The education sector makes up 15 percent of the cleaning industry. That’s the single largest sector in this $24 billion market. And it means vendors are going to want to work with you. It’s in their best interest to help improve your cleaning program. If a distributor or manufacturer truly wants to differentiate themselves, they should be vested in learning about your institution and helping you build the case for investment.

When gathering facts, your vendor can be a valuable source. The best salespeople spend time figuring out what’s going on in your institution or school district, and then help you build your case. Unless you have your own internal expertise, you really need to demand more from vendors to help drive green cleaning policies and a greater investment in cleaning.

Many distributors and manufacturers offer training on green equipment and programs. However, not all training programs are created equal. Cleaning managers should demand the best training programs possible to educate their staff on not only how to use new processes, chemicals and equipment, but also the underlying reasons for making green changes.

The elements of an exceptional green cleaning training program should include:
• Pre- and post-testing that measures the efficacy of the program and supports individual progress.
• Options for training in multiple languages to support a multilingual workforce.
• Different levels of training that matches the skill levels of employees, including basic, introductory training, as well as more advanced training.

Join The Movement

There’s a movement of facility directors from schools and universities that’s been growing steadily for the past few years, led by the Green Clean Schools Leadership Council. This movement is dedicated to bringing green cleaning to communities far and wide in order to protect that precious national resource, future generations.

The work of the council is structured around prioritizing cleaning in an effort to protect human health and the environment in schools and universities across the country. This is done through networking, sharing expertise and providing resources for information.

Truly meaningful and sustainable change occurs when informed, engaged and empowered stakeholders work together. I invite you to join the movement. 

STEVE ASHKIN is president of The Ashkin Group, CEO of Sustainability Dashboard Tool, and executive director of the Green Cleaning Network. Steve is a founding member of the USGBC and was responsible for writing the cleaning credits in LEED for Existing Buildings. He serves as the technical advisor to the Healthy Schools Campaign where he authored “The 5 Steps to Green Cleaning in Schools” and is a member of the Green Clean Schools Leadership Council. Additionally, he is on the Board of Directors of the Green Sports Alliance where he wrote their “Playbook on Greener Cleaning in Sports Facilities.”

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