is a need in the Pacific Northwest for credible and reliable criteria to
distinguish cleaning product formulations that perform and are preferable
with respect to human and environmental health. We refer to those products
as sustainable or “eco-effective"1. In addition, there
is a need for affordable, effective and reliable marketing means to
promote and encourage the use of these sustainable cleaning products.
Unified Green Cleaning Alliance (UGCA) has been formed to support the
development and dissemination of sustainable cleaning formulations into
industry and the marketplace, to generate awareness and demand, and to
make the criteria accessible to a broad audience.
UGCA is founded on the belief that sustainability means maintaining or
improving the health of the built, natural, social and economic
environment, without interfering with the ability of future generations to
do the same. A sustainable community will use its resources to meet
current needs while ensuring that adequate resources are available for
future generations. In order to ensure a sustainable community we must
seek to improve public health and a better quality of life by preventing
pollution, limiting waste, promoting efficiency and maximizing
cleaning products used by cleaning professionals provide four primary
benefits. They improve the health
of the building, maintain safety
workers and building occupants, preserve capital
and assets for the building owners and enhance the overall aesthetics.
At the same time that we acknowledge these benefits, certain
ingredients and formulations result in unintended negative consequences to
human health and/or the environment due in part to the fact that cleaning
is a ubiquitous activity, that it involves close or direct exposure to
cleaning products by cleaning workers and that many cleaning products and
the byproducts of the cleaning process are released to the waste stream,
sewer or to the air either during or after use.
order to retain the beneficial service of cleaning products while
eliminating the negative side-effects, it is necessary to identify those
products, components, and formulations with the least negative impact to
human health and the environment and to encourage innovation in developing
new green chemistries where needed.
The Unified Green Cleaning Alliance has been established to:
packaging, life-cycle assessment and life-cycle cost are all important
components of an effective commitment to eco-effective and sustainable
cleaning products. Thus, cleaning products must be manufactured,
transported, stored, used and disposed of in ways that will protect our
environment and use resources to meet current needs while ensuring that
adequate resources are available for future generations.
The formation of the UGCA is designed to help meet this objective.
Funders and Conveners
project is funded in part by the Environmental Protection Agency’s
Design for the Environment (DfE) Program -
a voluntary pollution prevention, partnership that works with small
and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to help and encourage them to
integrate health and environmental considerations in business decisions
and practices. Working with
formulator companies and other interested parties to improve the human
health and environmental profile of commercial cleaning formulations is an
integral part of the Design for Environment Program’s strategy to
institute environmental-based decision-making and reduce pollution.
1 McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, http://www.mbdc.com
Since the above project was completed much work has been done on rating and certification of green cleaning products. See the following links for more information: