It’s no surprise that green products continue to take off in the marketplace. Based on a Contracting Profits survey, 75 percent of commercial facility managers specify for green cleaning. Fortune 10 and Fortune 50 companies are leading the charge on sustainable initiatives and smaller businesses are falling in line.

In other markets, green is not a choice, but a requirement. Legislation in New York and Illinois require all public K-12 schools to use green products. Missouri and Maine have green cleaning recommendations for schools. Vermont, New Jersey and Illinois require all state-owned facilities to be “green-cleaned.” Many municipalities have their own requirements for government facilities.

Similarly, the U.S. Green Building Council developed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard for facilities. Currently green cleaning can contribute up to nine points toward certification. However, future revisions may lessen this number. Numerous cities and communities have LEED requirements.

Green products can be applied to nearly every aspect of a cleaning program. Some green chemical alternatives include daily cleaners that emit lower levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and floor finishes that lack heavy metals such as zinc. Green restrooms include biodegradable soaps and paper products made from recyclable content. Even machines can be green. Examples include carpet extractors that remove high levels of soil and vacuums that prevent dust from being released back into the air.

With every product category that offers a green alternative, more BSCs implement green products into their operations. The majority of BSCs who use green products are most likely to start with general-purpose cleaners, including glass, restroom, multi-surface and carpet cleaners, based on results from a separate Contracting Profits survey. About a third of respondents listed using soap, paper, floor-care chemicals and machinery in their green programs. However, when asked which green products they were planning on implementing, the majority of respondents listed floor strippers and finishes as the next area to pursue.

Excerpted from the January 2007 and May 2007 issues of Contracting Profits. 

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