New York State Office of General Services (OGS) Commissioner John C. Egan announced the launch of New York State Green Cleaning Program Web site: The program, which addresses an issue of national interest, is a component of Governor David A. Paterson's broad sustainability agenda.

This new Web site provides schools and state agencies with information, resources, and tools to plan and implement a comprehensive green cleaning program customized to their community and site-specific needs. Studies show that when schools adopt green cleaning practices, children's exposure to harmful cleaning chemicals and substances is reduced. Green cleaning, when practiced by more and more school and government facilities, will also make a significant difference for the environment.

"OGS will continue to provide the tools needed so that we may help our schools provide a safe and healthy place for youngsters every day," said OGS Commissioner Egan. "By working with our state agency partners, we have built a program that will serve as a model for other states."

The Web site was created in response to Executive Order 134, which requires all state agencies to use green cleaning products; and the New York State Green Cleaning Law, which mandates the use of environmentally sensitive (green) cleaning products in all New York State's public and non-public elementary and secondary schools. These laws gave OGS the responsibility for adopting green cleaning guidelines and maintaining lists of approved green cleaning products.

New York State Commissioner of Education Richard P. Mills said: "Teaching and learning are enhanced when they take place in a safe and environmentally sound setting. That's why the Education Department is excited to continue working with our partners in State government, as well as our school and community partners, as we improve the school environment for students and educators. By reducing the toxicity of the chemicals used to clean and maintain school buildings, we can eliminate many health concerns that get in the way of learning."

The Green Cleaning Program Web site approaches facility maintenance and cleaning as interrelated with the health of individuals, communities, and the environment. This is reflected in the Five Steps to a Green Cleaning Program section of the website that details how to design a successful program. The five steps are: Groundwork; Assessments; Planning; Implementation; and Evaluation. In support of the Five Steps, the Web site features:
• Green Cleaning Best Practices;
• OGS-Approved Green Cleaning Products List;
• Customizable Templates and Documents; and
• Interactive Online Training (coming soon).

In addition, OGS staff worked to establish standards for the procurement of green cleaning products. Some green cleaning products are available now for schools to purchase from OGS centralized procurement contracts, and others will come in the future. More information can be found here.

Commissioner Egan wished to thank the four state agencies that continue to collaborate with OGS on an interagency committee guiding the green cleaning initiative: the Departments of Education, Environmental Conservation, Health, and Labor.