Custodial Green Cleaning
Hazards in traditional cleaning
On average, custodians use nearly 28 gallons of chemicals per year. A fourth of these chemicals are hazardous. Custodians, janitors and housekeepers have the highest rates of work-related asthma and relatively high injury rates such as chemical burns, much of which are due to toxic chemicals found in cleaning products.
We have found that chemicals in the cleaning supplies include carcinogens, reproductive toxins, hormone disruptors, asthmagens, kidney toxins, asthma triggers and chemicals toxic to the central nervous system. Traditional cleaning increases environmental and health impacts, health care costs and liability and insurance cost for the company.
San Francisco’s Green Cleaning Program
SF Environment received a pollution prevention, source reduction grant from Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9, for conducting a green cleaning pilot program. Under this grant, SF Environment:
1 Developed a Green Cleaning Curriculum
2 Created a pilot program
3 Created Green Business standards for custodial companies
Green Cleaning Curriculum
San Francisco’s multilingual green cleaning program covers the benefits of green cleaning, green cleaning products and procedures and proper disposal of waste and hazardous waste. The Green Cleaning training includes multilingual training videos (English, Spanish, Cantonese), a training manual, flashcards and factsheets on best green cleaning practices. Modules covered are: Dusting & Polishing, Floor Care – Cleaning, Floor Care – Resurfacing, Carpet Care, Kitchen/Food Areas and Restrooms.
Green Cleaning Videos in
English, Cantonese and Spanish
|Green Cleaning Flashcards in English, Cantonese and Spanish|
Green Cleaning Factsheets in
English, Cantonese and Spanish
|Green Cleaning Training Manual in English|
An extensive green cleaning product list can be found at SF Approved, which helps San Francisco City Staff, San Francisco Green Businesses and other organizations choose environmentally preferable and green products. While greener products are important, it is equally important to follow safer cleaning practices. Studies have shown that nearly half of the benefits of using green cleaning products result from the process in which they are mixed and used, which speaks to the tremendous need for education and training.
Green Cleaning Pilot Program
As part of the pilot program, employees of 5 custodial companies were trained. A post pilot study showed that access to green cleaning products was very high at 97%. 97% of the custodians liked using green cleaning products and 80% thought they worked as well as traditional products.
Green Business Standards for Custodial Companies
SF Environment created a Green Business standards checklist for custodial companies wanting to go through the Green Business program. This checklist covers employee training, pollution prevention, purchasing and conservation practices.
If you are a custodial/janitorial company interested in becoming a Green Business, please register and apply here.
If you are interested in learning more, contact us at (415)-355-3700
Additional Information for Custodial Green Cleaning
San Francisco is habitat for 800,000 people – meeting needs for space to work, play, and learn; for food, water, and air; for community with local flora and fauna. SF Environment provides support for urban agriculture and forestry and green buildings, helping residents and businesses harness environmental opportunities.