Green cleaning is quickly catching on in the northeast region of the country. Vermont, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland have all passed bills requiring green cleaning in either schools or government facilities. In addition, Maine has legislation in place recommending green cleaning in schools. Now, Rhode Island is joining the mix by proposing legislation that would require green cleaning in all public and private K-12 schools.

The bill would require school cleaning programs to use green equipment, paper products and chemicals, including glass cleaners, restroom cleaners, carpet cleaners and general-purpose cleaners. Products will need to be certified by Green Seal, EcoLogo, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Design for Environment (DfE) program or other similar third-party certifiers.

Schools would have the opportunity to use up existing supplies before being required to purchase green products.


Piscataway, N.J.-based Bravo! Group Services has been recognized by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) as a Seal of Approval Service Provider. Certified companies agree to use only CRI Seal of Approval products and equipment and comply with a customer-focused “code of conduct.”

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Seattle District Office has named Janelle Bruland, president and CEO of Ferndale, Wash.-based Management Services Northwest Inc. as Washington State Small Business Person of the Year.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be investigating antibacterial soap containing the ingredient triclosan. According to the FDA, studies indicate that exposure to triclosan could have health side affects.

The Soap and Detergent Association (SDA), however, recently stated that this ingredient has been used safely for decades and that research demonstrates that washing hands with antibacterial soap is more effective at reducing the risk of bacterial infection than washing with non-antibacterial-soap.

Bulk Soap Dispensers Can Contaminate Hands

How safe is the soap children are using to wash their hands to kill infectious diseases and bacteria? It depends on the dispenser. Nearly 25 percent of the soap from open, refillable bulk soap dispensers in schools is contaminated with bacteria, according to a recent study. In addition, the research found that washing with soap from bulk dispensers left 10 times as many bacteria on students’ hands than if washed with soap from sealed dispensing systems, such as a bag or cartridge.

The study also suggests that contaminated bulk soap may contribute to cross-contamination in schools as bacteria is transferred from hands to surfaces.

Soap in bulk dispensers becomes contaminated because it’s exposed to bacteria from janitors’ hands, toilet water that plumes out of the bowl after flushing, and dust in the air.