All posts by BZACE

Hooray for Handwashing Story Book and Music Tracks, American Cleaning Institute

Hooray for Handwashing

Hand hygiene education materials for teaching pre-school children when to wash their hands and why it’s important. These include digital copies of the storybook, coloring sheets, music tracks (mp3) and sheet music:

Hooray for Handwashing storybook

“Blowing Smoke” Can Be Life Threatening, by Fred Broder

  Despite living in homeless shelters or in a car, with her mother and siblings for the past four years, Chelsea Fearce, graduated, this month, from Charles Drew High School, in Georgia, as Valedictorian of her class.
 She often studied at night by the light provided from a cell phone. Chelsea refused to allow her circumstances to serve as an excuse, alibi or justification for being anything but the best.
For every Chelsea that refuses to be denied, dissuaded or deterred from pursuing and achieving his/her dreams, there seems to be a ten fold number of people who prefer to “blow smoke”.
 That is a politically correct phrase to describe the self talk and interactive talk they engage in to rationalize their laziness, procrastination,  inaction and underperformance.
It’s a fact, some people are born with the proverbial ” silver spoon” and others are born into unbelievably difficult situations.
Your starting point is not based on “fairness”.
It’s what you do with the cards you are dealt that is the true measure of you as a person.
Do you have an “I will” attitude or are you busy “blowing smoke”?
Helen Keller overcame being blind and deaf to become an educated, inspirational proponent of women’s rights.
Winston Churchill overcame a stuttering problem and poor school perfomance to become one of the most significant political figures in history.
Wilma Rudolph, the 20th of 22 children overcame polio, scarlet fever and double pneumonia to win three Gold Medals, in track, in the 1960 Rome Olympics.
 J.K. Rowling, born poor and a single mother living on govenment assistance, was turned down by most publishers when she wrote her first Harry Potter book.
  How Well Do You Handle Adversity In Your Life?
 Here Are A Few Tips:
  • Be aware of, and accept that, in life, adversity is inevitable
  • Prepare yourself mentally and physically to aggressively respond to adversity
  • Create a support system of family and friends
  • Take comfort and learn from others who have faced similar adversity
  • Control your emotions and analyze your adversity and options as objectively as possible
  • Create and have a plan, timeline, tactics and resources to address your challenge
  • Focus and implement your plan with confidence
  • Be realistic, there is no guarantee that you will overcome the adversity 
  • If unsuccessful, regroup. Review your options, in light of your new reality
  • Move Forward, Move Forward!!!- You Are Resilient!!!!!!
“Adversity has the effect of drawing out strengths and qualities of a man that would have lain dormant in its absence.”
“You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you. “ Walt Disney
” The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.”                 Dutch Proverb                     

You know that smoke, both direct and secondary, is detrimental to your health.
What you may not know is that ” Blowing Smoke”- (“BS”) is also quite dangerous and life threatening.
The excuses, lies, projections, the “victim mentality” that too many unhappy, unsuccessful people employ, in both their personal and professional lives, is basically,”BS”.
 “Blowing Smoke” may be indicative of immaturity and an unwillingness to be accountable.
Adults possess self confidence, commitment passion.
Adults have the will to fight, rebound, get bloodied, and confront adversity.
Dr. Broder, Your Attitudinal “Surgeon General” says:
Stop Blowing Smoke and Stop Inhaling the Secondary “Smoke ” of others!
 It may Adversly affect your attitude, your behavior, your life!
In addition to preparing several, speaking, sales and managment programs, I will be the guest speaker, for the 5th time, for the passengers of the Queen Mary 2 Cruise Ship the first week of July.
 I am booking programs for 2013 and 2014. Please contact me if you or someone you know might want to discuss my serving as a resource. As always, I welcome and encourage your feedback.
Until Next Time,
Fred Broder,


Hard Surface Hygiene, Advice from the Experts!



Clean homes. Clean workplaces. Clean schools. We’re all drawn to the clean we can “see.” But we also know that just because something looks clean, doesn’t mean it really is clean.

For decades, the American Cleaning Institute in the United States and the Canadian Consumer Specialty Products Association in Canada have been leaders in educating the public on the role of disinfecting and sanitizing in preventing the spread of illness- causing germs. You can’t see germs — like Salmonella,

E. coli, or Influenza. But “pathogenic,” or disease-causing, germs can be alive and thriving on surfaces all around you — at home, at work and at school. And as we continue to hear words
like “pandemic” more frequently in the news — the idea of disinfecting and sanitizing the surfaces we touch becomes even more top-of-mind.


