Last month, our Green Clean Schools team and members of our Green Clean Schools Leadership Council headed to Las Vegas for the Green Clean Schools Track at ISSA/INTERCLEAN. ISSA/INTERCLEAN is the largest event in the cleaning industry, where manufacturers, end users and distributors all come together for educational seminars, a trade show and networking. This year, our Green Clean Schools Track was the official education seminar of ISSA/INTERCLEAN. A group of 260 school facility operators, industry representatives, and green cleaning advocates from the government and NGOs participated in the event.
The Green Clean Schools Track is an integral part of our work to build a strong network of school facility directors who are advancing green cleaning in their schools and in the industry. With this event it’s official; the network is growing faster than ever before. In fact, this was the most well-attended Green Clean Schools event ever! The theme of the program, which featured five panel discussions that took a look at everything from staff morale to infection control risk assessment, was one of empowerment and guidance for the ISSA/INTERCLEAN experience. Our first day of programming focused on the 5 Steps to Green Cleaning in Schools, our guide to the elements of a green cleaning program in educational facilities.
Speakers provided expert advice for the elements of greener, safer and healthier cleaning practices and actionable tips that attendees could use to get the most out of their trade show experience and bring back to their schools. Participants received practical advice for building more engaging training programs, a model for involving school nurses in their infection control procedures and a blueprint to help them write green cleaning policies at their home institutions.
What Schools Should Ask Cleaning Industry Suppliers
During his presentation, “Identifying Green Chemicals,” Roger McFadden, who has a long history in the field of cleaning chemistry and is now President and Senior Scientist at McFadden and Associates, gave a list of questions that school representatives should always ask their suppliers. These include:
- Do you have a chemicals management policy that guides the design and formulation of your cleaning products? Can I see it?
- Do you fully disclose the chemicals and ingredients in your products?
- How can we recognize a product made from safer and/or greener alternatives?
- Do you use a credible independent third party green certification?
McFadden called on those in attendance to go out on the trade show floor at ISSA/INTERCLEAN and, “Ask these companies tough questions. Tell them what you want; they will listen to you because you are the consumers.”
The great unifier, McFadden emphasized, are the building occupants. He urged school facility operators looking for healthier solutions from their suppliers or asking for the support to invest in green chemicals or technology to make a case for protecting the health of the students. “Everyone cares about their children,” said McFadden. “Everyone cares about their health. This is a unifier; these are universal motivators that will align people.”
Green Clean Schools Track participants got to ask McFadden’s suggested questions and more during a guided tour of the trade show floor. Small groups, led by members of our Green Clean Schools Leadership Council, followed a carefully planned route with stops at six booths on the trade show floor. During each stop, participants had the opportunity to engage with green teams and educational facilities reps directly. It was a unique opportunity for school facility operators to learn about new offerings and discuss the unique needs of custodial operations in the educational facility. United by a common concern for student health and the environment, school facility operators and manufacturers discussed solutions that will make schools healthier through green cleaning.
All of the presentations from the Green Clean Schools Track are currently available online.
Next year, ISSA/INTERCLEAN will take place in Dallas, Tex., in late October. We look forward to presenting another event for school facility operators there. Sign up for our newsletter to be the first to learn about registration details for our 2018 Green Clean Schools events.