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What is Green Seal?

Posted at February 13, 2014 | By : | Categories : News | 2 Comments


Green Seal is an independent, non-profit organization that strives to achieve a healthier and cleaner environment by identifying and promoting products and services that cause less toxic pollution and waste, conserve resources and habitats and minimize global warming and ozone depletion. It works with manufacturers, industry sectors, purchasing groups and governments at all levels to “green” the production and purchasing chain. Mission: to achieve a more sustainable world by promoting environmentally responsible production, purchasing and products.Through its standard setting, certification and education programs, Green Seal:•  Identifies products that are designed and manufactured in an environmentally responsible manner.•  Offers scientific analyses to help consumers make educated purchasing decisions regarding
environmental impacts.

•  Ensures consumers that any product bearing the Green Seal Certification Mark has earned
the right to use it.

•  Encourages manufacturers to develop new products that are significantly less damaging to
the environment than their predecessors.

In the late 1980’s the environmental community felt that after two decades of hard-won litigation and advocacy campaigns, it was time to incorporate a less adversarial approach to industry in the their programs. They decided to initiate in the United States a product ecolabeling program, similar to the ones in Germany and Canada. Ecolabeling helps consumers identify green products. When the Green Seal logo is present on a product, the end user can be assured the product was evaluated by an independent unbiased third party for fourteen different criteria.

Green Seal was founded in 1989 as a non-profit organization and issued the first product certifications in 1992. A number of environmental standards were completed and several major companies applied to have their products evaluated.

Green Seal Services Purchasing 
– Institute or improve green purchasing
– Lists of recommended products
– Standards, criteria and contract language
– Environmental or financial justification for environmental purchases

– Evaluation of building maintenance
– Recommendations for environmental improvement
– Environmental product criteria, service contracts
– Manual for specific operations

– Evaluation and design
– Recommendations for environmental upgrading
– Equipment criteria and recommendations
– Identification of potential savings through environmental improvement

Green Seal Specific Programs Greening Your Government – technical assistance to all levels of government in their purchasing, operations and facilities managementProduct Standards and Certification – development of environmental standards for leadership products in specific categories and certification of products that meet them. Green Seal’s evaluations are based on state-of-the-art science and information using internationally recognized methods and procedures.

Product Recommendations – technical reports on products in a variety of categories giving specific brand recommendations of those that meet screening criteria.

Greening the Lodging Industry – long-term project with hotels and motels to green their operations and purchasing, including certification of specific properties.

Standards and Certification

Green Seal bases its work on thorough, state-of-the-art scientific evaluations using internationally accepted methodologies like ASTM standardized testing. Product evaluations are conducted using a life-cycle approach to ensure that all significant environmental impacts of a product are considered, from raw materials through manufacturing to disposal in creating their standards. Green Seal uses the following 14 specific criteria to evaluate products:

 – Meets performance tests
– No human toxicity
– No carcinogens or reproductive toxins
– No skin/eye corrosivity
– Not a skin sensitizer
– Non-combustible
– Minimal VOCs
 – No aquatic toxicity
– Biodegradable
– No eutrophication
– Use of concentrates
– Safe fragrances
– No endocrine disruptors
– Reduced packaging
Once a standard has been established, Green Seal accepts applications for certification. Products are then evaluated for compliance with the applicable Green Seal standard. The manufacturing facility is then visited to evaluate quality control procedures. Once certified, products are subject to annual monitoring to insure that the product offered for sale continues to meet the Green Seal standard. Certification and yearly renewal fees are charged participating manufacturers.
GS-37 Standard for Industrial & Institutional Cleaners:
Bathroom Cleaners (Green Earth® Peroxide Cleaner) – this category includes products used to clean hard surfaces in a bathroom such as counters, walls, floors, fixtures, basins, tubs, and tile. It includes products that are required to be registered under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), such as disinfectants and sanitizers, but does not include products specifically intended to clean toilet bowls. General-Purpose Cleaners (Green Earth® Daily Floor Cleaner) – this category includes products used for routine cleaning of hard surfaces including impervious flooring such as concrete or tile. It does not include cleaners intended primarily for the removal of rust, mineral deposits, or odors. It does not include products intended primarily to strip, polish, or wax floors, and it does not include cleaners intended primarily for cleaning toilet bowls, dishes, laundry, glass, carpets, upholstery, wood, or polished surfaces. This category does not include any products required to be registered under FIFRA, such as those making claims as sterilizers, disinfectants, or sanitizers. Glass Cleaners (Green Earth® Glass Cleaner) – this category includes products used to clean windows, glass, and polished surfaces. This category does not include any products required to be registered under FIFRA, such as those making claims as sterilizers, disinfectants, or sanitizers.

Carpet Cleaners – this category includes products used to clean carpets. The product must perform as well as a nationally recognized product in its category in both cleaning efficiency and re-soiling resistance.

Disinfectants – there is no standard for disinfectants. By nature disinfectants kill bacteria, good and bad. The green community suggests using fewer disinfectants, ones with moderate pH, low VOCs and only in specified areas like ORs, ERs, critical care areas, food service/production, etc.

GS 40 Floor-Care Products, Finishes and Compatible Strippers

Finishes (Green Earth® Floor Finish and Green Earth® Prelude) – will include floor finish designed to polish, protect or enhance floor surfaces by leaving a protective wax, polymer or resin coating that is designed to be periodically removed (stripped) and reapplied. The finish must meet normal performance criteria such as, stripability; slip resistance, resistance to black heel marking, etc. Certified finishes will contain no heavy metals like zinc.

Strippers (Green Earth® Finish Stripper) – the floor finish stripper is defined as a product designed to remove floor finish through breakdown of the finish polymers or by dissolving or emulsifying the finish, polish or wax. This standard does not address general purpose cleaners that can be used to clean floors, floor sealers, spray buffing products or products designed to remove floor wax solely through abrasion.

GS 42 Environmental Standard for Cleaning Services

This standard will establish requirements for cleaning service providers, including in-house and external cleaning services, to create a Green Cleaning program that protects human health and the environment. Green Cleaning encompasses all indoor activities typically required to clean commercial, public and industrial buildings. This standard does not include maintenance of exterior areas or residential buildings.

Cleaning Service Providers will develop and maintain a set of written guidelines or Standard Operating Procedures that govern the cleaning procedures, chemical handling and tracking requirements, equipment maintenance and operation procedures, communication protocols and requirements, training and inspection programs and reporting and record keeping procedures.

GS 41 Hand Soaps (Clario Green Earth® Foam and Lotion Soaps)

This standard establishes criteria for industrial and institutional hand soaps. The standard does not apply to hand cleaners used in households, for preparation operations or medical facilities, nor do they cover anti-bacterial hand cleaners or hand sanitizers. Criteria for hand cleaners in this standard include:
Perform as well or better than conventional hand cleaners.
Are biodegradable and have limited toxicity to aquatic life.
Are packaged in recyclable packaging, ideally incorporating recycled content.
Have eliminated ingredients considered likely to negatively impact health and the environment.

Other Green Seal Standards relevant to the JanSan Industry
GS 01 – tissue paper
GS 08 – household cleaners
GS 09 – paper towels and paper napkins
GS 11 – powdered laundry bleach
GS 33 – lodging properties

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