903.02 – Green Cleaning Policy


Building environments have a significant impact on human and environmental health, worker productivity, and overall sustainability. Based upon extensive industry research focused on building maintenance and operations, technology, and cleaning science, Colfax-Mingo Community Schools has identified the best tools, products, and practices for maintaining sustainable buildings that protect human health and the environment. This policy adheres to Green Seal’s Environmental Standard for Commercial Cleaning Services (GS-42).


This policy is intended to identify maintenance and operations best practices and guidelines for minimizing building impact on human health and the environment. Compliance with this policy allows Colfax-Mingo Community Schools to create a building environment that minimizes waste, uses more sustainable products and systems, and uses energy as efficiently as possible. This policy adheres to the prescribed guidelines of Iowa Code 8A.318, an act: 

Requiring Public School, Community Colleges, Institutions under the control of the State Board of Regents, and State agencies to comply with an environmentally preferable Cleaning and Maintenance Policy unless specified conditions for non-compliance are satisfied

Sustainability Statement of Commitment 

Colfax-Mingo Community Schools is committed to maintaining and operating buildings in the most sustainable way. We define sustainability as operating “to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,” particularly with regard to the use and waste of natural resources. 

Scope of Policy 

This policy includes elements that address three areas of focus:

  • Product: Colfax-Mingo Community Schools will utilize environmentally preferred products where applicable, and consistently seek to minimize the total consumption of a product, equipment, and supplies. 
  • People: Colfax-Mingo Community Schools will adopt and adhere to cleaning and maintenance standards that have a little impact on human health and the environment as possible.
  • Process: Colfax-Mingo Community Schools will conduct cleaning and maintenance activity according to documented procedures that seek to minimize the frequency of activity, improve environmental health, and reduce the impact upon vulnerable populations.

Objectives and Outcomes 

  • Implement and follow practices that promote environmental sustainability, including steps to reduce the impact on human health and the environment, increase efficiency, and reduce waste. 
  • Promote health, safety, and productivity throughout the organization through quality cleaning and, 
  • Drive long-term commitment to going “greener” rather than achieving an as yet determined level of environmental sustainability. Record and measure all described practices for reporting, monitoring, and continuous improvement purposes. 

Occupant Responsibility 

One of the primary objectives of this policy is to protect the health of building occupants. Colfax-Mingo Community Schools will communicate the policy’s objectives and outcomes with building occupants organization-wide, with the message that occupants play a significant role in supporting the policy to ensure its success. Colfax-Mingo Community Schools will ask occupants to provide feedback on maintenance and operations performance, objectives, and outcomes. 

Requirements for Products, Supplies, and Equipment (GS-42, 3.0) 

Colfax-Mingo Community Schools will follow a sustainable purchasing policy that is aligned with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy to protect human health and reduce the environmental impact of materials used in the operations and maintenance of buildings. The purchasing policy will identify and outline acceptable products, tools, equipment, and materials based on product ingredients and packaging.

Colfax-Mingo Community Schools will evaluate the items that are purchased for the building, identify more environmentally friendly alternatives, and establish a policy to purchase these alternatives when economically feasible. The organization will work with suppliers to identify environmentally preferable products that meet the needs of the building. 

Environmentally Preferable Cleaning Products & Supplies (GS-42, 3.1)

Colfax-Mingo Community Schools will implement sustainable purchasing for cleaning materials and products, disposable janitorial paper products, and trash bags. Cleaning product and material purchases include items used by in-house staff and/or outsourced service providers. 

  • Cleaning chemicals much meet one or more of the following standards for the appropriate category:
    • Green Seal Certification
    • Eco Logo Certification
    • Recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s design for the Environment Program (DfE)
    • Meet California Code of Regulations maximum allowable VOC levels for the   specific product category
  • Disposable janitorial paper products and trash bags shall be certified by Green Seal or Eco Logo, or comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines for Janitorial Paper and Plastic Trash Can Liners, or be derived from rapidly renewable resources, or utilize a minimum of 30% recycled content in the manufacturing process. 
  • Hand soaps must meet one or more of the following standards:
    • Green Seal Certification
    • Eco Logo Certification
    • Recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s design for the Environment Program (DfE)
    • A specified percentage of products in this group shall be free of antimicrobial agents (except as a preservative and unless required by health codes and other regulations)

Colfax-Mingo Community Schools will develop guidelines that address the safe handling and storage of cleaning chemicals used in buildings, including a plan for managing hazardous spills or mishandling incidents. Storage guidelines will also include: 

  • Storage of corrosives, flammable, and combustibles only according to applicable OSHA, EPA, and NFPA standards. 
  • A spill containment plan and documented employee training. 
  • Waste disposal and recycling plan and documented employee training. 

