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Making Cleaning Contractors Green Leaders

Let’s use scenario to illustrate how cleaning contractors can be Green leaders. You are bidding on the cleaning needs of a multistory, multitenant office building. While management did require the use of Green Cleaning products in the past, it is now open to the use of traditional cleaning products, especially if there is a cost incentive to switch.

And as many cleaning contractors know, the bidding process is changing. The days of just dropping off a bid and waiting for a phone call from a building manager saying “you’re hired” are fast disappearing.

What’s happening now is managers are looking for a contractor that does not just clean their facilities but will partner with them, working together to keep their facility clean and healthy and to reduce costs where possible.

To assist in finding such a contractor partner, many managers now ask those bidding on the cleaning needs of their facility not only to submit a bid or respond to a request for proposal but also to make a presentation to the manager, his or her staff, and any other stakeholders involved in the operation of the facility.

Typically, the top three to five cleaning contractors in the running will be asked to deliver such a presentation. And it is in this presentation that you can use your leadership in Green and sustainability issues to make a case for Green Cleaning. Your presentation should include an informal talk to the management staff along with a slide presentation to complement the talk.

In the slide presentation, you can include more information about the benefits of Green Cleaning, such as the following:

Reduces asthma attacks. An estimated 12 percent of all work-related asthma problems are due to the cleaning products used. Green Cleaning products help reduce or eliminate asthma attacks. Studies, specifically those done in schools, have shown that when traditional cleaning products are replaced with Green Cleaning alternatives, asthma and other respiratory problems decrease, often significantly.

Safer for cleaning workers. More than a third of conventional cleaning products can cause skin and eye damage. Green Cleaning products are safer for cleaning workers. When used properly, there is less chance for injuries to the eye and skin with Green Cleaning products, helping to protect workers on the job.

Helping schools and school children. Green cleaning programs are proving to be very effective. According to a 2014 report by the U.S. Green Building Council, “A typical green school saves $100,000 per year on operating costs, enough to hire at least one new teacher, buy 200 new computers, or purchase 5,000 textbooks” when a Green Cleaning program is implemented.

And in the report, “Greening America’s Schools: Costs and Benefits,” author Gregory Kats concludes,” a 3-5 percent improvement in learning ability and test scores was reported in Green schools, and it is believed this was a conservative estimate.

Reduces chemical exposure. While most of us are exposed to cleaning chemicals only an hour or two a week at most, a cleaning worker or housekeeper may be exposed to them for eight hours or more every day. One San Francisco hotel decided to “go Green” mainly for this reason.

“These are products housekeepers constantly use, every day they work,” said the hotel manager. “That’s much more exposure than someone who periodically spends an hour cleaning his or her home. Therefore, I am certain that reduced exposure to harsh chemicals can be a real benefit to those who use them every day they work.”**

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