Sales numbers reflect the fact that companies are opening their wallets once again, especially in the paper/plastics category.

In 2010, paper/plastics sales dipped lower than those found in the thrust of the recession (50.4 percent from 53.2 percent), but have since regained their footing at 54 percent of the market. Chemicals have slipped, falling a full three percentage points, from 30 percent to 27, while janitorial supplies and accessories dropped to 8.1 percent from 9.3 percent in 2010. Power equipment sales fell, as well, moving from 7.9 percent of sales volume to just over 7 percent. However, miscellaneous janitorial products increased from 2.4 percent of sales volume, to 3.4 percent, making up for some of the loss.

Distributors say the changes stem from a renewed emphasis on green cleaning, cleaning with water, and concerns about hygiene, attributing category decreases to companies and markets who are still cost-conscious.

“There is more positive growth in equipment sales,” says Scoles. “They’ve stopped repairing and have begun replacing; and also the market in general is accepting the concept of cleaning for health, and investing in that a little bit more now.”

Concepts such as green cleaning, have become the standard for facilities, pushing green product sales to new limits. The study shows that green products accounted for 25 percent of chemical sales, 30 percent of power equipment sales, 20 percent of supplies and accessories, and 44 percent of paper and plastics sales.

“Green has become a condition of business,” Trombetta says.

Silverman agrees.

“If you can deliver a product that is effective, high quality, cost-neutral, and performs equally well, than people are willing to switch,” she says.

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