Promoting Green Cleaning Programs in Schools

In a green cleaning program, the goal is to promote your vision for a clean and healthy campus across the school community, so that all administrators, teachers, staff, students and visitors to the school take personal responsibility for their role in the initiative.

Every school has a system of checks and balances – a team of people who work together to make things happen. It is important to know who is responsible for what and then aim to break down any barriers in the way with regard to getting the plan in place. An example would be when the University of Washington first switched to a daytime cleaning shift as a way to conserve energy (lights on at night). This plan was met with resistance, because having the school cleaned at night was what everyone was familiar with. Those who led the initiative pushed through despite the resistance from some and eventually had the whole plan in place for daytime cleaning.

Many times it just takes the explaining of some facts and benefits to get others on board. For example, offer data, scientific evidence in support of new cleaning ideas and even information that you collect with regard to asthma and related absences. Make the link between indoor air quality and decreases asthma absences and this alone has an impact.

Making the right product choices is one step, but getting teachers to stop bringing in unapproved, unsafe products, is another hurdle.

Getting students involved in the conversation has also proven to be very effective. Students are conscious of environmental issues and can be your best advocates when pitching a green cleaning initiative to the school. Get them excited about your green cleaning program and watch how their excitement transfers to others within the school system.

Individuals need to realize their own strength and power and help to spread the word of the many benefits of green cleaning programs across all schools and across all industries. This plays a key role in introducing and implementing any green cleaning program and really just making green cleaning practices a way of life.

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