Responsible Purchasing Network

Cleaners: Policies

Educational institutions, cities, states, counties, and an increasing number of other institutions have already passed green cleaning policies. These policies state the social and environmental benefits gained by switching to green cleaners, and typically require the use of products certified by Green Seal and/or Environmental Choice.

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Model Policy

New York, NY. Green Cleaning Law, 2005
On December 20, 2005, the City of New York passed Initiative Number 552-A, a local law requiring the purchase of green cleaning and custodial products, providing a model green cleaning policy.

More Sample Policies


Connecticut, Green Cleaning Executive Order, 2006
All state agencies, higher education agencies, institutions and contracted services associated are required to procure environmentally friendly cleaning products.

New Jersey, Green Cleaning Executive Order, 2006
This order recognizes the release of chemicals used in cleaning products during normal use and calls for the use of more environmentally friendly products, requiring all state agencies to switch to more “health-friendly” products as existing inventories of conventional cleaners run out.

Wisconsin, Executive Order 145, 2006
In order to promote the creation of high performance green building standards and energy conservation, this order has a clause devoted to green cleaning as a sustainable operation and maintenance procedure.

Colorado Executive Order, 2005
This executive order directs state agencies and departments to implement policies to promote environmentally preferable practices. Among these practices, state agencies and departments are directed to adopt the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System for Existing Buildings (USGBC LEED-EB), which requires that cleaning products meet the criteria of the Green Seal standard.

New York, Green Cleaning Executive Order 134, 2005
This executive order applies to all State agencies, departments and public benefit corporations and public authorities. All state agencies must procure and use environmentally preferable cleaning products selected by the Office of General Services (OGS) and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), or made available through cooperative purchasing contracts.


Nassau County, NY, 2006
Expands the use of environmentally friendly, non-toxic cleaning products to the county’s 800 buildings with 9,200 employees.

Multnomah County, OR, Green Cleaning Resolution, 2005
Multnomah County implemented a review of custodial cleaning products and strategies to replace their previous conventional cleaning system. The policy mandates that the switch be cost effective and that a variety of products be required to clean successfully.


Minneapolis, MN, 2007
Low environmental impact cleaning practices are mandated for all office spaces used by the City of Minneapolis.

San Francisco, CA 2005, 2007
San Francisco’s Precautionary Purchasing Ordinance (Chapter 2 of the City’s Environment Code) enabled the creation of approved lists of environmentally preferable products (SF Approved Products). The first SF Approved Products list for janitorial cleaning products was established in 2007.

New York, NY, Green Cleaning Act, 2005
This law requires that a pilot program for green cleaning products be implemented to study the feasibility of a green cleaning program. The pilot should be completed within three years and result in a feasible cleaning program to be effective June 1, 2009.

Chicago, IL, Low Environmental Impact Cleaning Policy, 2004
This order requires that the city use concentrated cleaning products that meet criteria set forth by the Green Seal Standard for Institutional Cleaners (GS-37).


Illinois Cleaning Schools Act, 2007
This act requires that all elementary and secondary public and non-public schools with 50 or more students establish green cleaning policies.

Chicago Public Schools, Green Cleaning Policy, 2005
The Chicago Public Schools adopted the Green Cleaning Policy to eliminate hazardous substances that may deter health, attendance and performance in schools. Products must meet requirements of the Green Seal standard or California VOC limitations.

New York State Public Schools, Green Cleaning Act, 2005
New York was the first state to enact a green cleaning law for schools. The act outlines a list of required green cleaning guidelines and standards established by the state to be used in elementary and secondary schools.


Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines, 2004
The Comprehensive Procurement Guideline Program was designated by the EPA to ensure the use of recycled material in the manufacturing of new products. It details a list of 8 product areas and practices for buying these products and suggested suppliers of these products. The paper and paper products category provides recommended recovered fiber content levels for commercial and industrial sanitary tissues such as paper towels, bathroom tissue, general purpose industrial wipers and paper

Farm Security and Rural Investment Act, 2002
This bill established a mandatory bio-based products purchasing program for all Federal Agencies. A designated list of bio-based products was developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and is located in Section 9002. Paper, packaging, solvents and cleaners are included in this list. The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 were reauthorized in the Food Conservation and Energy Act of 2008.


University Health Network Green Procurement Policy, 2006
The University Health Network is comprised of three hospitals located in downtown Toronto. This policy pushes for the use of products with recycled and minimal packaging. Vendors are required to specify the quantity and type of hazardous materials present with Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). This policy references the Environmental Choice Program (today known as EcoLogo) and Green Seal and explicitly calls for post-consumer recycled content packaging.


Corporate Express Sustainability Policy, 2008
Corporate Express is a Staples company that provides customers with a range of office products, including supplies, technology, furniture, and business services. This policy states the various ways Corporate Express pursues sustainable practices. Many of the commercial cleaning products provided by this company are certified by the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Design for the Environment (DfE) program and Green Seal.

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