Responsible Purchasing Network



There are many reasons to buy green cleaning products, including:

Products with multi-attribute certifications from independent organizations such as Green Seal and UL ECOLOGO (for institutional cleaners), and Cradle to Cradle and Safer Choice (for specialty and consumer cleaners) are widely available, comparable in cost to conventional cleaners, and meet performance standards. Also worth considering in addition to (not as a substitute for) multi-attribute certifications are single attribute certifications such as UL Greenguard GOLD and USDA Biobased.

Multi-Attribute Certifications for Institutional Green Cleaners

Multi-Attribute Certifications for Specialty and Consumer Green Cleaning Products

Single-Attribute Certifications for Green Cleaning Products

RPN Resources

safer disinfectants report

Safer Products and Practices for Disinfecting and Sanitizing Surfaces - April 2014

RPN helped SF Environment create a wide-ranging analysis of disinfectant products, including information on environmental and health hazards, surface compatibility, effectiveness for various microbes, best practices, and recommended products.

Researchers compared health hazards, environmental impacts, germ-killing claims, surface incompatibilities, and other factors for 11 common active ingredients, 33 representative disinfectant products, and 24 surface sanitizer products. This “alternatives analysis” also considered non-chemical options such as improved cleaning practices and the use of various tools, such as microfiber mops and electrolyzed water devices.

The study recommends active ingredients and specific products for general disinfection as well as for special purposes such as locker rooms (athlete’s foot fungus), bloodborne pathogens (HIV and hepatitis), and stomach flu (norovirus).

Download the report

bleach-free report

2013 Update: Bleach-Free Disinfection and Sanitizing for Child Care - January 2013

RPN provided technical support for this SF Environment update to a 2008 pilot project to study bleach-free disinfectants and sanitizers in child care centers and family child care homes.

Many child care operators are moving away from bleach as their primary disinfectant and sanitizer because it has been recognized as an asthmagen, meaning a substance that can cause new asthma.

The 2013 Update is a how-to guide for converting a single site to a bleach-free environment, replicating this intervention on a larger scale, and assuring that a child care site is prepared for communicable disease outbreaks.

Download the report


Model Contracts


Massachusetts' Multi-State Contract for Green Cleaning Products, Programs, Equipment, and Supplies (FAC85) - March 2015

FAC85 offers a broad selection of environmentally preferable cleaning products, including janitorial paper goods, entryway systems, equipment, trash liners, and specialty items/technologies. This contract can be used by state agencies, local governments, educational institutions, and other public entities and nonprofit organizations in the following states: Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont (and in other states, by request). The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the State of New York, and RPN received an award for this model green cleaning procurement initiative from the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC) in 2016.

  • FAC85 Contract User Guide: This guide provides a general summary of the contract, outlines pricing/purchase options, includes a vendor list, and reviews benefits and cost savings associated with the contract.

  • FAC85 Green Cleaning Products Frequently Asked Questions: This guide provides basic facts about FAC85, and answers frequently asked questions about the benefits of buying from the Statewide Contract and using green cleaning products.

  • Approved Green Products List for FAC85: This is an approved list of green cleaning products that contains all the products offered on FAC85. The purpose of this list is to assist users in finding and comparing green cleaning products, supplies, and equipment. The link will take you to the Master MBPO for FAC85 in COMMBUYS, where all contract documents are located, and choose the file titled “FAC85 Approved Products List.”

  • Attachment A: Mandatory Specifications and Desirable Criteria for FAC85: The FAC85 sourcing team developed mandatory specifications and desirable criteria for all products offered on FAC85. For a product to be listed, it must meet these environmentally preferable specifications.

View the contract and supporting documents


Oregon-Washington Green Cleaning Supplies Contract - July 2013

In 2013, Oregon and Washington developed a Request for Proposals (RFP) with support from RPN under a NASPO contract for environmentally preferable Janitorial Supplies, Industrial Papers, Equipment, and Incidental Services. Oregon awarded four cooperative Price Agreements (3400-3403) that offer thousands of low-toxicity, recycled-content, and other “green” products in seven categories: (1) cleaning and building maintenance chemicals, (2) hand soaps/sanitizers, (3) waste can liners, (4) janitorial paper products, (5) cleaning supplies and related custodial equipment, (6) powered janitorial equipment, and (7) compostable food service ware.

A press release on this contract can be found here. Solicitation requirements and price agreements can be accessed via the ORPIN procurement website by searching for the contract title or contract #s 3400-3403. These contracts are available to all political subdivisions in Oregon through July 30, 2018.

Washington State’s Green Janitorial/Industrial Paper price agreements can be accessed on the Washington Department of Enterprise Services’ website under Contract #00812.




RPN Webinar: Learning to Clean With Safer Chemicals: How Baltimore City Public Schools is Developing a Districtwide Green Cleaning Program - May 3, 2017

Hear first-hand how Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPS) — with RPN's help — has been creating a green cleaning program for nearly 180 school buildings, including developing a Cleaning for Health Toolkit. This webinar highlights the steps BCPS took to protect the health of students, teachers, and custodial staff by:

  • Evaluating and choosing certified low-toxicity cleaning products and safer disinfectants,

  • Conducting a green cleaning pilot test to evaluate product performance,

  • Securing lower prices by using a national cooperative purchasing agreement,

  • Starting to roll out the program districtwide,

  • Training its custodial staff and contractors, and

  • Adopting a Sustainability Policy and Green Cleaning Procedures.

This webinar featured:

  • Alicia Culver, Executive Director, RPN

  • Joanna Pi-Sunyer, Green Schools Coordinator, Baltimore City Public Schools

  • Kelly Panciera, RPN (moderator)

Download the slides


RPN Webinar: Safer Disinfectants - May 14, 2014

Is your organization interested in transitioning to safer disinfectants? Listen to the RPN webinar that highlighted best practices for safer disinfecting strategies, complete with program recommendations.

This webinar covered:

  • Environmental and health risks associated with conventional disinfectants

  • Availability, benefits and efficacy of safer products

  • Strategies for purchasing and using safer disinfectants

  • Case studies of childcare centers and schools that have successfully transitioned to safer disinfecting methods

This webinar featured:

  • Chris Geiger, Green Purchasing Manager, San Francisco Department of the Environment

  • Alicia Culver, Executive Director, RPN

  • Karen Cohn, Program Manager, Children's Environmental Health Promotion Program, SF DPH

Download the video