In the ongoing development of its Seal of Approval carpet cleaning testing and certification program, the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) has announced two significant green additions — better performing vacuum cleaners that improve indoor air quality (IAQ) and green cleaning chemical certification.

The CRI Seal of Approval program currently identifies high-quality carpet cleaning solutions and equipment that, when used properly, remove soil and stains without damaging the carpet.

“The Seal of Approval program sets a new standard for carpet cleaning effectiveness, and we are raising the bar again by enhancing standards for vacuum cleaning performance,” CRI president Werner Braun said in a news release. “At the same time, we are partnering with nationally recognized green certifiers to ensure that a product not only cleans effectively but also is environmentally friendly.”

CRI’s long established Green Label vacuum cleaner program uses an independent testing laboratory to measure soil removal, containment of dirt and dust within the machine and carpet fiber protection. The new Seal of Approval/Green Label vacuum program is a tiered program with the entry level of bronze requiring a 10 percent improvement of cleaning performance over the existing Green Label Program.

In addition to tougher standards for silver and gold performance levels, a gold level machine now requires that a machine has no more than 35 micrograms of dust particle emission. The previous standard allowed for 100 micrograms of dust particle emission.

The Seal of Approval/Green Label vacuum program will utilize NASA’s X-ray fluorescence technology (XRF) to measure soil removal more accurately and clearly differentiate performance levels. The new program also qualifies vacuum manufacturers who obtain the Seal of Approval to display the seal of the Space Foundation, which helps promote consumer applications for space technology.

To certify that approved cleaning products do not damage the environment, CRI is partnering with Green Seal and the U.S. Environmental Agency’s (EPA) Design for the Environment program. CRI also intends to add nationally recognized green product partners so Seal of Approval manufacturers have a choice of certifiers.

“CRI does not recommend any specific program or programs over another,” Braun said. “We want to encourage all cleaning product manufacturers to review their products to ensure they clean to a high standard and are also environmental friendly.”

In order for a product to become a Seal of Approval green product, the manufacturer must provide CRI with documentation from one of the green partner organizations attesting that its product meets the certifier’s environmental criteria.

According to a recent survey on carpet cleaners, more than 80 percent of carpet cleaning companies recognize the CRI Seal of Approval as identifying effective carpet cleaning extractors. A detailed list of all Seal of Approval cleaning products can be found at

Operation Clean Sweep A Success For Jan/San Associations
Charitable organizations in need have benefited this year through the jan/san industry’s efforts via Operation Clean Sweep.

Members of the Southeast Wisconsin Sanitary Supply Association (SEWSSA) were out in full force on September 15, giving a non-profit organization housing complex a much needed facelift.

Tri-Corp Housing Inc.’s New Samaria House in West Allis, Wis., was selected as the recipient of SEWSSA’s 2007 Clean Sweep. Fifty-five participants representing seven Southeastern Wisconsin jan/san companies teamed up to clean the facility which houses 72 developmentally disabled and chronically mentally ill residents.

With help from a laundry list of jan/san manufacturers, who provided product offerings such as matting, waste receptacles, hand soap, paper, chemicals, mop buckets and wringers, as well as an assortment of other offerings, the SEWSSA was able to give the building a successful makeover.

”The building got a very thorough cleaning,” said Gene Melzer, president of New Berlin, Wis.-based NASSCO Inc. ”They don’t have a cleaning staff that many institutions have because of limited funds. We really took the building to a different level of cleanliness and gave a sense of pride to the residents.”

Interior work included the cleaning of rooms, hallways, restrooms, windows and stripping and refinishing of floors.

The exterior of the facility also received attention, which included planting trees, spreading mulch, cutting the grass, trimming bushes and washing exterior windows.

”I know we made an extreme difference,” Melzer noted. ”It’s been a very worthwhile cause. We all walked away with having a sense of having accomplished something and doing something for a good cause.”

The Southern California Sanitary Supply Association (SCSSA) also got in on the act. The SCSSA’s Operation Clean Sweep had two groups of teams that cleaned group homes in Los Angeles and San Bernardino, Calif., on September 8.

A total of 35 participants representing 10 SCSSA-member companies washed walls, windows, detailed bathrooms, scrubbed kitchen floors, and cleaned all the carpets in the two homes that serve as transitional homes for kids.

The head of the Los Angeles group, Rick Williams, a business manager for Unisource, Los Angeles, said it was more than just the cleaning that hit home with the group home residents.

”I think the kids really appreciated the opportunity just to sit and talk with a few of us,” Williams said. ”A lot of the kids didn’t realize the people coming in to do the work were not a cleaning service. Once they found out that some of the guys were vice presidents and general managers of their companies, I think it kind of opened their eyes that people in that level of business would take the time to care about them. They were very appreciative.”


United Group Ltd. Acquires UNICCO
The United Group Ltd., an Australian diversified service and infrastructure company announced it has completed the acquisition of UNICCO Services Co., Newton, Mass., for $408 million.

UNICCO is one of North America’s largest integrated facilities services companies, with about 18,000 employees. Sydney-based United Group Ltd., partners with blue chip and government customers in the property, rail, water, power, transport and resources sectors. The acquisition is part of the United Group’s strategy to build a global property services company, and now allows the company to offer a full range of property services.

UNICCO controls nearly nine percent of the U.S. market, providing operations, maintenance, janitorial and administration services to more than 1,000 customers.

UNICCO’s senior management team will continue to manage the business with George Keches remaining as president and Lou Lanzillo, vice chairman, will be United Group’s COO.

Green Seal Proposes New Standard For Soaps And Bath Products
Green Seal has proposed the development of GS-44, a new environmental standard on consumer soaps and shower products.

In addition to consumer use, these products are used in hospitality and health care facilities throughout the United States.

The intent of Green Seal’s standards is to reduce, to the extent technically and economically feasible, the environmental impacts associated with the manufacture, use, and disposal of products.

The products proposed to be included in the standard are liquid soap, solid soap, shampoo, conditioner, bubble bath and related bath and shower products that are rinsed off the body.