In 2009, the City of Yarra in Victoria launched a two-year Green Cleaning Project, engaging independent consultancy, Fresh Green Clean to lead and evaluate the process.
This project proved that not only is green cleaning possible, viable and effective, but the benefits far outweigh the time it takes to ensure green cleaning processes are being implemented.
Yarra City Council instigated the project to ensure green cleaning contract specifications were being understood and implemented across all council premises – and that these practices were continually improving during the cleaning contract period.
Project stakeholders included the managers and team leaders from the council buildings and the cleaning contractors responsible for cleaning them.
This multi-stakeholder behaviour-change program occurred in four stages: set guidelines and benchmarking; educate, communicate and implement; conduct improvement trials; measure and promote outcomes.
Confusion as to what ‘green cleaning’ actually means, and the perception that green cleaning products compromise performance and profit.
Green cleaning is the use of cleaning methods that can demonstrate hygienically clean outcomes and a substantially reduced risk to health and impact on the environment.
What made this project so ground breaking was the extent to which council’s building managers and the cleaning contractors investigated new and innovative products and processes; and in doing so, forged meaningful partnerships between council staff, contractors and the building occupants.
The financial, social and environmental benefits delivered by this project far exceeded all expectations; the council is keen to ensure this legacy lasts.
Green cleaning initiatives can achieve significant savings in resources and money, but systems need to be in place to measure and monitor results.
Auditing existing cleaning products and processes against a defined benchmark is essential in order to guide and measure improvements, and to select innovations.
Independent facilitation and advice were essential elements in breaking down the traditional barriers between contractors and clients and instigating working partnerships.