The Missouri Senate signed bill 1181 today, making Missouri the third state in the nation to require all schools to adopt green cleaning programs. Currently, the only states that require environmentally friendly practices are New York and Illinois.

Local green cleaning advocate and business-owner Gary Walker worked closely with Will Kraus, Missouri State Representative for the 48th District and the bill’s sponsor, Senator Kevin Engler, to craft the legislation, requiring green cleaning in Missouri schools. Walker is founder of Lee’s Summit-based Magic Touch Cleaning, Inc., an all green commercial cleaning company and Return to Green, an eco-friendly retail store. With more than 20 years of cleaning experience in every facet of facility and projects, Walker has made environmental health his main concern.

“Going green isn’t just a trend. It’s a lifestyle that will ultimately affect our children’s health for the better,” said Walker. “After I witnessed New York and Illinois take action, it encouraged me to do the same in Missouri, with the hope that it will spread to the rest of the country. I want to create a green momentum that would encourage the rest of the nation to remove toxic chemicals from our schools.”
 
According to the Bill, beginning in the 2009-2010 school year, school districts must establish a "green" cleaning policy that involves the use of environmentally sensitive cleaning products, unless implementation of the policy would result in an increase in the cleaning costs of the district.

“We applaud the legislators and advocates who are pioneering this very practical and important movement,” said Mark Bishop, Healthy Schools Campaign (HSC) deputy director. “Green cleaning is all about protecting kids and supporting healthy schools while reducing our impact on the environment. The HSC is excited to see that state leaders are beginning to understand the connection between a healthy indoor environment and a quality education. With Missouri becoming the third state to pass such health promoting legislation, we believe that green cleaning in schools will become the standard in schools across the country within the next few years.”

Environmentally friendly cleaning items that schools will be required to use include bathroom cleaners, carpet cleaners, general purpose and hard floor surface cleaners, glass, window and mirror cleaners, hand cleaners, and hand soaps and paper products. According to the HSC Web site, schools are not required to throw away products currently in stock. The law allows for schools to use existing inventory and to begin purchasing green when the existing inventory is depleted.

For more information about the Healthy Schools Campaign and Gary Walker’s green cleaning companies, visit www.healthyschoolscampaign.org and www.magictouchcleaning.net.