Creating an Effective Green Cleaning Policy - Pt. 1

Does your cleaning operation have a "Green Cleaning" program? If so, is your green program supported by a Green Cleaning Policy? What are the typical components of such a policy? Green Cleaning Policies may vary a bit across different organizations; however, the most effective policies do share some common components and characteristics. In this article we will review the typical goals, and the description of roles and responsibilities, as contained within many Green Cleaning Policies.

Stated Goals
An effective Policy will contain a few high-level objectives. Some typical examples:
  • LEED O+M Certification Compliance: The Policy will establish the protocols and procedures necessary to ensure that the cleaning service provider---whether BSC or internal---is in compliance with its customer's green cleaning requirements. This includes those clients---internal or external---that have been LEED certified via the Building Operations and Maintenance (O+M) rating system.
  • Reduction of Waste: The Policy will set forth methods and procedures that support waste reduction efforts. This would include product selection, measurement techniques, and recycling. For example:
    • Utilization of chemical dispensing stations to reduce waste of chemicals and water.
    • Use of microfiber cleaning materials that can be effectively cleaned and reused.
    • Reduction of use of paper products.
  • Environmental Objectives: In addition to reduction of waste, the Green Cleaning Policy will establish requirements that promote a healthy environment. This would include:
    • Use of cleaning products that are Green-Seal certified and reduced reliance on use of toxic chemicals.
    • Reduction in the use of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) to improve the quality of indoor air.
    • Increased use of cleaning products that are biodegradable.
Roles and Responsibilities
The Policy will identify various roles within your operation and will specify their respective responsibilities as related to Policy compliance.
Policy Owner
The Green Cleaning Policy will contain a designate name and/or title that will have overall responsibility for the Policy. The responsible party is typically the "owner" of the Policy and carries the ultimate responsibility for execution of the Policy. The Policy will establish the process for the owner's delegation of various components of policy compliance throughout his/her organization.
Policy Management
Individual managers are typically responsible for:
  • Development of training procedures and schedules for cleaning staff.
  • Measurement and verification of performance of cleaning procedures to ensure compliance with the Policy.
  • Establishment of corrective action routines to address instances of Policy non-compliance.
  • Other supporting tasks as dictated by the Policy.
In next week's post (Part 2) we will review additional aspects of a Green Cleaning Policy, including....
  • Standard Operating Procedures
  • Purchasing of Preferred Products
  • Quality Assurance and Continuous Improvement
In the meantime, you can view the U.S. Green Building Council's Green Cleaning Policy template.

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