Green Living

Welcome to the Green Schools Portal.

Calling all students, parents, teachers, school staff, and school administrators!
You have the power to green your school.

Small green changes can significantly improve student and staff health and performance, decrease your community's environmental footprint, and reduce school operating costs. To help you achieve these benefits, we have gathered useful information for implementing Green-Your-School Tactics:

Sustainability Literature

Please find all of Green Seal's literature that relates to sustainability in schools here.

Green Seal is implementing an initiative to go paperless at various trade shows and events including Smart and Sustainable Campuses Conference and Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

We are encouraging conference participants not to take our printed literature and instead take a photo of the literature or of a special link - www.greenseal.org/greenschools - that takes them to this page where they are directed to download the literature.

Benefits of a Greener School - Through Green Cleaning

Purchasing greener products and implementing a green cleaning program in your school can have the following benefits:
Improved Indoor Air Quality
52% reduction in airborne dust
59% decrease in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s)
40% reduction in bacteria
  Reduced Incident of Illness 
24% reduction in reported illnesses
34% fewer reported doctor visits
46% fewer days absent from schools 2











Savings:
Northern Tioga County School District (Pennsylvania) saved nearly $20,000 in one year by eliminating aerosols and other hazardous cleaning products.3

“Ounce for ounce, aerosols often are more expensive than other cleaning solutions and emit harmful fumes that are inhaled by building occupants.”
3

Learn more:
Check out our Green Cleaning Benefits for Schools [PDF] to learn more about the health, environmental, cost, and recruitment/enrollment benefits of green cleaning.

References

1. Indoor Environment Characterization Of A Non-Problem Building: Assessment of Cleaning Effectiveness, US EPA,, March 1994
2. Leonard R. Krilov, MD, Impact Of An Infection Control Program In A Specialized Preschool, American Journal of Infection Control, 1996:24:167-173
3. Connecticut Foundation on Environmentally Safe Schools, “Green Cleaning in Schools is Cost Effective,” October 2008


Greener Purchases

Most schools or school districts have a procurement officer who is in charge of purchasing all necessary items such as cleaning products, office supplies, and sometimes even food~! Many procurement officers choose to purchase Green Seal-certified products. Some states and counties pass legislation and/or develop Environmentally-Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Guidelines to mandate the purchase of third-party certified products and services, and many EPPs specifically reference Green Seal (see where Green Seal is referenced in state government EPPs).

Why Purchase Green Seal-Certified Products for Your School?

1. GS-certified products WORK. 2. The products are safer for you. 3. And the products are better for the environment. See more details within the chart below. 
Cleaning
General Cleaning

 • Concentrated product
    means less packaging and   
    transportation impacts
 • Non-toxic to humans
 • Not
formulated with carcinogens,
   and has minimal VOCs
 • Biodegradable and non-toxic to the environment
 • Packaging is recycled, recyclable, or significantly minimized

Specialty Cleaners
 
 • Concentrated product means
   less packaging and transportation impacts
 • Non-toxic to humans and the
   environment and has minimal
   VOCs
 • Meets social responsibility
   and sustainable manufacturing
   requirements
 • Packaging is refillable, significantly minimized, recyclable, or contains
   post-consumer content

Laundry  

 • Concentrated product means less
   packaging and transportation
   impacts
 • Protects human & environmental
   health: Product is non-toxic to
   humans and the environment and
   has minimal VOCs
 • Meets social responsibility and
   sustainable manufacturing
   requirements
 • Packaging is refillable, significantly minimized, or contains post- consumer content and is recyclable


Hand Soap

 • Non-toxic to humans
 • Not a skin irritant
 • Formulated without  
   carcinogens
 • Has minimal VOCs

 • Non-toxic to the environment
   and is biodegradable
 • Packaging is recyclable or
   significantly minimized

    




Paper, Tissue, and Packaging
Bathroom Tissue

 • Non-toxic for people

 • Biodegradable
 • Processed without chlorine
 • Recycled/minimized packaging
 • Contains a significant amount of
   post-consumer content

Writing and Printing Paper
 
• Contains a significant amount  
   of post-consumer content
 • Processed without chlorine
 • Strict limits on heavy metals
Learn more!
Find GS-certified products.


