Skip to main content

Facilities Planning

Green Cleaning in Schools

State Education Law Section 409-I and State Finance Law Section 163-b required the New York State Office of General Services, in consultation with other State agencies, to develop a list of approved green cleaning products. The product list, as well as the final guidelines for green cleaning products.

The effective date of this legislation is September 1, 2006. Schools were previously provided information and ideas to follow until the approved list of green cleaning products was published. In addition, the publication entitled "Guidelines and Specifications for the Procurement and Use of Environmentally Sensitive Cleaning and Maintenance Products for All Public and Nonpublic Elementary and Secondary Schools in New York State". Included in Section I. Overview is a segment entitled: “F.” “How School Districts Should Use These Guidelines and the List of Approved Cleaning Products to Purchase Green Cleaning Products”:

  1. Schools should use up existing cleaning products inventory. It is not necessary to dispose of non-green inventories after the September 1 implementation date.
  2. Select a specific product category, such as Glass and Window Cleaner, and review the list of approved products for Glass and Window Cleaners.
  3. Review your purchasing procedures and the State Education Department Purchasing Handbook.
  4. Work with your custodial staff to try and test one or more new green products contained on the approved product list. Get feedback from staff and determine if this new product meets your cleaning needs.
  5. Obtain pricing information from the vendor(s).
  6. Use the "Cost Calculator for Green Cleaning Products”. Choose the link for "Cost Calculator for Green Cleaning Products" in the left column. This calculator will allow schools the ability to compare product costs of products with different dilution rates from different manufacturers. 
  7. Require the selected vendor to provide training to staff before products are used.
  8. Follow these procedures until green cleaning products are selected to replace existing products in all of the cleaning categories.
  9. Maintain records of purchases, and what products were replaced. This information will be necessary for reporting requirements mandated by the legislation.

The legislation states that "elementary and secondary schools shall notify their personnel of the availability of such guidelines, specifications and sample lists." Schools should use the approved product list in accordance with their purchasing policies and procedures as well as the State Education Department's Purchasing Handbook.

Most schools are required to first consider Preferred Source vendors, prior to selecting a product from a Non-Preferred Source vendor. For more information on Preferred Source vendors, please see Chapter 5 of the Purchasing Handbook as well as the NYS Preferred Source Guidelines on the Office of General Service website.

Questions concerning the guidelines or the sample list of approved green cleaning products should be directed to the Office of Facilities Planning at or (518) 474-3906 or Kurt Larson, Director of the OGS Environmental Services Unit, at (518) 408-1871.