Joanie Hendricks, public relations coordinator for Warren County Public Schools, spoke before the state House Education Committee last week in support of House Bill 146, which would encourage school districts to use green cleaning products.
The Kentucky U.S. Green Building Council worked with state Rep. Carl Rollins, D-Midway, to introduce the bill and wanted a school district representative to speak in favor of it, said Joan Pauly, executive director of the Kentucky USGBC.
"Warren County is just advanced in green schools, so I thought, ‘I bet you they have a green cleaning program,' " Pauly said
When Pauly asked if the district used green cleaning products, Hendricks had to dig around to find the answer.
"Nobody really knew if we used them," Hendricks said.
So she called the district's cleaning provider, Kenway, which confirmed that the district has used green products for about 10 years, including supplies to clean glass, floors, carpets and restrooms, Hendricks said.
Hendricks told the education committee Tuesday about the district's experience with green products.
"The benefits to the kids and benefits to the environment were just amazing," she said.
The green cleaners take less water to dilute, use fewer chemicals, release fewer toxins and have recyclable containers, she said. They don't cost any more than other cleaning products.
"This is just another way we can teach our kids that your school cares about you," Hendricks said.
Teachers can incorporate information about the benefits of green products into lessons, which will hopefully help students consider using environmentally friendly products in their own homes, she said.
Leslie Peek, public relations coordinator for Bowling Green Independent Schools, said the district uses several green cleaning products, including hydrogen peroxide-based general-purpose disinfectants, nonchemical-based wax for floors and hand soaps.
The bill would promote the implementation of green cleaning programs in school districts, Pauly said.
"This isn't a mandate for school districts - it's just a suggestion," Hendricks said.
Many districts might not be aware of the benefits and availability of green cleaning products, and this allows officials to make an informed decision, she said.
The USGBC's mission is to educate and advocate on behalf of sustainable building, Pauly said.
"It's just one small way to get schools moving in a healthy direction," she said. "At least it will get the conversation started."