Colfax-Mingo Community Schools will use, when possible, highly concentrated cleaning products for their reduced environmental impact from packaging and transportation. Cleaning products will have an adequate dilution control system. Packaging will be recycled when possible. 

Colfax-Mingo Community Schools will comply with all pertinent provisions of the federal OSHA Hazard Communication Standard and all comparable state requirements. The organization will comply with the following provisions: 

  • Develop, implement and maintain a written hazard communication program. 
  • Make readily available Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for all hazardous chemical products. 
  • Maintain an inventory of chemicals that includes an accurate and complete list of all chemicals on site. 
  • Train all employees who handle chemicals on the use and hazards of the chemicals
  • Ensure chemicals are used safely and properly, and according to manufacturers’ instructions.

Colfax-Mingo Community Schools will also follow regulations for chemical storage and disposal, selection of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). 

Powered Cleaning Products (GS-42, 3.2) 

Colfax-Mingo Community Schools will use janitorial equipment that reduces building contaminants and minimizes environmental impact. The cleaning equipment program includes the following: 

  • Vacuum cleaners are certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute “Green Label” Testing Program for vacuum cleaners and operate with a sound level of less than 70dBA. 
  • Carpet extraction equipment used for restorative deep cleaning is certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute’s “Seal of Approval” Testing Program for deep-cleaning extractors. 
  • Powered floor maintenance equipment, including electric and battery-powered floor buffers and burnishers, is equipped with vacuums, guards, and/or other devices for capturing fine particulates and operates with a sound level of less than 70dBA. 
  • Propane-powered floor equipment has high-efficiency, low-emissions engines with catalytic converters and mufflers that meet the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for the specific engine size and operate with a sound level of less than 90dBA. 
  • Automated scrubbing machines are equipped with variable-speed feed pumps and onBoard chemical metering, or use dilution control system for refilling, or use only water with no added chemical cleaning product. 
  • Battery-powered equipment is equipped with environmentally preferable sealed batteries such as lithium-ion, absorbed glass mat, or gel cell. 
  • Equipment is designed with safeguards, such as rollers or rubber bumpers, to reduce potential damage to building surfaces. 

Powered Equipment Use/Maintenance Plan (GS-42, 2.3)

Colfax-Mingo Community Schools will develop, adopt, and maintain a plan for the use of powered janitorial equipment that maximizes the effective reduction of building contaminants with minimum environmental impact. Colfax-Mingo Community Schools shall evaluate that the janitorial equipment currently being used is functioning properly (as validated by the equipment manufacturer or by a reputable third-party service organization) or that it is tagged out of service. Colfax-Mingo Community Schools shall develop a plan for the phase-out of equipment that does not, at a minimum, meet the specifications for Powered Cleaning Equipment listed above. The organization shall also maintain a list of all powered equipment that, at a minimum, includes: 

  • Identification of each type of equipment by make and model
  • Date of purchase
  • Date of last preventative maintenance inspection 

Reducing Solid Waste (GS-42, 4.2) 

Through the development and implementation of a waste management plan, Colfax-Mingo Community Schools will facilitate waste reduction initiatives to reduce the amount of waste generated by building occupants that is hauled to and disposed of in landfills or incineration facilities. 

The organization will evaluate the building’s waste stream and establish policies to divert materials from disposal in landfills or incineration facilities by encouraging the reuse and recycling of items. 

Entryways (GS-42, 4.4) 

Colfax-Mingo Community Schools will employ permanent entryway systems (grilles, grates, mats) at least 10 feet long in the primary direction of travel, where space allows, for the purposes of capturing dirt and particulates entering the building at public entry points. This employment includes the associated cleaning strategies to maintain those entryway systems as well as exterior walkways. Public entryways that are not in use or serve only as emergency exits are excluded from the requirements, as are private offices. 

Colfax-Mingo Community Schools shall have appropriate cleaning maintenance and replacement plan for matting systems in place. 

