TOXICS INFORMATION PROJECT (TIP)
(Lighting the way to Less Toxic Living)
Liberty Goodwin, Director
P.O. Box 40441, Providence, RI 02940
Tel. 401-351-9193, E-Mail: TIP@toxicsinfo.org
GREENING YOUR WORKPLACE
“Greening the Cleaning ®” Goals & Objectives
Many cleaning products commonly used in public facilities contain dangerous chemicals that can cause illness and possibly death in those exposed to them.
These problems can be avoided by replacing the offending agents with harmless cleaning alternatives. In an effort to communicate this important message, and to empower organizations with ways they can rid the environment of these hazards, The Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology at Hackensack University Medical Center developed its "Greening the Cleaning®" program.
Through "Greening the Cleaning®," experts provide environmentally sound cleaning alternatives and extensive guidance to allow participating facilities to enjoy a seamless transition to a safe, effective cleaning system. The program has been highly successful in all institutions that have participated. All "Greening the Cleaning®" products are tested for safety by the manufacturer and exceed OSHA's requirements and recommendations.
The six major goals and objectives of the "Greening the Cleaning®" program are:
The majority of the hazardous cleaning products that produce odors and emit chemicals that contribute to poor indoor air quality and/or can be harmful to the individuals exposed to them are replaced. The program reduces emissions and provides a cleaner, less toxic environment. This improved setting is particularly important in healthcare facilities that have patients who are already in a compromised state of health, and need a contaminant-free environment to promote healing. There is no reason to use toxic cleaning agents in schools, homes, or businesses either because non-toxic environmentally safe ones exist.
Fewer cleaning products are being ordered, and replaced with multipurpose products, while maintaining the highest quality of safety.
The new "Greening the Cleaning®" chemicals are ordered from an environment conscious manufacturer. A dispensing system is also installed to ensure no waste, accidents, or misuse.
Institutions using the "Greening the Cleaning®" program may enjoy cost savings for a variety of reasons. Buying bulk quantities of concentrated cleaning products cuts down on packaging and shipping costs. Education of housekeeping staff enables them to use the products more efficiently, which reduces waste. Also, staff members are no longer subjected to irritating chemicals which may reduce employee sick time and workman’s compensation. Hackensack University Medical Center, which converted to the "Greening the Cleaning®" program in 2001, has yielded a 15% cost savings.
The "Greening the Cleaning®" program encourages facilities to consolidate their supplies in one centralized location to aid in the management of inventory. This practice minimizes the possibility of duplicating supplies. It also eliminates the need to find space to store items that are not needed. Although creating a central storage area may not be feasible in all cases, every effort is made to create one. Smaller containers and spray bottles are kept in the janitorial closets and carts.
A toxin-free cleaning program can only be implemented if those who actually clean the facility understand the importance of their actions and know how to use the new products. For this reason, The Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology educates all key personnel in the participating facility, from the housekeeping staff to supervisors and top-level management, so they can work together to preserve their environment at no additional cost.