Green Clean
Certification Program

Green cleaning certification

Q. Should I complete a green clean certification program before offering green cleaning?

A. This depends on how large your company is, because green cleaning certification is expensive, costing upwards of $10,000. It will probably not be an option for small cleaning businesses. If you choose to offer green cleaning, you can certainly use nontoxic solutions in your cleaning service without obtaining a green cleaning certificate. Marketing your cleaning service as green does not require an expensive certification.

Green cleaning certification is conducted by an accredited third-party organization. Tests include scientific analyses of chemicals used in the company's cleaning processes. Check with organizations such as The Green Business Bureau for further information and current costs of programs.

Hard to be green?

Many cleaning businesses promote their service as green. But how accurate and truthful is their claim?

Integrity means everything to a small business. Once earned, it is imperative to not make claims that are untrue, or risk ruining the business. Building trust and credibility is the key, and third-party ratification is helpful in doing so. Importantly, it leaves the government out of the equation, putting the responsibility on cleaning services themselves to raise their consciousness around the issue of environmental safety and health. Biological harm is caused by chemical solvents that enter our watersheds. Often, the perpetrator does not feel they are being held to a standard, or even recognize the part they play in taking responsibility for their environment.

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A lot of us spend about 90% of our time indoors, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Regular cleaning is necessary to maintain the health and safety of our homes, businesses, schools, and all buildings. The EPA tells us that:

  • Cleaning chemicals are the most frequent type of chemicals involved in poisonings reported to poison control centers in the U.S.

  • General-purpose cleaning chemicals contribute approximately 8 percent of the total non-vehicular volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions in California.

  • Millions of tons of cleaning products are washed down drains every month. These products often contain toxic chemicals that can find their way into our steams and lakes.

  • Most people spend more than 90 percent of their time indoors; thus, exposure to indoor environmental hazards has led to many health concerns.

Uphold standards

Cleaning businesses increasingly offer service that claims to use nontoxic solutions. To maintain integrity and uphold a standard of truthfulness, be sure to base any such claim you make on reality. If you tell your customers that yours is a green cleaning company, follow through and apply the highest green-cleaning standards you can. Market to an audience that will be particularly interested in going green, instead of trying to convert those who just don't care.

If you are developing your cleaning business as a green company, you have lots of wiggle room for defining just what is green and what is not. Decide to what degree you will follow through on your promise, then stick with it. Evolutionary trends are on your side, as more companies recognize that people are often driven by so-called higher-order values, including care taking for the earth and for all living creatures, including human beings. The transparency of doing business in the age of social media requires even more diligence on the part of business owners to act in alignment with their values.

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