House File 823, signed in the spring of 2010, requires Iowa schools to use green cleaning products. By doing so, schools reduce exposure to toxic chemicals by students and staff as well as protecting ground water systems.
What is 'green cleaning'
Green Cleaning is designed to reduce indoor air pollution by using less-toxic cleaning chemicals and equipment that is more effective at capturing particulate matter. Green cleaning products can be as effective as traditional cleaning products and can be competitively priced to be essentially cost-neutral when compared to their traditional counterparts.
Green Certified products are available from many suppliers. Iowa Prison Industries (IPI) sells TerraGreen Products, certified by Green Seal, which are mixed at the women's correctional facility in Mitchellville. Another source for green cleaning products is the US Communities contract which is a competitively bid cooperative contract available to state governments, cities, counties and schools.
Green Cleaning Resources
Responsible Purchasing Network (RPN) is an outstanding resource for learning about environmentally friendly purchasing policies and certified green cleaning products. Two certification standards featured in RPN are EcoLogo and Green Seal.
EcoLogo is the standards-based labeling system in the Environmental Choice Program (ECP), Environment Canada’s ecolabeling program. The program certifies a range of products, including hand cleaners, window & glass cleaners, boat & bilge cleaners, vehicle cleaners, degreasers, cooking appliance cleaners, cleaning products with low potential for environmental illness and endocrine disruption, bathroom cleaners, dish cleaners, carpet cleaners, and disinfectants.
Green Seal is a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit, independent standard-setting organization certifying a range of products and services, including general purpose cleaners, bathroom cleaners, glass cleaners, carpet cleaners and more.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Design for the Environment (DfE) Formulator Initiativeworks with cleaning product manufacturers interested in improving the environmental performance of their products. The DfE program reviews ingredients and recommends safer alternatives. The DfE does not recommend or endorse products, but companies that reformulate their products based on its recommendations are eligible to use the DfE logo on their product. The logo indicates that the DfE review team has screened each ingredient in the product for potential human health and environmental effects and that, based on currently available information, predictive models, and expert judgment, the product contains only those ingredients that pose the least concern among chemicals in their class.
The Carpet and Rug Institute offers right cleaning solutions that can help keep your facility's carpet looking its best between professional deep cleanings. To identify superior performing cleaning products, CRI has developed the Seal of Approval program. Further, Seal of Approval Green products have demonstrated their compliance with EPA's Design for the Environment, Ecologo, or Envirodesic.
The Case for Buying Green
Scot Case, an international expert on responsible sourcing and a leader in "Green" buying spoke at the annual Iowa Procurement Professionals Conference. His insightful comments have been captured on the three segment links below.
Scot Case - Introduction and Video Presentation
Iowa DNR Waste Management - household hazardous materials program
Green Clean Schools - healthy schools national campaign
Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA ) - integrated pest management in schools
EPA Design for the Environment (DfE) Standard for Safer Cleaning Products - criteria for recognition under the EPA Safer Product Labeling Program more transparent and accessible