Disinfecting and Sanitizing Products

Products formulated to kill germs on surfaces at home, at work and at school.

American Cleaning InstituteSM

Supporting Public Health for over 80 Years

The soap and detergent industry cares about safe and proper use of its products. In fact, the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) has been educating consumers on topics such as hand and home hygiene for over three quarters of a century.

This Fact Sheet explains the purposes and proper usage of disinfecting and sanitizing products. When used properly, these products play an important role in helping to ensure that our homes are clean and our families are healthy.

In the Kitchen

In the Bathroom

At the Office

In the Classroom

You’ve just finished cutting up your gourmet chicken, and it’s ready for herbs and spices worthy of your most important dinner guests. But as you’ve been working away, the discarded packaging — and the various kitchen tools you’ve used — have been dripping raw chicken juice all over your counter. These germs have the potential of being the dinner guests who “just won’t leave”! In fact, once they’ve settled on your kitchen countertops, they’ll stay to mingle with your salad and whatever else you’re preparing there. Ready to show them the door?

Bathroom germs: no one wants to even think about them. But in fact, studies show bathrooms top kitchens as the cleanest room in a house.1 Surprised? Maybe not. Moms with small children say they clean the family bathroom just about everyday, for reasons they don’t necessarily even want to discuss. Which room tops your “Most Cleaned List”?

Face it: your desk is a bacteria cafeteria. You work at it, eat at it, and may even feel like you live at it — but if you’re like most people, cleaning it is likely the last thing on your mind. But once germs make their way into an office, they can spread like the latest merger rumor. The “bad-guy” lineup starts with germs on telephones, followed by those inhabiting desks, water fountain handles, microwave door handles and computer keyboards. What germs are living on your mouse?

Ask any teacher and they’ll tell you: when one child comes to school sick, illness can spread through the classroom like wildfire. Germs
live on the surfaces the kids touch everyday: desktops, computer mice, the pencil sharpener, paper towel dispenser handles, faucet handles on classroom sinks and the doorknob to the classroom. Chances are that more than learning and new ideas are being shared at school!

Hand washing is the first step to staying healthy, but there is more that can be done. Germs are spread by touching surfaces, so while you can’t — or shouldn’t — try to control every germ in your environment, it makes good sense to defend against the germs that can make you sick.

1 P. Rusin, P. Orosz-Coughlin and C. Gerba. 1998. Reduction of fecal coliform, coliform and heterotrophic plate count bacteria in the household kitchen and bathroom by disinfection with hypochlorite cleaners. J. Applied Microbiology. 85:819-828. 

What about Public Places?

When you’re not at home, you don’t have control over how often — or how well — surfaces have been cleaned. So try to avoid touching surfaces that could harbor large numbers of germs whenever possible . . . and take extra care in practicing diligent hand cleaning behaviors.


Ten Reasons to Have Carpets Cleaned Year Round, from

Ten Reasons to Have Carpets Cleaned Year Round

As the weather warms and people head outdoors, it is important that custodial departments don’t lose sight of what needs to be done inside. There are many reasons why carpets should not be neglected. Doug Berjer product manager for CFR, manufacturers of recycling portable carpet extractors, offers these top ten reasons to have carpets cleaned year round.

Properly cleaning and maintaining carpets:

1. Prolongs the life of carpeting. Regular carpet cleaning using the extraction method can increase the life of carpets significantly, protecting your floor-covering investment.

2. Protects indoor air quality. Carpets trap airborne pollutants; however, eventually those pollutants must be removed in order to protect the carpet and maintain indoor air quality.

3. Makes carpets easier to maintain. Most carpet soiling is made up of dry soils; when carpets are kept thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis, most dry soils can be removed with regular vacuuming.

4. Removes spots and stains. As with other soils, spots and stains can attract more soiling. Removing them promptly protects carpeting from damage.

5. Prevents buildup of allergens and bacteria. Moist soiling of carpets can result in the buildup of several unhealthy contaminants.

6. Enhances the appearance of any room. Clean, well-maintained carpets speak volumes about the overall cleanliness of a home or facility.

7. Improves worker morale. Workers feel better about their work environment when it is clean. This includes the carpeting.

