One of the biggest obstacles for green cleaning programs is getting buy-in from administration and school stakeholders. It’s about selling change, which can be daunting when you go it alone. But with the right resources and partners, this can become an opportunity to rally supporters, rather than a challenge to sell a cause.

Here are a few tips I’ve learned through my decades of experience in the cleaning industry. These practices have helped me to convince even the most traditional stakeholders to go green.

Make It Personal

Green cleaning is personal to me. I keep my head shaved because every time I look in the mirror, it reminds me why our work is so important. It reminds me that four out of every 10 adults will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.

As the people responsible for protecting public health by cleaning public spaces, we have a direct impact on that. When we choose better, greener and healthier cleaning products, we can keep those harmful toxins out of our buildings and give the public a chance to breathe clean air. And when it comes to how we clean schools, green cleaning is the only option for the future.

Here are some more facts that build a personal case for green cleaning:

• Janitors are injured on the job more than twice the average injury rate for all workers.

• Cancer is up 27 percent since 1975, and is the leading cause of death by disease.

• One in 12 students have asthma, and it accounts for 10.5 million missed school days, annually.

• There is a connection between school facilities and student performance.

As a member of the custodial team, you have a very important role. You are a guardian of the health of hundreds or even thousands of students every day. Remember this as you build your personal case. Keeping toxic chemicals out of the indoor environment should become a key component of your mission statement.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of finding the right language, or a common ground, to compel someone to listen. Consider your audience and help to find their personal cause.

Are you asking your school board for the investment in a green cleaning policy? Consider their perspective. Do they have a relative who was diagnosed with cancer?

Trying to get your staff to buy into new ergonomic equipment? Find out who has back injuries, and appeal to them.

Teachers not excited about new green chemicals that don’t have a scent? Find out the environmental impact of those products and speak about it.

Trying to engage your school principal and nurses? Look at the number of students with asthma in the district, and make it personal.

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Promoting Green Cleaning In Schools
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Stats That Support Sustainability