ICS Magazine

ISSA '07 show focuses on green cleaning and what it means

December 21, 2007

The widely held consensus at the recent ISSA/Interclean Convention and Trade Show, Oct. 23-26 in Orlando, Fla., is that green is here to stay. But increasingly, the industry is grappling with what exactly that means.

Some argue that it means meeting the strict environmental standards needed to earn green product certification from leading trade groups and testing organizations. Others believe it comes down to taking simple steps, from recycling materials to reducing energy costs.

Whatever the definition, green remained a hot topic of discussion at the four-day show. Dan Rhodes, operations manager for flooring contractor Bonitz Flooring Group in Greenville, S.C., said that green has indisputably become a crucial part of his business. “Green is definitely emerging more in the industry,” he said. “I remember when LEED certification and green awareness started, no one really paid attention. Now it’s an everyday part of business.”

For many exhibitors, products and programs highlighting green benefits were prominent features of their booth. At the front of the Procter&Gamble Professional exhibit, the company set up a computer to showcase its www.greenguarantee.com Web site, which touts the company’s environmental practices. Alex Morgan, P&G Professional’s assistant brand manager, noted that green remains an important selling point in the market.

“Showing consumers your green philosophy is a necessity,” he said. “But everyone today seems to have a green message, so it’s important to state precisely what your environmental practices are and what they mean.”

Tennant Co. showcased what it believed was a breakthrough in green cleaning with its new ech2o (pronounced “echo”) technology. The ech2o system is designed to ionize ordinary tap water into two charged streams. The charge, which lasts for 45 seconds, effectively lifts dirt without the need for cleaning chemicals. Additionally, after 45 seconds, the charge dissipates and the water can be safely disposed of at the end of the cleaning cycle.

Despite advances in green cleaning, K. Mark Kling, vice president of sales and marketing for DSC Products & Laboratories, said it is important to take green claims with a grain of salt.

“A lot of the chemistry out there hasn’t changed in the last 40 years,” he acknowledged. “So a lot of people are just repackaging it and remarketing it. Until we are able to agree on a unified set of standards for the entire industry, there’s going to be a lot of competing information out there.”