8. Makes carpeting look and feel clean and fresh.

9. Removes dust mites and bedbugs that may have found a home in carpets.

10. Maintains the carpet’s warranty. Most carpet warranties require that carpets be cleaned using the extraction method within a specific amount of time, usually every 12 to 18 months.


Green Guides Updated by Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

Green Guides Updated by FTC

By Dan Weltin, Editor-in-Chief of Sanitary Maintenance and Contracting Profits magazines, sister publications to Housekeeping Solutions

The terms “green” and “environmentally friendly” are common vernacular in the cleaning industry; unfortunately they are often loosely applied and lead to greenwashing. The latest revisions of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Green Guides should put an end to misleading environmental marketing claims.

“The introduction of environmentally friendly products into the marketplace is a win for consumers who want to purchase greener products and producers who want to sell them,” says FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, in a press release. “But this win-win can only occur if marketers’ claims are truthful and substantiated.”

First introduced in 1992 to help marketers avoid making misleading claims, the Green Guides were revised in 1996 and again in 1998. However, a lot has changed in the last 14 years and the new rules, released in 2012, include new guidelines for environmental claims that were not common in 1998.

Product manufacturers are updating their marketing materials to comply with the new guidelines. Distributors, too, will soon follow suit, making sure their catalogs, brochures and even sales pitches are up-to-date — or face stiff penalties. It is important that custodial managers familiarize themselves with these changes in preparation for future purchases.

Defining Green Claims

The purpose of the Green Guides is to eliminate greenwashing. The best way to do that is by making product claims as precise as possible. The most notable change to the 2012 Green Guides is that marketers are discouraged from using broad terms such as “green” or “environmentally friendly.” The FTC wants manufacturers and marketers to qualify such vague statements with specific environmental attributes. This will help purchasers easily identify those products that have a minimal impact on the environment.

“A term like ‘environmentally friendly’ is inherently deceptive and misleading,” says Arthur Weissman, CEO of Green Seal, Washington, D.C. “The FTC appreciates that all products have some environmental impact. Products can’t be all positive.”

The FTC wants marketers to clearly explain why a product would be considered a better alternative for the environment than other products currently on the market. The Green Guides outline acceptable criteria for a number of environmental claims (see sidebar on page 16).

For example, if products are promoted as “free-of” a harmful ingredient, there can’t also be an ingredient in the product that is of equal harm. In addition, a free-of claim can’t be made for an ingredient that has never been associated with the product.

In accordance to the new Green Guides, these substantiated claims need to be prominently displayed on product labels and marketing materials.

Broad terms like “green” and “eco-friendly” are so common in the cleaning industry that it will take time to get used to avoiding such vague descriptors. But ultimately, custodial managers will benefit because they will know the exact environmental benefits of a product.

“This is an opportunity for the cleaning industry to be more specific and really communicate what the environmental benefit of the product, service or operation is,” says Dr. Angela Griffiths, director of research and service delivery at UL Environment, Marietta, Ga.

While the Green Guides ask for specificity with environmental claims, it does not define “sustainability.” The FTC lacked guidance or accurate use of the term, according to a press release.

DAN WELTIN is the editor-in-chief of Sanitary Maintenance and Contracting Profits magazines, sister publications to Housekeeping Solutions.

Ozone, the cleaning change we can live with…By Don Tracy, A.C.E., Gem Supply Company

Nobody likes change……

Someone once said…”nothing is constant but change”

So here’s a change, I believe is long overdue and should revolutionize the way we clean buildings.

 Aqueous Ozone Cleaning”

Aqueous ozone (the process of turning water into a powerful cleaner) has been used commercially for over a century and is now widely used to sanitize drinking water, fresh produce, beverage bottles, swimming pools and surgical instruments.  Because of its power, purity and regulatory approvals, aqueous ozone is the sanitizer of choice for the bottled water industry.

Ozone is readily found in nature. Lightning can create it,  and it is needed in our atmosphere to maintain balance. Remember the fresh “storm smell” you may have experienced after a summer thunder storm, that was ozone. We have used it to get rid of odors in the air for years.  It (Ozone) is now able to be stabilized in a water solution for up to 24 hours without dissipation, and used to clean and sanitize any surface, not affected by water.

I believe this system of cleaning is about to change our industry for the better.

Remember when…….

o   Machine technology, coupled with floor care products?  …..changed and made more efficient the processes we now use to keep our floors protected and beautiful.

o   the introduction of package-sealed soap systems, originally introduced back in the 80’s? ……..changed forever the dispensing of hand cleaners.

o   Microfiber was introduced for wiping surfaces? ……. changed and improved our cleaning processes dramatically.

