Seal GS 52/53 for specialty cleaning products, and/or U.S. EPA’s DfE.

Floor finishes and sealers shall be durable and slip resistant. In addition, the finish shall be free of zinc (metal-free) and/or shall meet one of the following requirements: Green Seal GS-40, EcoLogo CCD-147, and/or U.S. EPA’s DfE.

Floor finish removers shall meet one of the following requirements: Green Seal GS-40, EcoLogo CCD-147, and/or U.S. EPA’s DfE.

Carpet shampoo and extraction products shall meet one of the following requirements: Green Seal GS-37, EcoLogo CCD-148, U.S. EPA’s DfE, and/or cleaning device that produces ionized, ozonated, electrolyzed or similar carpet cleaning solutions.

Other chemical products (i.e., furniture polish, metal polish, graffiti removers) shall meet one of the following requirements: California Code of Regulations maximum allowable VOC levels for the specific product category, Green Seal GS-52/53, and/or U.S. EPA’s DfE.

 

Sanitary Paper Products and Plastic Bags

Paper hand towels shall meet one of the following requirements: U.S. EPA’s Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines for janitorial paper (minimum of 40% post-consumer recycled content for paper hand towels, though 100% is recommended), Green Seal GS-01, EcoLogo CCD-086, janitorial paper products derived from rapidly renewable resources or made from tree-free fibers, and/or FSC certification for fiber procurement.

Toilet tissue shall meet one of the following requirements: U.S. EPA’s Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines for janitorial paper (minimum of 20% post-consumer recycled content for toilet tissue, though 100% is recommended), Green Seal GS-01, EcoLogo CCD-082, janitorial paper products derived from rapidly renewable resources or made from tree-free fibers, and/or FSC certification for fiber procurement.

 

Plastic trashcan liners (non-compostable) shall meet U.S. EPA’s Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines for plastic trash can liners (minimum of 10% post-consumer recycled content although 50% is recommended).

Ashkin is executive director of the Green Cleaning Network, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit educational organization.

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