Some experts believed at the time that green cleaning was nothing more than a fad. Further, if it did take off, at best only about twenty percent of all the cleaning solutions sold in the U.S. would be environmentally preferable. The rest would be the traditional cleaning solutions the industry has used for decades.
When contacted in the early 2000s by a leading advocate for green cleaning, we were asked to help turn things around.
Our task was three-fold:
- Promote the value of green cleaning solutions
- Suggest that while traditional cleaning solutions had served us well, there were now ways to clean facilities that had a reduced impact on the user and the environment
- Boost brand awareness for the advocate
We began by getting familiar with green cleaning solutions. At that time, only a handful of chemical manufacturers produced them. While our job was to promote that these cleaning solutions had a reduced impact on the environment, we also had to examine some of the problems with green cleaning solutions and what was keeping them from being more widely adopted.
For instance, invariably, they were more expensive than traditional cleaning solutions. A big stumbling block. Also, they were not always as effective. Making matters worse, green certification programs were in their early stages and offered few consistent standards. This complicated our job because at that time, it was not clear what a green cleaning solution was and what it was not.
To address these issues, we prepared a stream of articles pointing out many of the health-related problems with traditional cleaning solutions. To back up our claims, we turned to research studies that concluded that while these products were effective at removing soils and contaminants, there was a price to pay. Continuing to use traditional products could negatively impact the health of the user and the environment.
On the other side of the coin was the cost issue. What we discovered is that many green cleaning solutions of the day were highly concentrated. This meant a little would go a long way, helping to mitigate the costs. We pointed this out in a variety of different ways, from article placements to news stories.
As to the performance issues, time was on our side. Each year, new products were being introduced into the professional cleaning industry. Invariably, these products outperformed earlier versions and, very often, were less costly to boot.
But the big breakthrough came in the mid-2000s when school districts around the country started requiring that only certified green cleaning solutions be used in their schools. While we certainly cannot take credit for this, what we can say is the following:
- The stream of articles we prepared for this client helped produce greater awareness of green cleaning and their benefits, particularly that these products were healthier to use, especially in schools.
- We helped promote our client. At that time, the client had been making his mark in the industry as the leading advocate for environmentally preferable cleaning solutions, tools, and equipment. The ongoing article placements – under his name – helped speed that along.
In time, the client and his organization turned their focus to sustainability. We followed right behind, explaining to different industry sectors what sustainability was all about and the value it brought to the table, including reduced costs.
In time, the professional cleaning industry became much more sustainability-focused, as did several other sectors. Our client, we are happy to report, is thriving and has become quite well known. We are proud to know that AlturaSolutions played a significant role in this client’s success.