All were “game changers” for the Jan-San industry.  Much has been written regarding the effect of ozone, but not on a cleaning level.  Ozone, when properly controlled and infused into water becomes a powerful cleaner, by oxidizing all bacteria and organic soil it contacts.  The challenge, up to this point in time, has been how to stabilize it in an aqueous solution.  Ozone generation has been used and accepted to eliminate odors in the air for years. So we understand it’s attributes. However there have been many companies, who have tried to introduce it into aqueous cleaning, and fell short due to the short life cycle of the ozone molecule.

Recently great strides have been made to keep it stable in water for up to 24 hours, which makes a wonderful cleaner for any type of surface, not affected by water.Imagine the freshness of ozone cleaning working in a restroom, locker room, or health club. Schools and Universities are implementing this process daily. Hospitals are using it to clean non-critical areas, with remarkable success. You can smell the “freshness” of areas cleaned without harsh chemicals, and feel confident knowing they are sanitized and clean.  Workers will no longer have to be negatively affected by the fumes or irritating skin problems associated with the use of harsh chemicals.  Allergies and asthma are triggered by the introduction of cleaning chemicals into the closed indoor environment.  When properly used, Ozone cleaning has none of those negative traits.

Ozone cleaning is as close to truly GREEN cleaning as I have ever witnessed.  It has finally been proven to work in solution and for those looking for an alternative to the “same ole, same ole” . This is the “next best thing”.  For the first time a building could be advertised as  cleaned with chemical-free cleaning processes only”.   Properly implemented these processes could save budgets, and be widely used to promote and market the healthiness of the buildings.

I see no down-side, other than large chemical companies trying to dissuade.

Believe me, I have made my career on selling chemicals and I understand their vested interest in continuing to use their products.

There will still be areas which will need chemical additives, but a new age is coming.

Having spent over 30 years of cleaning, training and selling within this industry, I believe this is the next great change in the way we look at “clean buildings”.

It will take time to be accepted, but those who understand and research the process, will be far ahead of the others, who say it will never work.

“Clean well, live long and stay healthy”

Don Tracy can be contacted at or by leaving a reply on this Blog.



Is the 5-Second Rule a Myth? Warning: You May Never Look at “Dropped” snacks the same way again!

Is the 5-second rule a myth? Warning: You may never look at ‘dropped’ snacks the same way again.

By Chanie Kirschner Thu, May 30 2013

Everyone has heard of the 5-second rule. You know the one: if a food item drops on the floor and you pick it up within five seconds, it’s still perfectly safe to eat. Undoubtedly invented by a child or teenager anxious to eat the last bite of dessert he accidentally dropped on the floor, the 5-second rule has been accepted and employed by kids and adults just about everywhere. You’ll be dismayed to find out, however, that the rule does not have much scientific credence.

You read that right — that Hershey Kiss you dropped on the floor while you were reading this article? Not as clean as you may assume it to be after having picked it up and popped it in your mouth a mere three seconds after it fell on the floor. (Of course your floor is clean enough, right? Right?) In 2003, high school student Jillian Clarke disproved this rule while doing an internship at the University of Illinois. She found that food picked up E. coli bacteria as soon as it was dropped on a contaminated surface. (Interestingly, but not surprisingly — at least to me — she also discovered that women are more likely than men to eat food that fell on the floor.) The motivated student’s research earned her an Ig Nobel Prize at Harvard University in 2004, awarded to scientists whose research “first makes you laugh, then makes you think.” In 2007, researchers at the University of Clemson at South Carolina took the research a step further to determine if leaving food on the floor longer actually meant more germs would attach to its surface, and if different types of floors carried more or less germs.

Their findings? Not pleasant. They found that bacteria such as salmonella can thrive on floor surfaces like hardwood, tile and carpet for as long as four weeks! They also found that food dropped on these surfaces can pick up anywhere from hundreds to thousands of bacteria. When left for an even longer period of time, say a minute? The number grew to 10 times that amount. Enough to make you stop and think before eating that precious potato chip. (This article is making me hungry …)

Another interesting (and particularly unsavory) point to note: Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona, found in his studies that 93 percent of our shoes contain fecal bacteria on them. That’s because we’re walking everywhere in them — in the grocery store, the parking lot, even the public restroom. And if you wear your shoes in your house, where do you think that fecal bacteria is landing? You bet — right on your kitchen floor. Yet another reason to toss that tasty snack that landed on the floor, no matter how good it’ll taste. Bottom line: Though you may not like it (and you may hear your mother in your ear telling you not to waste food), better to toss the fare from the floor into your garbage can than into your mouth.

