Greening your Cleaning with Écologique

Facility managers are increasingly looking for ways to reduce the volume of waste generated by their cleaning programs, move to safer chemicals that uphold good indoor air quality and don’t contain toxic ingredients and support their organizations’ long-term sustainability goals.

At GSF USA, we carefully consider the impact that our processes, chemicals, equipment and tools have on people and the planet. Green cleaning is in our DNA and our customers value our commitment to creating safer, more sustainable environments.

Our Écologique cleaning program uses processes that have been certified by Green Seal, a global non-profit and leader in sustainability. Learn more about the benefits of green cleaning and the five key Écologique program elements via our Écologique Infographic.

How On-site Generation of Chemicals Enhances Readiness to Clean

Imagine a world in which your operation won’t run out of cleaner and disinfectant, even if another pandemic emerges and demand surges to record highsConsider the possibility of chemicals made from just three safe ingredients.  

It may sound like a dream, but these goals are achievableWith on-site generation (OSG) systems, you can make safe, sustainable cleaning a reality. OSG systems help you improve the appearance of your facility and elevate your cleaning program. You can better safeguard the health of your building’s cleaning and maintenance professionals, occupants and visitors with readily available cleaning solutions.  

What is On-site Generation? 

OSG systems use salt, water and electricity to produce two electrochemically activated solutions (ECAS)In one tank, the system creates a cleaner/degreasersodium hydroxide solution. In the other tank, it produces a disinfectant/sanitizerotherwise known as hypochlorous acidEmployees can easily dispense chemicals into spray bottles, mop buckets and floor care equipment.  

On-site generators are housed in a janitorial closet and can easily meet the needs of large facilities like schools, convention centers and commercial office buildings. Daily and monthly maintenance tasks keep the system running smoothly, enabling facilities to always have adequate volumes of cleaner and disinfectant.   

On-site Generation Creates Many Benefits 

On-site generation of cleaning and disinfecting solutions offers many benefits, including: 

Reliable supply.

During the pandemic, supply chains struggled to keep up with demand and shipments experienced delays. In some cases, organizations had to purchase and use different chemicals than their staff members were accustomed to.  

With OSG, facilities are always ready to clean. They have 24/7 access to cleaning and disinfecting solutions that have proven efficacy against numerous types of bacteria, fungi and viruses. Facility managers can ramp up production to respond to an outbreak, prepare for a large event or expand cleaning services to new areas of a building with ease. 

Enhanced safety

Essential frontline cleaners are at greater risk for chemical accidents or injuriesA surprising number of convention cleaning chemicals have high concentrations of sodium hydroxide (NaOH), which can irritate the skin, eyes and throat. Incorrect chemical mixtures or dilutions can aggravate health conditions and even be deadly. 

Because ECAS are made from just salt, water and electricity and contain no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), phthalates, detergents or fragrances, they can help facilities boost employee attendance, comfort and performance. Effective cleaning solutions also protect custodians and building occupants from pathogens of concern.  

Sustainability.  

Many organizations are also taking a closer look at the effect that their cleaning programs have on the environment. Some products on the market claim to be environmentally friendly but in reality, some are using greenwashing to drive sales.  

ECAS are the way of the future for green cleaning. They help organizations reduce their environmental footprint by limiting packaging, shipping, water use and waste. They are also drain- and disposal-friendly, and are made from three safe and easily accessible ingredients.  

Simplified training. 

When custodial employees must learn about and use many different types of chemicals, it makes training and cleaning processes more complex. Simplifying training saves time and can help reduce high turnover rates 

With only two chemicals, a cleaner and disinfectant, it’s easier to onboard new employees and teach them how to address surfaces throughout the facility. Staff are ready to clean much more quickly compared to alternative cleaning and disinfecting processes   

A Better Approach to Cleaning 

In-house custodial teams and building service contractors often collaborate when overseeing cleaning in large facilities. Having easy, on-site access to effective chemicals means that cleaning teams are always ready for consistent, safe, sustainable and simple cleaning. This allows organizations to better prevent outbreaks and maintain their commitment to the new standard of cleanliness.  

The transition from traditional chemicals to ECAS is incredibly simple. By working with a qualified service provider, you can quickly implement a safer and more sustainable approach to cleaning that will benefit your employees, occupants and visitors 

At GSF-USAwe’re proud to invest in a better method of cleaning with on-site generation systems. For more information, contact our offices hereFollow us on LinkedIn and Facebook for the latest updates.  

GSF Brings Innovative Cleaning to Valley View School District

Challenge

Founded in 1972, Valley View School District today serves approximately 16,000 students in 22 educational facilities. The district takes pride in maintaining its schools to support student and staff wellbeing, and was seeking ways to improve its cleaning program in early 2020. Its building service contractor (BSC) at the time was using various chemicals and concentrates to clean and disinfect the elementary, middle, high schools and the administrative office.

When the novel coronavirus pandemic complicated the BSC’s ability to source necessary products for the district, Valley View sought a way to fast-track a more reliable approach to cleaning and disinfecting. The new program would need to ensure employees always had the necessary solutions on hand and reassure students, staff and parents that every facility was properly and frequently cleaned and disinfected without exposing individuals to toxic chemicals.

