Are green cleaning products really green?

Beyond Cleaning Green, the Industry looks at Supply Chain Sustainability.

Green Cleaning products comprise an estimated 30% of the $25 billion worth commercial cleaning products annually sold in the United States. Green cleaning is the use of cleaning products, supplies, and equipment that damage neither human health nor the environment.  The green cleaning products are healthier for building occupants, safer for the cleaning staff, and environmentally better for our planet. A few criteria that differentiate green cleaning products from the traditional cleaning products are 

  • Renewable or sustainably harvested raw materials

  • Nontoxic ingredients

  • Responsible manufacturing

  • Biodegradable packaging

  • Capacity for safe disposal or reuse

The industry has significantly matured in the past decade; however there is need and ample opportunity to move beyond just the use and benefit of green cleaning products. There is much more to aspire from the Supply Chain, from the sustainability view point. The industry uses 5,000 distributor warehouses in the U.S. today, using 25,000 trucks to deliver green and traditional cleaning products.

Impact of Cleaning Product Supply Chain

Stephen Ashkin, President of The Ashkin Group, Executive Director of the Green Cleaning Network, Co-founder of Green Cleaning University and CEO of Sustainability Dashboard Tools, LLC -  also known as the 'Father of Green Cleaning' - announces that he is refocusing his efforts, working to bring more efficiency and sustainability programs into the professional cleaning industry.

“Green Cleaning has matured,” says Ashkin. “We are now able to move beyond just the benefits of Green [Cleaning] products to focusing on broader opportunities that will help drive additional human health and environmental benefits, as well as produce cost savings.” These “broader opportunities” are where sustainability comes in.

Sustainable Distributor Purchasing Tool

Given the enormity of these impacts and in its bid to become more sustainable, the cleaning industry led by Mr Ashkin, has developed a tool for companies, particularly distributors to map their performance on key sustainability parameters, in keeping with global sustainability reporting standards.  The tool called the Sustainable Distributor Purchasing Tool can be found here.  This information will be shared with their current and future customers (building owners). Mr Ashkin hopes that this information will help sustainability leaders report on the impacts of green cleaning supply chain, as well as differentiate between cleaning product distributors when making purchasing decisions.