This is part one of a three-part article about green floor pads.

As more facilities pursue green initiatives, distributors are stocking cleaning products and equipment that meet their customers’ sustainability criteria. Likewise manufacturers are responding with new technologies that satisfy the trend toward cleaning for health and reducing environmental impact — all without forfeiting quality or increasing end users’ costs.

“Many facility executives and the businesses they serve believe that they have a corporate responsibility to help their community,” says Leonard Shutzberg, CEO of Americo Manufacturing Co., Acworth, Georgia. “As more facility managers establish sustainability programs, distributors are demanding more eco-friendly products from their manufacturers.”

In the last few years, green floor pads have gained popularity as a growing number of end users seek out green products. This subset of floor pads includes those made from recycled content, such as soda and water bottles; natural fibers, such as hogs’ hair; and plant-based fibers, such as sugar and corn.

And while many customers want green, manufacturers are finding those same customers aren’t usually willing to budge on price or performance.

“The customer cannot expect any less than what they’re currently using, and we don’t charge more money for [green floor pads],” says Rick Mazzoli, president of Treleoni, Manning, South Carolina. “Years ago we used to up-charge for green, but the market isn’t interested in paying more money for green. They’re interested in a performing product that’s price-competitive and a benefit to the industry at large.”