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encourage global solidarity to protect the environment and promote sustainability, evolved in England, throughout Europe, and around the world.

her property. What was even more traumatic for her was the fact that the birds all appeared to have died in great agony; their bills gaped open and their claws drawn up in an awkward, unnatural pose.

Huckins wrote a letter to a local newspaper complaining about the mist and sent a copy to her friend Rachel Carson. Carson worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as an aquatic biologist. Moved by the letter, Carson said: “There would be no peace for me if I kept silent about this.”

As a result, in 1962, Carson published her groundbreaking book Silent Spring, which caused a commotion and forced the general public and members of the U.S. government to take a serious look at society’s use of chemicals and pesticides. Although she did not advocate banning chemicals, Carson encouraged that they be used wisely with greater awareness of their potentially harmful side effects. By 1963, her voice had reached the highest levels in government; making one of the first-ever presidential speeches discussing environmental issues, U.S. president John F. Kennedy warned, ‘The supreme reality of our time is the frailty and vulnerability of the planet we live on’.

By the end of the 1960s, young people in England, the United States, and around the world had taken up the cause for ‘ecology’, as it was then referred to. It garnered more attention, and the first Earth Day was held in the United States in 1970, reflecting the much greater ecological - or environmental - consciousness that was spreading throughout the world. Earth Hour programs, which

In time, the first ‘green’ or ‘natural’ cleaning products began making their way into health- food stores. Unfortunately, these initial product offerings, most of which were not designed for the professional cleaning industry, had two things in common:

• Many were expensive. • Many were not that effective.

Consumers wanted to do their part and use safer, healthier cleaning products, but they were disappointed with their choices. Unfortunately, there was only moderate improvement in most green cleaning products until the late 1990s.

Resurgence in the 21st Century The use of green cleaning products got a boost in the 1990s because of Executive Order 13101, signed in 1998 by then U.S. president Bill Clinton. The order encourages the use of environmentally preferable cleaning products in all federal government facilities, even ships at sea. This change has not only had a great influence on the United States but has spread to many parts of Europe and the rest of the world as well.

With this push, green cleaning products have made significant advances in the 21st century in the United States and United Kingdom. Their effectiveness has improved significantly, more manufacturers are investing considerable time and energy developing these products, and many are quite willing to compare their products against other green as well as conventional cleaning products.

Further, they are more cost effective. Often they are referred to as ‘cost neutral’. This means that even if the cost of the product is a bit more, the benefits - such as improved worker productivity, less absenteeism, and improved worker morale - more than make up for any cost differential.

Additionally, other market forces are driving not only green cleaning but also the entire concept of sustainability. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and LEED-EB (LEED-Existing Buildings) programs now help industries define and measure green cleaning products and buildings. This has raised consumer awareness of the health benefits, cost savings, and value of going green, all of which is helping to transform the entire building industry as well as the cleaning industry.

Jansan industry’s focus expanded For many people in and outside of the jansan industry, cleaning, (whether using green or traditional products) is all about appearance. For decades, there was little concern how this was accomplished or what products or procedures were used. And it is true: shiny floors, clean carpets, and well-maintained restrooms are important; make a significant, positive impression; and have a psychological impact on all of us. Yet, we now know that cleaning’s first focus must be to protect the health of those cleaning and using these facilities.

Fortunately, we are now entering an era where we can clean for health first and then for appearance. In addition, environmentally preferable cleaning products have excelled to the point where both are easily achievable. We do not need to give up one for the other.

Increasingly, people in the professional cleaning industry see that while traditional cleaning products have served us well, we now need to use the available technology to protect human health and the environment as we clean. It has been a long road, but it appears this is definitely the direction in which our industry is going.

The future of our cleaning industry | TOMORROW’S CLEANING | 15 ADVICE & OPINION

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