Top Five Things To Consider In Infection Control, by Richard DiPaolo

Top Five Things To Consider In Infection Control

Are you looking in the right places to prevent disease outbreaks in your facility?

By Richard DiPaolo, editorial director, CMMOnline
Hot spot cleaning and high touch point cleaning are common phrases used in the professional cleaning industry.

This type of cleaning is universally understood by in-house cleaning departments and building service contractors (BSCs) as strategically identifying areas in a facility that building occupants often “touch” the most, including door knobs, faucets, levers and handles.

While targeting these areas with disinfection processes is a sound practice, cleaners, facility managers and BSCs should realize that more should be involved with hot spot cleaning.

Here are five things we have identified to consider:

  1. See colors with updated equipment. Color-coding equipment, cleaning tools and information is nothing new to the professional cleaning market. Color-coded tools can help workers easily identify where and how to use products and equipment. Red, for instance, is universally used for disinfection or cleaning high-risk areas. Implementing a color-coded system with modern cleaning equipment, such as microfiber cloths, can help all workers, even those with language barriers, from spreading infection from one area to another.
  2. Develop a system to keep dirt, bacteria and germs out of the facility. Especially in an era where doing more with less is the workplace mantra, you must continually assure sick workers and building occupants that it is ideal and in everyone’s best interest for these workers to stay home and heal when sick. In addition, a high performance matting system that consists of 15 feet of matting inside and outside the facility is an effective way to enhance your infection control strategies.
  3. Focus on the floor and other hot spots. Ask people outside this industry where a facility’s most contaminated spots are and many will mention the toilet, urinal or garbage areas. And, while these areas can in fact harbor disease-causing microorganisms, our research shows that cell phones, keyboards, computer mice and desks are in the running to top that list as well. The floor can also be a key contributor to cross-contamination. One would be surprised to learn how many times people have direct and indirect contact with a floor that can continue the chain of cross-contamination.
  4. Use signage and effective hand-washing steps. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still cites effective hand-washing as the number one defense against cross-contamination. Use proper hand-washing techniques, train workers in this area and post signage for building occupants to follow while in wash areas. “A proper hand-washing protocol is necessary to be followed in every location in a facility,” notes Felicia Roy trade advisor for Cascades Tissue Group. “Some obstacles can keep employees from adopting proper hand-washing habits; [for example,] tools are unavailable or inconveniently located; no clear signage or reinforcement exist; the schedule includes high turnover rates; [and] health risks are not understood or recognized by employees due to lack of education. A lot of obstacles can, therefore, be simply addressed by employers.”
  5. Train workers. Our industry has evolved from simply mops, buckets and brooms and, as a result, cleaning workers’ level of education and technical know-how needs to keep pace. There are many training options available in the industry to invest in. Effective cleaning and advanced equipment and products teamed with educated workers will help to lower your facility’s infection risk.

“And, consider the use of newer or more advanced cleaning technologies that are proving to be more effective at removing germs and bacteria from surfaces that can harm human health,” adds John Richter, technical director for Kaivac Inc. “For instance, floor care studies by Dr. Jay Glasel concluded that ‘spray-and-vac’ [no-touch] cleaning methods were 60 times more effective at removing contaminants from floors than traditional or microfiber mops.”*

Cleaning Methods for Ceramic Tile Floors, published on “Controlled Environments,” April 2008.


Ten Tips for Cleaning Schools Over Summer Break from CleanLink News

Ten Tips for Cleaning Schools Over Summer Break

1. Prepare a written plan. Summer break cleaning shouldn’t be “hit or miss.” Have a written plan as to who will tackle which projects and when.

2. Address floor care specifics. Big summer cleanup projects usually involve floor care; before doing any floor-care work, divide the facility into those floor areas that will be stripped/refinished; those that will only be scrubbed; and those that need only detail cleaning.

3. Attend to closet maintenance. Go through janitorial closets and properly discard of any chemicals or other products that have not been used in six months or longer; typically, chemicals should never be stored for more than a year.

