Green Cleaning Timeline

This Green Cleaning Timeline lists the key events in the evolution of Green Cleaning

1962—Silent Spring by biologist Rachel Carson is published; it questioned the use of DDT, a pesticide, without recognizing the environmental effects of the product on humans and wildlife.

1970—The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is formed.

1972—The use of DDT as a pesticide is banned in the United States.

1978—CFCs are banned from aerosol cans due to their effect on ozone depletion.

1980s—Several products for the consumer and the professional cleaner are released bearing the label “environmentally friendly.”  However, there are no regulations or criteria in place for measuring or verifying this claim.

1989—Green Seal, an independent not-for-profit body for developing certifications and standards for environmentally friendly products is formed.

1992—President Bill Clinton signs executive order 13101, defining “Green Cleaning.” His order is the first step in the U.S. federal government and other government bodies going Green.

1995—The Environmental Choice Program to help create standards for Green products is formed.

2000—Bill Clinton signs an executive order, expanding the scope of executive order 13101.

2002-The Ashkin Group begins advocating for the use of Green Cleaning products. The organization becomes the leading advocate for Green Cleaning in the professional cleaning industry.

2005—Washington becomes the first state to enact Green building legislation—an environmentally responsible method for designing, operating, maintaining, and demolishing buildings and structures.

2006—New York requires the use of Green products in all public and private schools.

2008—The term greenwashing is used to describe marketing techniques that imply a product is protective of the environment when it really is not. The term actually dates back to the 1990s, when it originally referred to the habit of some manufacturers to whitewash practices that were harmful to the environment.

2008–2009—LEED credits are given for the use of environmentally preferable cleaning products; this is soon changed to require the use of Green Cleaning products for any facility seeking LEED certification.

2009 – CIMS-GB (Cleaning Industry Management Standard – Green Buildings), to help meet the growing demand for Green cleaning standards and practices for cleaning contractors

2010—While the EPA’s Design for the Environment Program dates back to the early 1990s, it is not until now that it begins to have a significant impact on the professional cleaning industry.

2010–2012—Beginnings of a Green Cleaning culture are taking root.

2010–2012—Green cleaning and sustainability merge; Green cleaning involves being sustainable and sustainability requires the use of Green cleaning products

2013- LEED v4 places a much greater emphasis on using disinfectants only when necessary; recognizes that Green Cleaning involves more than just products but cleaning practices and processes as well; recognizes only specific Green certification organizations when identifying Green Cleaning products.


Note: Dates are approximate; there may be other items which could be added but this list provides some of the key events in the Green Cleaning movement.