Solution

Valley View transitioned from its previous contractor to GSF USA, a global cleaning services company, to enhance cleaning and disinfecting across the district. GSF installed numerous on-site generators from PathoSans®, which utilize softened tap water, an electrolytic cell and salt to produce electrochemically activated solutions (ECAS). The result is PathoClean® cleaner/degreaser, a sodium hydroxide solution, and PathoCide® sanitizer/disinfectant, a hypochlorous acid solution. The solutions are effective and always available, eliminating supply chain issues that hinder the ability to clean consistently and frequently.

“While it’s easy to source chemicals that address pathogens of concern, many facilities face the challenge of finding products that don’t harm those who are performing cleaning tasks,” said Kurt Kuempel, General Manager, GSF USA. “GSF has relied on ECAS for several years across our customer sites because it offers many efficacy and safety advantages compared to traditional cleaning methods.”

With just two solutions for all cleaning and disinfecting needs, GSF simplifies the training process and drastically reduces inconsistency in cleaning results. Between its own evening staff of 110 and the district’s team of roughly 40 daytime workers, GSF is responsible for training 150 people to properly use the PathoSans system and clean and disinfect throughout the district’s buildings. GSF also focuses its training on the “why” of cleaning to better engage employees by highlighting the product formulations and how they ensure efficacy.

Results

By installing and using the PathoSans systems, GSF USA has helped Valley View School District achieve the following benefits:

Achieve peace of mind around product efficacy.

PathoClean® and PathoCide® can be used against a variety of bacteria, fungi and viruses, and have demonstrated efficacy against human coronavirus and other viruses more resilient to disinfection. This gives the district added assurance that its schools are being thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

Eliminate supply issues.

On-site generation offers an uninterrupted supply of on-demand cleaning and disinfecting solutions. In the event of an outbreak or emergency, staff can quickly increase system output. The district no longer has to worry about product shortages, shipping delays and exorbitant price increases when demand for disinfectants is high and supply is low.

Clean and disinfect with safety at the forefront.

The solutions are non-irritating to eyes and skin and contain no added fragrance, making them ideal for daily use, even when students, staff and visitors are present. In the wake of the pandemic, many facilities have implemented new methods for broader and faster cleaning and disinfecting, like electrostatic spraying. However, not all chemicals are safe to use with equipment that produces small droplets that can be inhaled. Kuempel notes that “because the ECAS chemicals are safe, we’re able to use them within various devices like foggers, misters and electrostatic sprayers without the risk that other chemicals carry.”

Simplify training and enhance cleaning consistency.

With the PathoSans system, GSF can simplify training. Using just two products for all of their cleaning and disinfecting needs streamlines the cleaning process and reduces the risk that employees will be confused or apply the solutions improperly. This ensures consistent cleaning across the entire district.

Clean and disinfect in an environmentally responsible way.

Because they are comprised of water, salt and electricity, the PathoSans solutions are not harmful to the environment or surfaces within the schools. They are drain and disposal friendly. Plus, the use of refillable spray bottles helps facilities reduce plastic waste.

“The PathoSans system produces the most effective chemicals we’ve ever used,” added Kuempel. “Given the safety, accessibility and efficacy benefits, I believe ECAS will become the industry norm, especially in educational environments that want to meet a new standard of clean.”

One Year Later: How COVID-19 Transformed the Cleaning Industry

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic challenged the cleaning industry and changed the public’s expectations of cleanliness, specifically in places like grocery stores, airports, restaurants and hotels. Looking back on the past year, it is safe to say that facilities are no longer cleaning just for appearance. Heightened infection prevention protocols will become a mainstay to ensure employees, customers and other building visitors are entering a safe and healthy environment. As we continue to make progress in our fight against COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to understand how this crisis has transformed the cleaning industry.  

The Pandemic’s Lasting Impact 

Much has changed since March 11, 2020 when the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared a global pandemic, including: 

Supply chain stability is more important than ever.

When the pandemic hit, supply chains were overwhelmed by the increased demand for cleaning chemicals, toilet paper, hand sanitizer and personal protective equipment (PPE). In fact, the demand for hand sanitizer alone reportedly increased by 1,400% between December 2019 and January 2020, requiring manufacturers to add more production shifts Consequently, many organizations struggled to secure cleaning and disinfectant solutions. In some cases, this meant that cleaning professionals were working with products they had not been properly trained to use. Moving forward, it will be important for manufacturers and facilities to have an adequate emergency stockpile of solutions available and provide proper training so that product safety and efficacy aren’t compromised when a crisis occurs. 

The public is more concerned with cleanliness and hygiene.

Before COVID-19, many people assumed “if it smells clean, it must be clean.” That is no longer the case, as statistics show the public’s increased concern for cleanliness and hygiene. For example, in a Nov. 2020 Harris Poll53% of respondents stated that the level of cleanliness in a hotel would influence their intent to book a future stay at the property. Another study revealed 82% of customers agreed common areas within a restaurant should be visibly wiped down regularly.  The public is also more aware of their own personal hygiene. Studies found that 90% of Americans are washing their hands more frequently, thoroughly or longer during the pandemic and nine in 10 Americans claim they’ll continue these handwashing best practices after the pandemic. Conducting cleaning regularly and making hand hygiene essentials accessible will help instill confidence among building occupants and visitors.

