Green Cleaning Policies and Guidelines

Green Cleaning Policies and Guidelines

Chapter 584 of the Laws of 2005

New York State Green Cleaning Law amends the New York State Education Law and Finance Law to require elementary and secondary schools to procure and use environmentally sensitive cleaning and maintenance products with assistance from, and in accordance with, guidelines prescribed by the OGS Commissioner. The Law went into effect in September 2006.

Joint Letter from Commissioners to School Administrators.

Executive Order 4

Establishing a State Green Procurement and Agency Sustainability Program (EO 4) was signed on April 24, 2008 and promotes policies within state agencies and authorities that reduce the potential impacts on public health and the environment and reduce the consumption of materials and energy. EO 4 requires every state agency and authority to develop and implement a Sustainability and Environmental Stewardship Program, which must include projects, programs and policies designed to reduce the public health and environmental impacts of their operations, such as reduction or elimination of the use and generation of toxic substances, pollution and waste. Additionally, the EO 4 interagency committee has identified green cleaning products as an item for which green specifications will be issued. OGS considers the continuation and enhancement of agency green cleaning programs to be part and parcel of compliance with EO 4, and that agencies and authorities must utilize green cleaning practices in complying with EO 4. Therefore, the Green Cleaning Guidelines and list of approved cleaning products apply to both school districts and state agencies.


Go to Green NY Website

2010 Guidelines

OGS has updated the Guidelines and Specifications for the procurement of environmentally sensitive cleaning and maintenance products for elementary and secondary schools as well as state agencies and public authorities. This comprehensive Guidelines and Specifications document details all aspects of a green cleaning program that schools and state agencies need to follow to comply with the Green Cleaning Law and EO 4.


2010 Response to Comments

2006 Guidelines Document Background

The OGS Green Cleaning Guidelines and Specifications (Guidelines) for the use of green cleaning products in New York State schools were posted in July 2006. In consultation with the State Education Department (SED), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Labor (DOL) and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), OGS reviewed and evaluated existing research regarding environmentally-sensitive cleaning and maintenance products.


OGS talked with representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency, other states, consultants, vendors, environmental groups, chemical manufactures, testing laboratories, and concerned citizens concerning all aspects of green cleaning. In addition, OGS posted the PROPOSED 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 for comment on our website, provided notice on the public register, and sent copies to over 7,000 vendors on the OGS vendor list. OGS received 208 letters and comments, which were organized into 54 categories. The letters and comments were reviewed and responded to. In some instances, the comments led to changes in the Guidelines. The 2006 Guidelines document was developed with the recognition and understanding that it would act as a catalyst for the study and advancement of green cleaning, and changes in products and their availability. In fact, the marketplace has continued to adapt over time as knowledge improves, or new or modified products become available.


Product applications are better understood through research, usage and observation. Keeping this in mind, OGS issued the 2006 Guidelines document with the intention of setting a high standard for schools, state agencies and public authorities to work towards, while continuing to review and evaluate new information to make the Guidelines even more health and environmentally-sensitive in the future.


2006 response to comments


June 2007 Environmentally Sensitive Cleaning and Maintenance Product School Impact Report Pursuant to Chapter 584 of the Laws of 2005 (Updated 2010). This report documents the State Education Department's (SED) analysis of the impact of the guidelines and specifications on the purchase, procurement, and use of environmentally sensitive cleaning and maintenance products by elementary and secondary schools.

Additional Policies and Guidelines

The law for green cleaning does not supersede or change existing health, labor, education and environmental regulations and professional guidance related to cleaning and maintenance practices and disposal of hazardous chemicals. The additional laws, guidelines and professional guidance that under certain circumstances supersede the law for green cleaning are provided below:


additional policies & guidelines