Late last week, the Senate gave final approval to S.92, a bill that requires manufacturers and distributors of cleaning products to only sell environmentally preferable cleaning products to schools. According to a news release from Vermont Public Interest Research Group, the bill will now make its way to the Governor's desk for his signature.

If passed, the legislation would require cleaning professionals to use green certified general purpose cleaners, bathroom cleaners, glass cleaners, carpet cleaners, floor care products and hand soaps. In addition, S.92 would also prohibit the use of air fresheners, including aerosol sprays, liquid deodorizers, plug-in products, para-di-chlorbenzene blocks, scented urinal screens and other air freshener products unless they have been green certified by an independent third party.

This bill is not the first green initiative in Vermont. In fact, state buildings have already transitioned to green cleaning products as a result of the Clean State Program created by an executive order signed by Governor Douglas in 2004. To comply with the new school legislation, cleaning programs can choose to follow the guidelines outlined in the Clean State Program.

Many schools in Vermont have already voluntarily made the switch to green cleaning. According to Carol Westinghouse, President of Informed Green Solutions, some of these schools have reported fewer instances of asthma, nausea and headaches, and others have even reported saving money on the cost of cleaning supplies.

S.92 was brought to the brink of passage during last year's legislative session. The bill began in the Senate and was passed on the floor by a vote of 29 to 0. It was then passed by the House (92 to 38) and was further amended by the Senate on the last day of session. The House took the bill up for immediate consideration upon the return of the legislature this year and gave their final nod of approval just last week.