Two proven steps your organization can take to transition to environmentally preferable products are:
- Buy products that are certified by Green Seal or ECOLOGO.
- Specify cleaning products and supplies in bid documents and service agreements.
A. Buy Certified Products
When buying certified products, choose third party certifying organizations that use open, transparent standards and evaluate multiple attributes based on the lifecycle of the product. There are only two certification programs that have been approved in the US for cleaning products: Green Seal & ECOLOGO.
Green Seal Certified Products
Green Seal has been developing life cycle-based sustainability standards and conducting third party certification since 1989.
Also consider using Green Seal’s Cleaning Services Standard (GS-42). It applies to all indoor activities typically required to clean commercial, public, and industrial buildings including planning, products, supplies, equipment, procedures, training, communications and labeling.
ECOLOGO Certified Products
UL Environment’s ECOLOGO program certifies products that meet multi- attribute, life cycle-based sustainability standards. More information and resources are available online at UL’s “Sustainable Products Guide.”
B. INCLUDE GREEN SPECIFICATIONS IN BID DOCUMENTS
By including requirements in bid documents that contractors buy and use certified products, you can help ensure the health and safety of your staff. It can be as simple as a statement like the following in bid documents and contracts you issue:
“...products shall be certified to the most recent Green Seal or UL/ECOLOGO standard...”
Examples and References
The Alameda County General Services Agency solicited bids for green cleaners with very specific requirements. An excerpt of the bid’s environmental specifications is available online.
Additional examples of bid and contract language are provided here and in Appendix A:
City of Portland, Oregon - http://www.portlandoregon.gov/sustainabilityatwork/article/535832
King County, Washington - http://www.kingcounty.gov/operations/procurement/Services/Environmental_...
Commonwealth of Massachusetts - http://www.mass.gov/anf/budget-taxes-and-procurement/procurement-info-an...
State of Minnesota - http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/topivcs/preventing-waste-and-pollut...