Recently, ISSA was fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in the development of a new resource authored by USGBC's Center for Green Schools—it’s called Perspectives on Implementation and Effectiveness of School Green Cleaning Laws (hereinafter “Perspectives”). As the title suggests, this white paper assesses the impact of state laws and policies on the adoption of green cleaning in schools. While this resource has significant implications for public policy, it also sets forth a wealth of information that is extremely useful to cleaning industry professionals who seek to promote the widespread adoption of green cleaning in schools across the nation.
Why we clean green
High performance or effective cleaning protects the health of students and other occupants of school facilities by removing infectious pathogens and generally contributing to a healthy indoor environment. In addition, green cleaning products and services play a critical role in helping schools and other facilities achieve their environmental, safety and health goals. Implementing a green cleaning program reduces human exposure to toxic substances, reduces the amounts of pollutants released to the environment, and conserves scarce resources. These benefits are of particular importance in a school environment because of the vulnerabilities of children.
Therein lies the importance of the lessons learned from Perspectives. Among other things, this white paper provides cleaning industry professionals and others with valuable insight into some of the real drivers behind the adoption of green cleaning programs by schools.
Not surprisingly, one of the major findings set forth in Perspectives is that schools located in states with green cleaning laws have a significantly higher rate of adoption of green cleaning programs than those schools located in states without such laws. But perhaps more importantly, the underlying reasons behind this finding provide us with some interesting insights.
Yes, state laws and policies in support of school green cleaning, in and of themselves, have a positive impact on the adoption of green cleaning programs. However, according to Perspectives, there are other important factors at play that impact the rate of adoption of green cleaning programs by schools. These factors when combined can be a powerful force in promoting the widespread adoption of green cleaning by schools across the nation, and include:
- The availability of instructional resources
- Training for frontline cleaning service providers
- Technical guidance on green cleaning
The absence of these critical supporting elements presents the cleaning industry with a prime opportunity to help fill this void by providing the appropriate supportive information, training, and direction. In this way, cleaning industry professionals are perfectly situated to act as a catalyst for positive change by helping schools transition to a cleaning regimen that has a superior environmental, safety and health profile.
In addition, Perspectives has a robust collection of resources in its Appendix including a reference to the ISSA Cleaning Industry Management Standard for Green Buildings (CIMS-GB) and the ISSA Guide to Green Cleaning Procurement Policies, Initiatives and Requirements in the U.S. available to ISSA members at issa.com/greenprocure.
We encourage you to review Perspectives on Implementation and Effectiveness of School Green Cleaning Laws for the valuable information and insight it provides into some of the major drivers behind the adoption of green cleaning programs in the educational market.