Evolving from Green Cleaning to Sustainable Green Cleaning

Get ready for cleaning in the 21st century –  When the green cleaning movement first started to take hold in the professional cleaning industry 15 to 20 years ago, the key impetus was to protect human health. It was clear that many of the chemicals, tools, and equipment we used to perform cleaning tasks—while they may be effective—could also have a negative impact on human health and the indoor environment. The initial goal of green cleaning was largely aimed at reducing this impact.

Today, green cleaning involves much more. Instead of cleaning only to protect human health and the indoor environment—as important as this is—we are also cleaning to protect our air and water as well as to promote sustainability. Many facilities that have undertaken this next step in green cleaning are reporting several benefits, such as increased cost savings, greater efficiencies, and improved worker productivity.

To get these benefits, these facilities are beginning what we call “sustainable green cleaning programs.” These programs are designed to enhance the efficiency of green cleaning tools, chemicals, and equipment as well as to make cleaning tasks healthier and much more environmentally sustainable. A good example of this—and one BSCs can learn from—is a program initiated at Boston University (BU) in the 1990s.

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