While more customers are seeking sustainable floor care products, evaluating the greenness of floor pads can be a daunting task, and environmental benefits are not always clear cut.

“If you’re buying something that claims to have environmental benefits, you want to know that they’re significant and not just trivial changes,” says Pedersen. “You need to look at them collectively to make a decision. That’s the process we follow with GS-20.”

Buyers can also research the floor pad manufacturer’s plant to ensure that the company follows sustainable practices.

“Make sure the facility it’s manufactured in has an environmental management system and complies with environmental regulations,” says Pedersen.

3M, for example, manufactures the majority of its floor pads sold in the United States in a zero landfill facility in Cumberland, Wisconsin. According to Cook, all waste material is reused, recycled or processed in a waste-to-energy plant. The plant operates under ISO 1401:2004, which specifies requirements for environmental management systems and has received the EPA’s Energy Star Challenge for Industry Award 10 years in a row.

Despite lifecycle evaluations, most customers will purchase floor pads based on performance and durability.

“The product has to perform, and it has to be priced competitively,” says Mazzoli. “If it does have an attribute that will support the environment, that’s a home run.”

Fortunately, when it comes to floor pads, “green” is often synonymous with quality and durability.

“We don’t see green or sustainable floor pads being a trade-off with performance,” says Cook. “The same benefits that make the pads sustainable pertaining to performance and durability also provide overall cost savings. If a customer can complete a task using fewer pads and fewer labor hours, that’s a benefit to the environment and to the overall cost of their floor maintenance program.”

Kassandra Kania is a freelance writer based in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is a frequent contributor to Sanitary Maintenance.

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