Recommendations From Yale’s Green Cleaning Committee

Today’s “green consciousness” is driving business and institutions to become more environmentally sustainable. One of the easiest ways to do this has been for organizations to retool how they handle office cleaning. A leader in this area turns out to be Yale University’s Office of Sustainability.

In 2006, Yale’s Custodial Services and the Office of Sustainability formed a committee to review and improve the human and environmental health impact of Yale’s cleaning products and processes. The goal was to evaluate indoor cleaning products in terms of impact on indoor air quality. Equally important was the effect of using the products on the custodians who use these substances on a regular basis. Finally, the products were also evaluated in terms of their effectiveness in cleaning. After a year of review, Yale University came up with some very specific recommendations.

First Year Review of Yale’s Green Office Cleaning Committee

The committee tested six products that were identified as safe alternatives. The majority of these products are certified by Green Seal, a non-profit organization that uses a life cycle approach to evaluate the human and environmental impact of a product. It awards environmentally responsible products with its eco-label.
At the end of their review, the Yale Office of Sustainability found that the products drew overwhelming positive reviews from custodial staff who raved about the lack of irritations and nauseous fumes as well as the effectiveness of these new eco-friendly products:

  • Bay West paper towels and toilet paper:  Green Seal-certified paper products made from 100% recycled material.
  • Johnson Diversey Crew 44:  Green Seal-certified bathroom cleaner and scale remover.
  • Aquaria finish and Freedom stripper:  Green Seal-certified floor products that is zinc-free. The finish appeared to be holding up well, but tests continue to see how well it handles salt.
  • Glance Glass Cleaner:  Green Seal-certified product that is non-ammoniated.
  • Alpha HP Multi-Surface Cleaner:  Green Seal-certified product that useshydrogen peroxide.
  • Johnson Diversey PACE Mop:  A flat-head mop system with a micro-fiber cloth that can be washed up to 500 times, and a small spray bottle (in lieu of a bucket of water). This mop system is faster, uses much less water, and is more ergonomically-friendly for the custodial staff. Moreover, the mop design allows it to sweep the floor and to clean hard to reach spots, such as behind toilets.

(SourceGreen Cleaning at Yale, Yale’s Green Office Cleaning Committee and Office of Sustainability).

Four Star Green Cleaning

Four Star has a long commitment in using environmentally safe products.

1. Four Star utilizes only environmentally sound cleaning and maintenance programs.
2. Four Star promotes water and energy conservation in its choice of cleaning equipment and systems.
3. Four Star reduces waste and consumption of finite resources and promotes and participates in recycling programs.
4. Four Star continues to be an advocate for greener, healthier, and more sustainable cleaning.