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[GreenYes] Fwd: [OFEE] Green Cleaning Standard; Governments Agree on Procurement Strategies

>Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2002 09:29:58 -0400
>From: "Arnold, Dana" <>
>FYI.  Please distribute the attached information as appropriate.  The
>White House Task Force on Waste Prevention and Recycling is adding links 
>on our web site,, to both the Center for a New American 
>Dream's procurement web site and to Green Seal.  The links will be found 
>in the Related Resources & Websites part of our site.
>If you have questions about the green cleaning products standards
>adopted by the states, please contact Scot Case, Center for a New
>American Dream, 610-373-7703.
>Dana Arnold
>White House Task Force on
>Waste Prevention and Recycling
>For Immediate Release
>Contact: Scot Case
>Working Together Made it Possible, Say Government Purchasers
>READING, PA - Who says we can't all get along? That's the question a
>group of state and local government purchasers from
>across the country are asking, after working together to endorse a
>single national standard for environmentally friendly
>cleaning products.  Controlling more than $15 million in annual cleaning
>product purchases, these state and local
>governments are using their purchasing power to protect the environment
>and their employees while saving taxpayers money.
>**"Green" Cleaning Products Better for Environment, Health**
>By purchasing and using "green" cleaners, state and local governments
>are cleaning up the environment one dirty surface at a
>time. Traditional cleaning products present a variety of human health
>and environmental concerns, and can contain chemicals
>associated with cancer, reproductive disorders, respiratory ailments,
>eye or skin irritation, and other human health issues.
>Switching from traditional cleaning products to biodegradable, low
>toxicity, or otherwise less harmful products can
>drastically improve the environmental profile of routine cleaning
>activities without sacrificing cleaning effectiveness. As
>many users have discovered, using green cleaners can also reduce costs
>and improve employee productivity.
>**A True Team Effort**
>The group of government purchasers, organized by the Center for a New
>American Dream and funded in part by the U.S.
>Environmental Protection Agency, includes all of the government
>purchasing pioneers who first attempted to define and
>purchase effective, safer, and more environmentally preferable cleaning
>products - Massachusetts; Santa Monica, California;
>King County, Washington; Minnesota; Seattle, Washington; and the Pacific 
>Northwest National Laboratory - among several
>Massachusetts is the first of the work group members to issue a request
>for proposal (RFP) using the agreed upon criteria.
>The environmental criteria are based on Green Seal's Industrial and
>Institutional Cleaners Standard (GS-37). While products
>do not have to be certified by Green Seal, they must meet its GS-37
>standard and a few additional criteria agreed upon by
>the work group.
>  "This was the perfect team to work with," said Betsy Taylor, Center for
>a New American Dream president. "These pioneering
>governments have long recognized the importance of buying safer
>products, and they're now working together to increase their
>impact. The results of this collaborative effort will pave the way for
>additional governments and institutional purchasers
>to embrace the strict national environmental criteria and begin buying
>safer cleaning products."
>**Massachusetts Now Accepting Bids for Cleaning Products**
>Massachusetts officials expect to spend at least $500,000 over the next
>four years purchasing safer, more environmentally
>preferable cleaning products. Some industry experts anticipate the
>commonwealth will actually purchase several million
>dollars worth as word spreads throughout the state's user community.
>Massachusetts purchasing officials are currently accepting bids from
>cleaning product companies. All products must meet the
>criteria established by Green Seal, a nonprofit environmental standards
>organization, and additional criteria established by
>the multi-state, multi-municipality purchasing group. "While governments
>spend millions of dollars on environmental products
>every year," explained Marcia Deegler, Environmental Purchasing Manager 
>for the Commonwealth's Operational Services
>Division, "this is the first time we have worked so closely with so many
>other government purchasers to change the markets
>on such a broad scale." Deegler later added, "In addition to the
>enormous environmental and human health benefits, this
>collaborative effort will help cleaning product purchasers across the
>country. It makes it easier to share environmental,
>health, and product performance information, which makes the process
>more efficient, more cost-effective, and more
>beneficial for us all."
>**The Need for Consensus**
>Before this effort, according to Steve Ashkin, an industry expert, there
>were numerous competing definitions of what
>constitutes a green product. "Industry couldn't respond," Ashkin
>remarked, "because of what it saw as a constantly moving
>target. Very few companies invested in reformulating products because no 
>standard had gained national credibility or created
>enough marketplace demand to make it a profitable investment. The
>incredible momentum behind the new criteria will make it
>much more likely for the entire industry to respond."
>A report on the industry, Cleaning for Health, released today by INFORM,
>a national nonprofit research organization, reached
>a similar conclusion. "The wide variety of conflicting environmental
>standards," observed Alicia Culver, Director of
>INFORM's Chemical Hazards Prevention Program and co-author of the study, 
>"has really hurt the ability of purchasers to find
>safer products. That's why we strongly recommend that purchasers buy
>products meeting the new consensus criteria."
>The initial focus of the Center's purchasing work group was to compare
>the numerous competing definitions and specifications
>for safer cleaning products. After extensive analysis and discussion,
>the group realized the standards were describing
>remarkably similar products using very different approaches. Some
>standards, for example, relied on extensive lists of
>prohibited chemicals while others prohibited the same chemicals by
>referencing a specific toxicity test. This recognition
>allowed the group to begin searching for a single standard they could
>all endorse.
>**Green Seal Standards Adopted**
>After months of analysis, the group concluded the Green Seal standard
>met or exceeded its needs. The standard was developed
>in an open, consensus-based process that included environmentalists,
>government officials, end-user, and industry
>participation. It was already the basis of several successful purchases.
>In addition, several months after the first work
>group meeting, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency encouraged
>purchasers to use the Green Seal standard when buying
>cleaning products.
>While Massachusetts is the first of the work group members to use the
>standard, others are not far behind. The City of Santa
>Monica, for example, is preparing to reissue its cleaning contract, and
>plans to use the same environmental criteria
>Massachusetts used. Other work group members are discussing similar and 
>more ambitious plans. Now that purchasers are
>working together to promote a common standard, safer products will be
>more widely available, more affordable, and easier to
>#     #     #
>For additional information, visit:

Gary Liss
Fax: 916-652-0485

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