Floor Care (GS-42, 4.5 

Colfax-Mingo Community Schools will have a written floor maintenance plan and carpet care plan for buildings. The plan will include: 

  • The number of coats of floor finish applied to floors as a base and topcoats. 
  • Scheduled floor maintenance and restoration procedures by dates. 
  • Scheduled carpet maintenance and restoration procedures by dates. 

Colfax-Mingo Community Schools will measure and document cleaning performance against the scope of work and performance outcome requirements. Frequency minimums will be set based on impact on occupant health and overall risk. 

Training (GS-42, 6.0) 

Colfax-Mingo Community Schools will develop requirements for staffing and training of maintenance and cleaning personnel appropriate to the needs of the environment. The curriculum will specifically address the training of maintenance personnel in the hazards of use and in the disposal and recycling of cleaning chemicals, dispensing equipment, and packaging. Management and workers will be trained in the following areas: 

  • Supervisor Training – Supervisors and managers will be trained on technical and leadership skills. 
  • Employee training – Employees will be trained in cleaning and maintenance skills. 
  • Safety Training – All employees will go through safety training as required by regulations, including safe handling and use of hazardous materials and chemicals. 
  • Green Cleaning Training – Cleaning personnel will be trained according to the organization’s green cleaning curriculum. 
  • All training will be documented. 

Audit and Assessment 

Colfax-Mingo Community Schools will implement measurement tools, an occupant feedback program, and a continuous improvement plan to periodically evaluate the effectiveness of the green cleaning program, including technologies, procedures, and processes. 

APPA Appearance Assessment 

Colfax-Mingo Community Schools will conduct an audit in accordance with APPA Leadership in Educational Facilities’ “Custodial Staffing Guidelines” to determine the appearance level of the facility. Colfax-Mingo Community Schools will require that facilities score 3 or less. 

If areas are identified as falling below the expected standard, Colfax-Mingo Community School will make improvements to the cleaning program accordingly. 

Definitions and Glossary 

APPA (Leadership in Educational Facilities): Association for education facilities management professionals that promotes excellence in all phases of educational facilities management, including administration, planning, design, construction, energy/utilities, maintenance, and operations. 

APPA Custodial Staff Guidelines: Guidelines established by APPA, an association for education facilities management professionals, covering five levels of clean used to assess facility appearance

Building Occupants: Those who visit and work in the buildings. 

California Air Resources Board (CARB): governing Board of California, also known as CARB, “clean air agency” for the California government. 

California Code of Regulations: This contains the text of the regulations that have been formally adopted by state agencies. 

Carpet and Rug Institute: A nonprofit trade association representing the manufacturers of more than 95 percent of all carpet made in the United States, as well as their suppliers and service providers. 

Cleaning: Locating, identifying, containing, removing, and properly disposing of undesirable substances from surfaces or materials. 

Eco Logo: An eco-labeling program established by Environment Canada addressing more than 300 product categories to help cleaning product and services purchasers identify services and products that are less harmful to the environment. 

Environmentally Preferable: Executive Order 13423 defines “environmentally preferable” as “products or services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose.” 

Green Cleaning: The use of cleaning products and practices that have lower environmental impacts than conventional products and practices. 

Green Seal: An independent, nonprofit certifier and science-based standards development organization. A Green Seal certification mark on a product means that it has gone through a stringent process to show that it has less impact on the environment and human health.

MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet): A form containing data regarding the properties of a particular substance. Record of all MSDS is an important component of product stewardship and workplace safety. 

Management: Individuals who make decisions about how the organization is operated. 

NFPA (National Fire and Protection Association): International, nonprofit association with a mission to reduce worldwide fires and other hazards that impact the quality of life. The association provides and advocates consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. 

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration): A government agency of the U.S. Department of Labor that is charged with maintaining safe and healthy work environments.

Rapidly Renewable Resources: Agricultural products that can take 10 years or less to grow or raise and can be harvested in a sustainable fashion. 

Sustainable: When sustainability is defined as operating “to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,” something is sustainable when it is capable of being used with a minimal long-term effect on the environment.

Employees: Workers who deliver cleaning services. 


Definition of Sustainability on page 1 – The United Nations. Statements made by Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland. 1989. 

Policy elements were written to comply with the following industry standards:

  • Green Seal’s Environmental Standard for commercial Cleaning Services (GS-42)

Date of Adoption: November 19, 2012

Revised & Reviewed: December 19, 2016