Tuesday, October 21, 2008

OPSEU's new green cleaning products

On October 16th, OPSEU began to use new green cleaning products at its Lesmill, Wellesley & Coopers offices. These OPSEU-owned offices are cleaned by OPSEU staff and as such are the appropriate place to begin the transition to eco- and people-friendlier cleaning products.

OPSEU has contracted with Allcare Maintenance for their green cleaning system and products. These products include washroom cleaner, chemical neutral disinfectant, glass cleaner, all purpose cleaner and heavy duty cleaner. Products are colour coded. Using a special mixer and dispenser, concentrated, colour-coded cleaning products are diluted with just the right amount of water. In addition to the cleaning products, there are colour-coded micro-fiber cloths so that different cleaners are not mixed together on the same cloth.

Here's what Allcare has to say about themselves (note - not all their bullets apply to OPSEU).

So what exactly is green cleaning?

It’s an earth friendly approach to maintenance that protects the health of your employees without harming the environment. Surprising, it’s no more expensive than a regular approach to cleaning. In many ways, it can actually save you money.
  • We use “EcoLogo Certified” and “Green Seal certified” cleaning products.
  • We promote recycling and having a proper Waste Management program.
  • Micro fibre cloths and HEPA vacuums are used. They remove 99.97% of dust and allergens from your workspace.
  • Water and electricity conservation are a priority for us.
  • We make an effort to reduce the amount of chemicals that are used in the cleaning process and only use eco-friendly chemicals with low VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compound).
  • We sell only Oxo-Degradable garbage bags which reduce the carbon footprint to landfill sites.
  • We try to control areas of moisture and cross-contamination by using a colour coded cleaning system as well as provide Moisture Control Logs for all sites.
  • We also try to implement guidelines and practices which follow the CaGBC LEED rating system where possible.
Our certification was granted by Franken LeDrew Consulting. For more information, visit their website.
Time will tell whether these new products perform as well as the cleaning chemicals that were used before. Initial assessment from Leo Arellano in OPSEU's Building Services is that the five core products are performing as promised. There are still some areas, such as floor waxing, where further investigation is needed before switching over to effective, greener products.

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