So, what does “Green Cleaning” really mean? It is simply a system of cleaning products and procedures to protect ALL health; your health and the health of the employees, tenants, customers and visitors to the building as well as the health of the building environment.
Cleaning is the removal of visible dirt, invisible dirt such as that in carpet and upholstery and bacteria. In the past, primarily because products and chemicals were not available to us, we cleaned with chemicals that could have been high in Volatile Organic Compounds or V.O.C.'s. We used dust mops, wet mops, rags and wipers. Although they removed much of the soil, they often left behind lint, did not remove all of the soil and put vapors into the air which affected some people's health. The paper products we used were made from virgin pulp fibers.
Today, when we implement a Green Cleaning Program we are not merely replacing a single traditional product with a single Green alternative. The goal of a good Green Cleaning Program is to reduce the total impact on health and the environment while improving occupant productivity and satisfaction. We accomplish this by cleaning more efficiently with healthier products, systems, tools, equipment, training and quality control while at the same time reducing waste both at the building source. The paper products used today are not only made from recycled materials but many contain "PCW or Post Consumer Waste" recycled material.
Who sets standards for Green Cleaning Products & Procedures? There are four major governmental and non-profit organizations. They are:
- Environmental Protection Agency, EPA
- Green Seal
- Environmental Choice
- United States Green Building Council, USGBC
The EPA is a federal government agency that is responsible for the overall protection of the environment nationally. They have established guidelines for towel and tissue recycled content and the like. They are also responsible for the testing and possible banning of hazardous chemical compounds from the cleaning chemicals we use and have established the Design for the Environment or DfE standard for chemicals. Green Seal is a non-profit organization that has established a set of standards for chemicals, paper products as well as many other items. Green Seal certified chemicals and paper must meet their standards before they are approved by the organization. They have also established standards for cleaning contractors. Environmental Choice is very similar to green Seal. They are a non-profit based in Canada and has established the Ecologo standards for products. The USGBC has created the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design or LEED program. They have established two sets of standards, one for existing buildings LEED-EBOM and one for new buildings, LEED-NB.
Current Product Offering:
We are currently stocking many environmentally friendly items for cleaning and maintenance as well as Food Service packaging.
- Bakery Supplies
- Can Liners
- Equipment & Supplies
- Food Service Disposables
- Grocery Supplies
- Hand Soap & Sanitizers
- Janitorial Equipment
- Non-Stock Merchandise
- Packing Supplies
- Restaurant Supplies
- Towels, Tissue & Wipes
As you already know, we at Leonard have been heavily involved with Green cleaning for many years. Our comprehensive program for commercial building owners, property managers and building service contractors has lead us to be a leader in Green cleaning expertise within the marketplace. This knowledge and expertise is now being used in the Food Service disposables segment of our business.
When someone says their product is Green what does that mean to you? Ask three different people and you will probably get three different definitions! When we use the term Green product we mean a product that has less impact on the environment in some way than a similar item. Any manufacturer can claim their product is Green but the proof is in the examination of the claims they make!