When it comes to getting the word out about the importance of green cleaning in schools, we rely on many of our partners for guidance. One of those partners is ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association. By supporting our educational summits and talks for facility managers, helping us to enact legislative changes regarding green cleaning policy, and serving as content experts for our 5 Steps to Green Cleaning in Schools, ISSA has been a valued partner for almost 10 years.
What Is ISSA?
ISSA is a global trade association whose members include organizations from every section of the cleaning business. What we love most about ISSA is its mission to change the way the world views cleaning. According to ISSA’s website, part of this mission is to “increase the appreciation for cleaning as an investment in human health, the environment and an improved bottom line.”
ISSA is doing some pretty innovative things to promote effective, high-performance cleaning in institutional settings. This is an important concept in schools because of recent research that has shown a positive connection between effective cleaning and reduced absenteeism as well as improved indoor air quality and productivity in children at schools. According to Bill Balek, ISSA’s Director of Legislative Affairs, “If we can clean properly, we can reduce the spread of infection and reduce absenteeism.”
Setting the Standard
ISSA’s Clean Standard: K-12, known formally as The Standard for Measuring Effectiveness of Cleaning, is a valuable resource for schools. This document, which can be downloaded for free on ISSA’s website (you will need to register for an account with ISSA to download the document), is a roadmap that schools can use to assess the effectiveness of their cleaning processes. The Standard combines the traditional walk-through audit method of using sight and smell to observe cleanliness with the more objective use of ATP devices to quantitatively measure the amount of organic matter on surfaces.
Effective cleaning is a crucial element of any green cleaning program, and when that is combined with a program that reduces environmental impact, everyone wins. ISSA also offers the Cleaning Industry Management Standard – Green Building (CIMS-GB), which recognizes and certifies cleaning organizations that provide high-performance cleaning in an environmentally preferable way. “Schools can use the standard as a roadmap on how they can deliver effective cleaning while minimizing impact on the environment,” advises Balek. “Or they can take it to the next level by achieving CIMS-GB themselves.”
How ISSA Can Help You Do More
At HSC, we believe policy is a powerful tool to promote green cleaning in schools. Together with ISSA, we have helped enact changes to local and state legislation regarding green cleaning in schools in 10 states. Balek and his team worked with us to develop and advocate for this legislation and to develop grassroots campaigns to gather support.
As a school stakeholder, you have the power to change the laws, too. Balek believes information is key to getting started. “Information on how you can engage the legislative process will make you better able to affect change,” says Balek. ISSA and HSC are both valuable resources for navigating the legislative process. Check out our Green Cleaning Advocacy Handbook to learn how to get involved.
If you’re interested in learning more about The Clean Standard, CIMS-GB, green cleaning legislation or the cleaning industry in general, Bill Balek would be happy to hear from you. Feel free to drop him an email at Bill@issa.com.