Missouri Schools Go Green!

July 11, 2008

By Rochelle Davis, Founding Executive Director

Update, July 18: In this blog’s discussion the new green cleaning legislation in Missouri and the trend toward green cleaning in schools around the country, I mentioned that the legislation required green cleaning in schools.  In fact, it establishes guidelines and recommendations. We’re excited to see Missouri take this step – providing a clear definition of “green” goes a long way toward helping schools protect the health of their students and staff.  We’re looking forward to working with advocates in Missouri to implement the new guidelines and to working with advocates around the country to create legislation that protects all children’s health at school.

Just months after the Illinois Green Schools Act went into effect, Missouri Governor Matt Blunt signed a new law today requiring schools to establish green cleaning policies.  The law outlines a process for developing guidelines for schools to purchase and use environmentally sensitive cleaning products, paper products and equipment. 

This makes Missouri the third state in the nation, after New York and Illinois, to require green cleaning in schools.

Wow. Just ten years ago, green cleaning was considered an emerging field. Now, it has evolved so that green products are cost comparable and equally effective as conventional cleaning – and green cleaning is well on its way to becoming the norm in schools.

The benefits in schools are tremendous. Green cleaning greatly reduces children’s exposure to harmful chemicals and irritants and protects custodial staff from exposure to chemicals that are known to have harmful long-term health effects. Fewer dangerous substances are manufactured and released into our environment.

HSC worked hard to advocate for the Illinois Green Clean Schools Act, and supported our colleagues in Missouri who successfully advocated for the law there. Now, we are working to bring together a national coalition that allows state-level leaders to share strategies and insight to help pass green clean schools laws in many more states.

We applaud the efforts of our allies in Missouri and look forward to working with others who are mounting similar efforts in other states.  The details of the Missouri law can be found here [pdf]. Section 161.365 contains the provisions on green cleaning.