Sno-Isle Libraries sustainable cleaning practices ensure healthy indoor environments
MARYSVILLE, Wash. — Sno-Isle Libraries is the first library system in Washington state to use Green Seal-certified cleaning practices.
That’s no small feat, given that a library is much more demanding to clean than an office building, according to Chris J. Andersen of Mukilteo-based ServiceMaster Building Maintenance. The typical office doesn’t have 1,200 to 1,500 customers coming through every day. Nor is it open for extended hours, six or seven days a week.
“On top of that, you add in a lot of children,” Andersen said of the challenge of cleaning libraries. “And lot of high-touch points, whether it’s the computer keyboards in the technology area … whether it’s just handling the doorknobs or the faucets in the restrooms.”
Green Seal is a nonprofit organization that certifies products and services as sustainable. ServiceMaster Building Maintenance has GS-42 certification, which is based on waste minimization, cleaning procedures and effective custodial training for commercial and public buildings. It also requires the use of cleaning products with limits on human and environmental toxicity—in other words, “green.”
To save money, managers of the tax-supported library district decided in 2013 to consolidate custodial services rather than continue to hire separate cleaners for each building. ServiceMaster landed the contract in large part because it is certified by Green Seal. The company cleans 19 of the 21 community libraries in Snohomish and Island counties as well as the library district service center in Marysville.
Restrooms are cleaned twice a day with washable microfiber cloths that are either green or red.
All the cleaning products are scent-free, which is good news for people who are allergic to those added chemicals.
“We want people to come in and not worry about getting sick,” Rush said, adding: “If you have to cover up a smell, it isn’t clean.”
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About Sno-Isle Libraries
Sno-Isle Libraries serves 687,680 residents through 21 community libraries across Snohomish and Island counties, as well as through online library and mobile library services to childcare, preschool and senior centers.
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