Green Cleaning: Recognizing Green

Prepare your program for the 2009 Green Cleaning Awards.

It is again that time of the year to nominate your program for the 2009 Green Cleaning Award for Schools and Universities. The awards are sponsored by American School & University magazine, the Green Cleaning Network and the Healthy Schools Campaign. Winners will be featured in the December issue of the magazine and receive a certificate recognizing their achievement. The 2008 award winners were announced at the inaugural Green Clean Schools National Summit held November 12, 2008, in Washington, D.C.

The award recognizes the best in green-cleaning programs within education institutions across the nation. All types and sizes of education institutions are eligible to enter.

The comprehensiveness of the quality of your green cleaning program is the ultimate criteria for determining winning programs. Judges will look to the five criteria from The Quick and Easy Guide to Green Cleaning in Schools to determine which programs stand out above the rest. Those criteria: the use of green-cleaning products; the use of green equipment and supplies; an adoption of green-cleaning procedures; the use of green paper and plastic products; and a demonstration of outreach to other parties outside the cleaning staff to strengthen the program. Judges for the contest are school health advocates, cleaning-industry experts, green-cleaning professionals and school stakeholders.

Education institutions will be asked to submit a written description on these elements of their green-cleaning program. They need to gather the following information:

  • The history of the program

    What has it accomplished, and where is it going?

  • Cleaning procedures and strategies

    What is your program doing to reduce general health impacts? Do you have special strategies in place for the use of disinfectants or to encourage handwashing? Have you established an impressive green floor-care system?

  • Policies or processes used to engage others

    Submit examples of policies, training materials and other communications that demonstrate outreach to teachers, students, visitors and staff.

  • Innovations

    How has the program reached “outside the box,” be it a product or an outreach strategy?

  • Evaluation methods and results

    How do you measure your program's effectiveness and how often? What documentation do you have that demonstrates your success? Has your institution enjoyed reduced absenteeism and greater instructor retention?

  • Recognition

    Share any awards, certifications or recognition your green cleaning program has received.

View application information and see the 2008 winners, whose programs are raising the bar for green cleaning.

Stephen Ashkin is executive director of the Green Cleaning Network, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit educational organization. He can be reached at [email protected].

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