If anybody can disprove the old myth that green cleaning costs more, it is Mike Jones, director of custodial services at Columbia Public Schools in Missouri and the newest member of our Green Clean Schools Leadership Council. For Jones, a green cleaning program has been the key to a streamlined budget and unbelievable savings. He’s also helped lead his school to the Cleaning Award for Schools & Universities Best New Program in 2010 and the Grand Award in 2011.
Making Business Savvy Decisions
Jones had a successful career in business operations management before he came to Columbia. This gives him a unique perspective as a custodial director. He has been able to tighten his cleaning budget while making greener choices. He’s also been investing his savings in other resources that go on to make an even bigger difference on the school environment and the bottom line. Within three years of making the switch to green cleaning, Jones was able to save his department a total of $90,000. Even more money was saved, but that was all put back into the program to make it greener and more cost efficient. “We utilized our savings to reinvest money in other green programs that cost money like Kaivac restroom machines, Filmop double bucket systems with microfiber flat mops, expanded technology floor savers and floor matting,” says Jones.
One example of how Jones reinvests his green savings back into his program happened between Green Cleaning Award wins in 2010 and 2011. This was when Jones and his team launched their “Trashcan Program.” Before this effort, each classroom in the district had about five different trash cans of all different kinds and sizes. Conventional trash bags didn’t fit so staff members were twisting and tying up bigger bags, wasting a lot of plastic. First, Jones bought brand new trash cans for every classroom in the district. But this time each classroom was given just one. They also switched to 70 percent recycled trash bags that were the proper size. This reduced the amount of trash bags going to the landfill every year by about 40,000. “We saved about $9,500 in trash bag cost, which in essence paid for the new trash cans,” recalls Jones. Those old trash cans were rusty and had indoor air quality issues. Jones created an additional $2,000 in savings by cashing them in at a metal recycling plant.
Helping Others Save More
As a member of the Green Clean Schools Leadership Council, Jones is looking forward to helping other schools save money and reinvest in greener solutions. “Once you start looking at your existing program, focus on what you’re spending and how much you’re spending,” he advises. “Probably every building on a non-green program has an opportunity to save money. You just have to sit down and analyze what you are spending, analyze new products and use the public bid system to get the best deal on the market.”
If you’d like to learn more from award-winning Leadership Council experts like Jones, you can fill out our online program assessment tool. The Council’s guidance is customized to your program’s needs and desires, plus it is completely free of charge. If you have any questions about the Council, contact Mark Bishop.