The ISSA 2015 tradeshow in Las Vegas in October was one of the best I have ever attended.
It held a number of highlights for me, many of which I would like to share with you. Among them were the following:
* I was honored to receive an EPA Safer Choice Partner of the Year Award. Along with this honor, I and the other award recipients were invited to be the “opening act” for a Jay Leno Las Vegas show!
* Sara Hoversten from the Green Sports Alliance was at my booth (I serve on the Alliance’s board of directors). The Alliance is planning a series of workshops in 2016 based on their “Greener Cleaning Playbook” for sports facilities. The workshops will also include a back-of-the-house tour of a professional sports facility which should make it fun and increase attendance.
We will partner with the Healthy Schools Campaign to help promote these workshops, and it looks like ISSA as well as a number of leading green manufacturers, distributors, and service providers will be sponsors. Let me know if you want more info on this.
* I gave two educational presentations. One on “The Winning Numbers Behind Sustainability” which was a discussion on the metrics that cleaning companies should capture as part of their sustainability reporting. And the other on “Help Facilities Save More and Reduce Their Environmental Impact”, which as the title suggests are Green Cleaning tactics that save money. Both presentations can be downloaded from the right hand column.
* I represented the Green Sports Alliance at an event with other ISSA partners, including BSCAI, IEHA, ARCSI, and CETA as well as nonprofits such as the Healthy Schools Campaign and a number of international organizations. As ISSA partners, we discussed how we can work together to educate the marketplace on the value of cleaning.
* We conducted drawings for an autographed Los Angeles Lakers Magic Johnson jersey, which was won by Robert Rice of the University of California at Irvine, and an autographed Tampa Bay Lightning Victor Hedman jersey, which was won by Jun Lee of the China Professional Association of Cleaning.
* We got to meet John Barrett, the new Executive Director of ISSA, and say thank you to outgoing ED John Garfinkel. ISSA surprised Garfinkel by bringing his family to Las Vegas to help us thank him for his 25 years of service and leadership. Nicely done!
* We searched for new green products and companies and were extremely excited to see that the rate of innovation continues to accelerate. From greener chemistries, packaging, dispensing systems, and applicators to advances in engineered-water devices to alternative paper products to increasing use of recycled materials to improved battery-powered vacuums to robots and more — it just keeps getting greener!
And last but certainly not least, we had a lot of fun. After all, we were in Las Vegas! Great parties, amazing people, delicious food, and unbelievably good live shows. So my thanks to all of my friends and hosts for making this year’s tradeshow so valuable and memorable.
LOS ANGELES —The Ashkin Group president, Stephen Ashkin, has been named a 2015 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Award winner by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to a press release.
Through the EPA Safer Choice Program, EPA helps consumers and commercial buyers select high-quality safer chemical products, and each year it recognizes companies and organizations in various industries for their efforts to help create a safer environment.
“Our scientists employ a stringent set of human health and environmental safety standards when reviewing products for the Safer Choice program,” EPA’s Cathy Milbourn said in the release. “[This ensures that] a product with the [Safer Choice] label is backed by science.”
Ashkin, who is known in the industry as “the father of green cleaning,” was chosen based on his efforts in with the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED V4, among other work.
“The [Ashkin Group] organization has offered input that has helped to enhance the Safer Choice program and encourage ingredient disclosure on product labeling,” EPA said on their website. “Safer Choice commends the Ashkin Group for its strong communication efforts to advance safer cleaning and worker health, its long-time support of the Safer Choice program and its promotion of the program in LEED and the Green Sports Alliance.”
The EPA will present Ashkin and other winners with the award on June 22, 2015 at an event in Washington.
“The Safer Choice program has made a significant contribution in ensuring that our homes, schools, and the offices we work in and use are healthier for us and the environment,” Ashkin said in the release. “I am honored to be one of the 2015 award winners.”
When creating a sustainable Green Cleaning program, one of the first things to focus on is its goals—in other words, the essence of the strategy. While the strategy will likely address a number of issues, among the most important are the following:
- Protecting the health and safety of custodial workers and building users
- Ensuring that training and ongoing custodial education are provided
- Committing to an ongoing effort to improve cleaning worker performance and productivity
- Reducing facility operating costs, not only in cleaning but in all building operations
- Promoting sustainability, again not only in cleaning but in all building operations
- Selecting cleaning products that not only are Green, but are also produced by manufacturers that consider the entire lifecycle of the product from “cradle to grave.”
Implementing the program typically involves building managers, cleaning workers, building users, and importantly, distributors. In fact, distributors play a vital role in ensuring that a sustainable Green Cleaning program meets its Green and sustainability objectives.
One of the first steps when transferring to environmentally preferable cleaning is to analyze what products are currently being used in a facility, which have Greener/more sustainable alternatives, and which can be eliminated entirely. A distributor’s knowledge of Green and sustainable cleaning products can help facilities make wise choices. Many facilities unwarily purchase cleaning solutions that can be used for multiple and similar tasks. In one case, more than 30 cleaning products were reduced to just four environmentally preferable and more sustainable cleaning products after an analysis was completed. Not only was this a cost savings, but it also significantly reduced the waste of materials and resources involved in the entire product chain, from manufacturing and the delivery of these products to disposal.
However, what about the 26 cleaning solutions that were no longer needed? Should they just be disposed of?
No, in a sustainable Green Cleaning program, where waste reduction is an issue, they should be “switched out” (returned to the distributor) for Greener/more sustainable alternatives or used until they are empty and then properly disposed. Understanding that Green Cleaning is a journey, replacing these traditional products immediately or over time is part of moving forward in the journey to becoming Greener and more sustainable.