A reader recently wrote in because they were struggling with promoting green cleaning. They were convinced that making cleaning more sustainable, they could improve health of building occupants and even save lives. But, they were struggling with customers and co-workers that believe it to be a passing fad. Here is my reply to their concerns:

First of all I commend you for understanding some of the key benefits of “going green” however your statement does not really clarify what that means. Implementing a truly green, sustainable program requires a commitment at all levels of the company and acceptance by the customer. We dealt with the importance of enlightening the customer so that they will require green/sustainable specifications in the contract. Once your company has to meet those specs, things should improve.

And yes, there are those who will fight any changes for many reasons. The primary one is that although we all claim to love progress, few of us like change when it impacts our world. Janitor Joe likes to use a solvent based carpet spotter that leaves VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) in the air for days. Somewhere in the fine print, it may mention that one should wear a respirator and/or fully ventilate the area. It may also stress the importance of rinsing and removing the residues from the carpet. Janitor Joe’s response may be “that’s all well and good but who has the time to do all that work? I just wanted to remove the spot and now it is gone.”

Later on when Joe has skin, respiratory or other health issues, I doubt if anyone will connect the dots and realize that his failure to forego using gloves, ventilation, etc. probably is the root cause of his maladies. A continuing challenge to going green/sustainable is the need to deal with the attitude of “but we have always done it this way.”

Selling co-workers on the need to go green/sustainable may be more difficult that first imagined.

Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net