4. Go green. For those facilities transferring to a green cleaning strategy, the summer months are an opportune time to start making this transfer. Special green cleaning training may be required during this transition, and summer break can provide that extra time.

5. Equipment issues. Evaluate all cleaning equipment; determine which machines are running properly, which need servicing, and which should be replaced.

6. Evaluate furniture condition. Flag those items that need repair or should be replaced.

7. Tile and grout. The summer months are a perfect time to clean tile and grout floors using floor machines with brushes such as cylindrical brush or “mutitask” systems.

8. Evaluate cleaning protocols. To improve cleaning efficiency and help lower costs, use a workloading program to evaluate all cleaning tasks and frequencies.

9. Replace lightbulbs. Replace all conventional lightbulbs with low-voltage bulbs that not only use less energy but also last as long as a decade.

10. Train, train, train. Summer break is the perfect time for extra training for cleaning professionals.


Stephen Ashkin-Green Cleaning Action Plan

Lights, Camera, Action! Your Green Cleaning Action Plan

By Stephen Ashkin, The Ashkin Group

It is becoming more clear that our economy and environment are inextricably linked: now is the time when we, as a nation and planet, need to come to terms with the fact that this is no longer the world that our grandparents knew.

So, for just one moment, please put your beliefs aside and consider a simple reality of our world, and the world that our children will inherit in 40 years.

The world and changes

My grandparents immigrated to America around 1900.

At that time, there were approximately 1.7 billion people sharing our planet. Today, there are approximately 6.4 billion people, which represent a 375 percent increase in just 100 years.

And in 2050, when my children are my age, there will be approximately 10 billion people sharing our planet.

While it took mankind thousands of years to get to 1.7 billion, we are now adding another billion people approximately every 15 years.

According to the United Nations and the World Resources Institute, the population of developed countries, such as the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan, along with other developed countries, remains relatively stable, while most of the global population growth is coming from developing countries such as India, China and from the African continent.

Here is the challenge: Just 100 years ago, when there were just a couple billion of us, there seemed to be plenty of resources for all to share. But when global population climbs upwards to 10 billion people at the same time developing countries become more affluent, this confluence of events will force us to rethink how we do things.

As these developing countries work to provide better housing, schools and hospitals for their people, the global demand for steel, concrete and other minerals will increase, as will the demand for other products and the natural resources needed for construction.

As their people become more affluent, they will desire many of the same comforts that we take for granted, such as indoor plumbing with hot water on demand and electricity to light, heat and cool their homes, as well as all the gadgets and gismos ranging from computers and cell phones to refrigerators and cooking stoves.

And with these comes the demand for energy and materials to make all this stuff.

Today, in many of the developing countries, people customarily ride bicycles to work or take buses or other means of public transportation. But as they become more affluent, they are likely to be no different from those in developed countries by desiring personal cars, especially when commuting long distances in the rain or snow. And with this comes an increased demand for materials to build the vehicles and the fuels to power them.

And as global population grows to 10 billion, the demand for food and water will increase. If we want to feed all the planet”s people (which all governments in both developed and developing countries desire), we will need to produce more food and to do so using less water as the competition between water for drinking and farming goes global.

Clearly, our world in 2013 is different from that in 1900 due to global population growth and the competition for limited natural resources. This is an inevitable consequence of the increasing population growth.

And the world we are leaving our children and grandchildren will again be different than today because of global population and even greater competition for resources, some of which may be diminishing.

The simple facts

What has changed is not politics or ideology.

Rather, it is the simple fact that there are more mouths to feed, people to clothe and shelter and other basic needs that our children and grandchildren will have to address.

They simply cannot follow the same path for constructing buildings and manufacturing products that previous generations had done when there were so many less of us. Nor can they follow our path for energy use, food and other products.

That is the challenge for our children and grandchildren. The good news is that there are many things that we can do today, both in our businesses and in our own lives, which can really make a difference.

And much of it is good business — good for entrepreneurs.

That”s right. As we reduce our consumption and reduce waste, and use products that have less of a negative impact on the environment, we are making important environmental improvements and saving money.

And at this time in history, these are both terrific goals regardless of politics or ideology.

The rest of this article is your action plan, several specific steps you can take to not only care for the environment, but to create a better business for yourself.

The type of company you run and its size will have an impact on how many of the following points you can implement.

What you can do with your business

Reward sustainable behavior when choosing suppliers. In the end, companies that are taking sustainability seriously and eliminating inefficiencies and waste in everything they do will be better, more financially secure suppliers in the long run.

