Monday, April 29, 2013

Green Flooring Initiatives On The Rise

This article was originally published in Plant Services.

A variety of health and safety standards, environmental regulations and federal programs are influencing development of new floor care products. Among the goals of the “green” flooring initiatives are minimizing toxic ingredients, chemical releases and frequency of stripping and recoating. Further benefits derive from conserving water and energy, preventing pollution and reducing waste.

Voluntary Guidelines
Green Seal is a non-profit organization that awards its seal of approval to manufacturers whose products meet specific rigorous standards, and encourages organizations to become environmentally sensitive purchasers. The Green Seal Environmental Standard for Floor Care Products addresses floor finish and stripper products. For example, Green Seal considers a floor finish stripper to be “green” only if the concentration of volatile organic compounds is 6% or less–significantly less than 15% to 30% found in traditional floor finish strippers.

Federal Initiatives
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is partnering with industry to improve human and environmental health through its Design for the Environment (DfE) program. Under the DfE Formulator Program, the EPA teaches formulators how their chemicals and byproducts affect the environment, and how to design safer, more environmentally friendly products that have comparable performance.

Products bearing the DfE logo contain only ingredients that pose the least concern among alternative chemicals in their class. For example, DfE-recognized products that contain a surfactant will readily biodegrade to non-polluting byproducts. DfE partnerships are formalized in a voluntary memorandum of understanding.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Seven Tips To Cleaning Ceramic Flooring

This article was originally published in CleanLink.

Floor-covering trends come and go, but according to ISSA's Value of Cleaning white paper, ceramic flooring is becoming more and more popular in the United States. There are several good reasons behind this trend. Ceramic tile is:
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Highly durable
  • Made from clay and sand, which are very sustainable materials
  • Available in a variety of glazes, colors, and designs
  • Relatively easy to clean and maintain
It is recommended that cleaning professionals follow the following tips when caring for ceramic floors:
  • Clean daily. It is often best to vacuum ceramic tiling using a backpack vacuum cleaner instead of sweeping; this is more effective and helps protect indoor air quality
  • When mopping, use a clean mop and bucket and a mild, all-purpose cleaner
  • When heavily soiled, these floors may need to be machine scrubbed
  • Use a wet/dry vacuum to extract solution and soils from flooring after scrubbing; this helps to prevent them from resettling on the floor

Monday, April 15, 2013

CAV-12 Dust Control System

The CAV-12 Vacuum is designed with the sanding contractor in mind with it's high suction, high filtration and low noise level at 57 dBA.

Key features include:
  • Powerful 120V motor provides 127 CFM and 92" of water lift
  • 3-stage filtration keeps the vacuum motor clean and ensures long life
  • Ultra-low 57 dBA for enhanced operator comfort
  • 25' of 1.5" crush resistant hose for long life and durability
  • Standard vacuum tool kit comes complete with 13' of 1.5" crush resistant hose, 1.5" hose fittings, two-piece curve wand, felt tool, brush tool, round dusting tool, 11" plastic crevice tool and accessory bag
  • Deluxe vacuum tool kit comes complete with 25' of 1.5" crush resistant hose, 1.5" hose fittings, one-piece curve wand, metal felt tool, metal brush tool, round dusting tool, 11" plastic crevice tool and accessory bag

Monday, April 8, 2013

When Making Green Marketing Claims, Tread Carefully

This article was originally published in Hardwood Floors

The popularity of eco-friendly products touches nearly every part of the U.S. economy, and the hardwood flooring industry is certainly no exception. Consider Americans’ keen interest in alternative flooring products such as those made of cork or bamboo, or the rising demand for traditional flooring products certified by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council). Likewise, consumers these days are far more receptive to the environmental drawbacks of carpet: A generation ago, few people other than scientists knew about VOCs (volatile organic compounds), but today some Americans are concerned about the possibility that their living room rugs are harboring allergens and releasing dangerous compounds.

Thanks to the green movement, the hardwood flooring industry is constantly playing both defense and offense on the environment. Companies are under the gun to highlight whatever eco-friendly qualities their products might possess, and they feel the need to compare their own products against various alternatives available in the marketplace. As the hardwood flooring industry engages in these green marketing efforts, though, it must carefully consider the risks associated with doing so. In today’s regulatory environment, even seemingly modest claims can carry legal risks. Indeed, in recent years the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been more closely scrutinizing marketers’ green claims under the FTC Act, which gives regulators the mandate to ferret out unfair, deceptive or unsubstantiated environmental claims.

Read the full article here to learn more about green guides, certifications and seals in the hardwood flooring industry.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Green Cleaning: A Team Effort

This article was originally published in American School & University.

The custodial green team is extremely important to success, whether starting a new green cleaning program or improving an existing one. The process itself has been well-defined. Assessment tools and awards programs are in place. Product manufacturers offer a wide range of products that meet performance requirements and are cost-effective compared with traditional products. And the distributors of cleaning products make the products widely available and can provide procedural and other training for custodial staffs.

For those schools and universities establishing a custodial green team for the first time, it is important to begin by considering the game plan, which includes the scope of the program, as well as the members themselves. Although input from the members can inform the finalization of the scope and the specific projects they may undertake, management should consider any boundaries before establishing the team and inviting individual members.

Thoughtful consideration before beginning will help avoid an unnecessary disconnect between what the administration expects and the team’s ability to have the flexibility to pursue issues that are important to them.

For those with existing green teams, ongoing consideration should be given to the changes in the facilities themselves, staffing levels, products and vendors. In some cases, the scope of the green team will change; for example, expanding beyond just cleaning to incorporate initiatives on pest management, recycling, composting, energy, water and other activities. These expanding issues may require different skill sets or representatives from other departments who may be affected by the new programs.

Read the full article here to learn more about green cleaning efforts.