Green Cleaning Bills Proposed In Many States
As the penchant for green cleaning grows stronger, more states are getting in on the act. Recently, a number of states drafted legislation that would require the implementation of green cleaning regulations in schools and government facilities.
The proposed bills in California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont would require public, and in some instances private, K-12 schools to purchase and use environmentally friendly products.
Though specifications vary by state, schools would be required to purchase environmentally friendly products such as: general-purpose chemicals, carpet chemicals, floor strippers, hand sanitizers, soaps and paper products.
Most bills identify green products as those that meet independent third party certification, including Green Seal and EcoLogo. Only a few states would recognize the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Design for the Environment Program (DfE).
Some contend the EPA-approved products are effective and environmentally-friendly, even though they are technically not certified.
“We encourage states to accept the EPA’s DfE Seal,” says Bill Balek, ISSA director of legislative affairs. “The EPA has a very good reputation as a product qualifier and users should be assured that DfE recognition means they are getting efficacious and safe products.”
Some of the bills require the schools to implement the changes only if it is economically feasible, but Balek does not foresee any objections because of how a similar bill was received in Illinois.
“To the best of my knowledge, there has not been a single school to opt out because switching to these products is economically infeasible,” says Balek, referring to the Illinois Green Cleaning for Schools Act that was passed over a year ago. “This tells us the schools are supportive of the general proposition and the programs are economically neutral.”
Moving beyond the educational sector, other proposed green cleaning bills in Illinois and Washington would require all state agencies and buildings to purchase only environmentally friendly products. A bill proposed in South Carolina would require state contracts to provide a preference for green products.
Balek attributes the push for green products in other sectors to the success of the requirements in schools.
“It’s premised on a good experience where schools have gotten a good response from the custodial staff and building occupants,” he says. “The products have been economically neutral, so there is a natural progression to take it out into a broader audience as well.”
The bills force building service contractors to become more involved in the purchase and testing of environmentally friendly products. In turn, the cleaning staff’s involvement reaffirms their pride in the profession, says Balek.
OSHA Launches MRSA eTool
The U.S. Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) have updated the Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) portion of the multi-drug resistant organism module of OSHA’s Hospital eTool, at www.osha.gov.
The electronic tool provides information to help prevent the spread of MRSA among employees and others working in healthcare, correctional facilities, recreational centers and schools.
EcoLogo Develops Hand Sanitizer Standard
EcoLogo, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, initiated a new environmental standard for hand sanitizers that will allow consumers to select the hand sanitizing products with a reduced environmental impact.
Hand sanitizers are a new product category for EcoLogo. The organization is currently conducting research to identify potential environmental impacts across the product’s life cycle. Aquatic toxicity, biodegradability and environmental health are listed as other qualifiers to attain certification.
BSCAI Completes Chapter 11 Reorganization
Building Service Contractors Association International (BSCAI) emerged from Chapter 11 reorganization as approved by the U.S. Federal Court of Northern Illinois on March 9.
“BSCAI is poised for growth once again, having rid ourselves of onerous contracts we can continue to focus on the needs of our members,” says BSCAI Executive Vice President Moe Desmarais.
The Chicago-based association filed for Chapter 11 reorganization last fall because of the inability to negotiate or sub-lease the former headquarters office space lease in Fairfax, Va. BSCAI continues to operate with management staff from SmithBucklin under BSCAI’s board of directors.
- Intellibot Robotics, Richmond, Va., has selected DecisionOne to provide installation, preventative maintenance and onsite service and support for Intellibot’s full line of floor care robots.
- Ten managers and supervisors of Pioneer Building Services, Rockville, Md., graduated from a green cleaning program provided by Penguin Care, Upper Marlboro, Md.
The program complies with the Green Seal GS-42 Environmental Standard for Cleaning Services and promotes green cleaning practices that are better for the environment and healthier for cleaning personnel and building occupants.
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under the Design for the Environment (DfE) Program’s Safer Detergent Stewardship Initiative, recognized companies as environmental leaders.
Companies can be granted Champion or Partner status. Champion members have demonstrated the use of only safer surfactants in products as well as documented strategies for ensuring that only those ingredients are used. ISSA, Lincolnwood, Ill., Multi-Clean Inc., St. Paul, Minn., Eco Concepts Inc., Miami, JohnsonDiversey, Sturtevant, Wis., Atlanta-based Georgia-Pacific Professional, and Earth Friendly Products, Wood Dale, Ill., all earned Champion status.
Partners have committed to using only safer surfactants in their product formulations by a definite date as well as documented strategies that ensure they fulfill that commitment. National Chemical Laboratories Inc., Philadelphia, earned Partner status.
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