Last month I attended ISSA/INTERCLEAN in Las Vegas. It was great seeing old faces and meeting new readers. Thank you to all who stopped by the Sanitary Maintenance booth.

During the show I presented Steve Ashkin’s seminar, “Practice What You Preach: Steps To Becoming Sustainable.” One comment Ashkin made was to pay attention to the number of booths noticeably celebrating green. Just five years ago the ISSA/INTERCLEAN show floor was emblazoned with green banners and live trees — booths were even giving away trees instead of pens. But now, very few companies are promoting their green and sustainable attributes. Why the change? Because green is no longer a differentiator, so our focus is elsewhere.

Here’s an example:  According to a 2009 study by SM’s sister publication, Contracting Profits, 70 percent of building service contractors not currently practicing green cleaning planned to make the switch. However, an upswing in green never happened. Based on CP’s 2011 study, the number of BSCs green cleaning today is roughly the same as it was in 2009. Instead of environmental benefits, contractors are instead focusing their attention on keeping their businesses afloat and surviving the poor economy. And this year, the ISSA/INTERCLEAN trade show reflected that.

I saw numerous booths promoting products that are affordable, help janitors clean faster, and/or require less chemical and water (other costly supplies and resources). I even noticed support to help stimulate this country’s economy with products being made in the United States or at least using USA-made components.

The industry’s mindset is clearly changing as a result of the Great Recession.