It is hard to believe that just 46 years ago, manufacturers could legally spew toxic black clouds out of smoke stacks or release toxic waste into area waterways. It was a time when there was no Clean Air or Clean Water Act, or even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

But, in April 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin made a change with his introduction of the very first Earth Day — a grassroots initiative to increase environmental awareness. Thanks to demonstrations on college campuses across the country, the first year rallied 20 million demonstrators and thousands of schools and local communities in support of environmental awareness.  One in ten Americans participated, drawing extensive attention from the media and jump-starting an ear of bold environmental legislation.

In 1970, the purpose of Earth Day was to make the environment top-of-mind and bring to light the damage our growing population was doing to the Earth. Today, the purpose of Earth Day has changed a bit. Although it is still a time to reflect on how we can improve, Earth Day has become more than just one day. Environmental practices are being implemented throughout the year and April 22nd has become a day of recognition and celebration.

The jan/san industry, for example, has made many strides to reduces its impact on the environment on a daily basis. The implementation and promotion of more environmentally sound chemicals, energy-efficient equipment, water reduction, chemical-free products, recycled paper and microfiber have all aided in the support of environmental initiatives. In addition to products, greening cleaning processes and procedures have contributed to sustainable goals and the overall facility vision.

For a full history on Earth Day, click here. For more information on Gaylord Nelson, click here.