Use green products and equipment. These can be simple and easy opportunities. Your supplier, no doubt, has a selection of green products and equipment you can choose from, along with marketing materials to help get your message out to your customers.

But be sure to try to reduce consumption of all products and materials. It is not enough to just use “greener” products.

Increase maintenance on equipment so they perform optimally and last longer. For many operations, there are large savings that can be found in these areas, and when equipment lasts longer there are significant environmental benefits as well.

Conserve water in the cleaning process through low-moisture cleaning.

What you can do with your vehicles

Trucks and other vehicles have huge cost implications, as well as environmental impacts in terms of the materials used to make, operate and dispose of them at the end of their life.

Better route planning to eliminate excess mileage and idling and improving maintenance, including easy things such as insuring proper air pressure in tires and alignment, can save money, improve efficiency and extend the life of vehicles.

Many businesses operate a variety of vehicles. If this is your situation, match the size, capacity, performance and other characteristics with the job at hand. Using a vehicle that is larger or smaller than necessary will waste resources, time or both.

Your business “footprint” technically should also include the vehicles operated by your internal personnel as they commute to work, as well as the vehicles used by sales people — even if they are their personal vehicles.

To reduce this footprint and the associated environmental impacts, consider a program to encourage the use of public transportation, carpooling, ride sharing or buying/leasing high-mileage hybrid vehicles.

Another opportunity is to allow some employees, such as those involved in sales or those that have office duties, to periodically work from home. Don”t forget to measure, track and report on these efforts. Not only do they help the environment, but many employees will appreciate these programs, as it increases their job satisfaction and will leave more money in their pocket.

What you can do with your people

What makes sustainability different from an environmental program is its inclusion of issues affecting an organization”s people, and among the first and most important issues in the United States is training, with a focus on effective processes that improve performance and eliminate waste.

So get people involved, empower and motivate them. Share the responsibility, as people want to make a difference. To help them do this, make sure to measure, track and report on at least a monthly basis so they are getting feedback on their performance. For example, report on your vehicle or equipment consumption of fuel. This will encourage employees to conserve.

Beyond training, consider issues including diversity in hiring and equal opportunity for advancement, along with pay and benefits (a growing issue will be a “living wage”).

Most businesses are also good community citizens, and these issues include philanthropy by both the company and by individual employees, volunteerism and similar acts. These should all be measured, tracked and reported.

What you can do with your green marketing

Get involved and get started. Remember that you are attempting to sell your company as an environmentally-friendly option.

Don”t just join and pay membership dues to organizations, such as the U.S. Green Building Council, but participate actively.

Set a goal to join a committee, board of directors or other opportunities to serve.

Look for opportunities to speak about green issues during monthly meetings, as well as opportunities to publish in trade journals, local newspapers and magazines, as these are good ways to build credibility and to prospect for new customers.

From a sales perspective, begin by focusing on green buildings, as these building owners and facility managers understand the issues and have already made the commitment to be green.

Organizations to look for include the members of the U.S. Green Building Council and buildings in their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system (

In addition, there are other “green” organizations representing almost every building segment including homes, schools, hospitals, hotels, restaurants and more. A simple online Internet search will likely help develop an extensive prospecting list. Join local chapters or groups and get involved and get noticed.

When developing your green sales pitch (your position in the marketplace), make sure you don”t intentionally or even inadvertently “greenwash”, which simply means that you are exaggerating the environmental bene-fits that your company or service offers.

To avoid greenwashing, just make sure you can document your claims. So if you say that your service uses X percent less water (or fuel, or whatever) than your competitors or traditional services, have the proof to back up your claim.

When developing your actual marketing literature, consider using recycled paper or, better yet, paper from sustainably managed forests and, of course, print everything two-sided.

And for the pictures to decorate your brochures, consider using people rather than waterfalls or deer leaping through the forest.

After all, the real species we are ultimately trying to protect is human and to make the planet a better place for our children and grandchildren.

Making a difference

The most important takeaway from all of this is that, due to global population growth, our way of doing things must change or we will leave extraordinary burdens for our children and grand- children.

Regardless of political or ideological inclinations, as carpet cleaning, remediation and restoration professionals, making a difference in the world by reducing wastes of all kinds (energy, water, chemicals, vehicles, equipment, people, time, etc.) not only helps to create a better future, but it can help create a better and more profitable business today.