Food Packaging
 • Minimum recycled content of 45%  
 • Processed without chlorine or chlorine compounds
 • Minimum volume to weight ratio
 • Compostable  
 • Packaging does not contain heavy metals
Windows

Coming Soon
 
Paints and Coatings

Coming Soon 
Adhesives

Coming Soon 

Green Cleaning

"Health protection was, and always will be, the primary benefit of cleaning," - Dr. Michael Berry.

Purchasing greener products is a vital first step toward safer indoor air and a reduced environmental footprint. Many schools are also recognizing that a well-trained staff, guided by clear, science-based cleaning procedures, is essential to ensuring a healthier, safer, and low enviro-impact school.

To help your school custodial staff recognize and apply best practices, download our Cleaning Service Standard (GS-42). Some schools and school districts have opted to get their services GS-42 certified to ensure effective green cleaning. Achieving GS-42 certification and using the Green Seal Certification Mark helps these cleaning teams demonstrate their sustainability leadership to their students, parents, and others in their community.

Schools proudly display their Green Seal Certification Mark to applaud their custodians' exemplary services and to inform the community about the importance of healthy indoor air quality. See below for a list of schools that have already achieved GS-42 certification and our full list of GS-42 certified services across the US. Watch the University of Maryland Facilities Team and students talk about the significance of being GS-42 certified and sustainability leadership on campus.



Green Food Services

Just this year, Green Seal released the Standard for Restaurants and Food Services (GS-55) for sustainability leadership. We currently have nearly ten restaurants certified in Chicago, and have received interest from many colleges and universities around the US.

The criteria categories include: sustainably-sourced food, waste minimization, use of environmentally-preferable products, and conservation of energy and water.

Learn more: Download GS-55 to find out how your school food services can reduce their environmental footprint of their operations. Do you live or plan to visit Chicago? Lower your environmental impact by choosing a GS-certified restaurant.

Green Seal Schools - GS-42 Certified!

We Certify Sustainability Leaders! The following schools' cleaning services have achieved Green Seal certification to  GS-42.
 


 

“The Green Seal certification process has certainly been a great opportunity to enhance our knowledge and awareness of green cleaning. The criteria advanced by Green Seal helped us implement environmentally sound practices and enhance overall care of our buildings,” - Olivia Claus, Manager of Custodial Services for Howard County Schools.  (CleanLink)

Our Green School Partners Click on an organization's graphic below to learn more about their school-focused programs.
     

 
   


                   

Useful Links and Literature

Green Seal, in partnership with Siemens Industry, Inc. developed a guide that provides information on best practices for cleaning procedures and products that are effective at removing contaminants without adding unwanted substances to the environment or otherwise causing harm.

Call to Action

  • Find out who purchases your school's products 
  • Find out if your school purchases third-party certified products (cleaning, paper, paint, etc.)
    • If yes: Applaud! And spread the news about your school's sustainability leadership.
    • If no: Begin the conversation. Talk about the benefits of going green: better indoor air quality, reduced environmental impact, possible cost savings, etc. Need more information? Check out the literature above, or email greenseal@greenseal.org. We can help!
  • Next step: Talk about cleaning and food services. Look into our Cleaning Service Standard (GS-42) and our Standard for Restaurants and Food Services (GS-55) to learn about best practices, and help your school apply these procedures and adapt greener policies.  

Did you take these actions? Let us know!


We'd love to hear about your successes or learn how we can help with your challenges.

Email: greenseal@greenseal.org.   Tweet: @greenseal.     Post on FB: Like Green Seal on Facebook.

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