Scrutiny around product efficacy increases.

The public and facility managers have become more skeptical of cleaning solutions following the United States Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recalls of contaminated hand sanitizer and companies making false claims about product efficacy against COVID-19. Before the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched List N, facility managers did not have much information about what products were effective against the virusAs a result, facility managers will  have to carefully review the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure products are effective against pathogens of concern and deliver on their performance claims. 

Sustainability becomes top of mind.

The pandemic has resulted in a sharp increase in the use of cleaning chemicals, masks, gloves, disinfectant wipes and more. Curbing excessive waste is key to reducing the environmental impact of cleaning programs. Many facilities are also looking for ways to enhance indoor air quality and the overall health and safety of building occupants through certification programs like the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Green Seal. Looking ahead, it will be important for facility managers to take a closer look at how their chemicals, tools and equipment impact people and the planet, and work with service providers that share their sustainability mindset.  

Custodians gain recognition and respect.

Cleaning personnel are now seen as essential workers and heroes who help protect people against potentially deadly pathogensIn fact, some have been working 12-hour shifts right alongside doctors throughout the pandemic. In a June 2020 survey, 56% of respondents said they regard custodians much more highly than they did before the pandemic. It will be important for the industry to continue to stand by cleaning professionals and provide them with the necessary education, tools and PPE so they can do their jobs safely. 

Meeting New Standards of Cleanliness 

In the wake of the pandemic, facilities must make long-term commitments to their cleaning programs, which means investing in well-trained cleaning staff, effective cleaning solutions and emergency stockpiles to give customers and employees peace of mind. This global crisis has brought a newfound appreciation for the cleaning industry, with more people recognizing the role that cleanliness plays in protecting public safety. As we move forward, the cleaning industry will continue to be a vital resource for reducing the spread of harmful pathogens and saving lives. 

Make a long-term commitment to cleanliness with the help of GSF USA. For more information, contact the GSF office nearest you. Follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook for the latest updates.

Celebrating the People who Care about Clean

Welcome to our first edition of “Celebrating the People who Care about Clean,” a quarterly spotlight series on employees who have recently celebrated milestone work anniversaries. At GSF USA, we understand the important role that our team plays in keeping our customers’ facilities clean and safe. This has become even more important over the last year as the world grappled with new risks presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Each day, our professionals showcase their expertise, dedicated service and attention to detaias they work to protect public health and safety 

 We are committed to cultivating an enriching workplace that challenges and celebrates our employees. Our rewarding and innovative culture encourages longer tenure than other service providers in the industry. We are proud to have many staff members celebrating major milestones with GSF USA.  

Below is who we’re celebrating this quarter. We congratulate everyone on their incredible loyalty and service and look forward to many more years together! 

20th Anniversaries  

 Deanna Tapy, senior accountant, GSF USA 

After first serving as an intern, Deanna was hired as a staff accountant on Feb. 5, 2001. She now leads accounts receivable and is the senior accountant on the GSF USA accounting team. Her financial acumen is unmatched, and her dedication to her career and to GSF’s success and growth is inspiring. Deanna’s favorite aspects of working for GSF USA are the people she’s worked alongside for many years, the stability and growth of the company, and the flexibility that’s been offered during the pandemic. 

Veronica Chavez Zavala, area manager, GSF Indiana 

Veronica joined the GSF USA team on Jan. 26, 2001. She has been promoted twice during her tenure and is now an area manager on the GSF Indiana Team. Our area managers oversee daily operations, making them an integral part of our success. Veronica is skilled at balancing the needs of her employees, and her favorite part about being an area manager is knowing that clients are satisfied with the work her and her team have done. 

5th Anniversaries  

 Teresa Hale, staff accountant, GSF USA 

After first serving as a temporary replacement, Teresa was hired as a staff accountant on Dec. 31, 2015. She now leads accounts payable on the GSF USA accounting team, meaning that we all have Teresa to thank for expertly managing our relationships with our suppliers “I love the people I work with, the experience I’ve received and above all, GSF is my work family. I feel blessed to be part of GSF USA and want to be part of the team as we continue to grow in 2021, adds Teresa. 

Luis Tovar, branch manager, GSF Illinois 

Luis joined the GSF USA team on Dec. 28, 2015Over the last several years, he has been promoted and is now a branch manager on the GSF Illinois Team. Luis describes himself as an outgoing person and enjoys the collaborative environment and that his coworkers are always available to help him. He likes being a branch manager because he has opportunities for growth for not only himself but his team as well.  

Ana Ayala, area manager, GSF Illinois 

Ana was also hired on Dec. 28, 2015Since then, she has been promoted twice and serves as an area manager on the GSF Illinois Team. In her role, every day is different. Ana has proven herself skilled at balancing the many responsibilities that area managers have.  According to Ana, “GSF stands out from other companies because they appreciate, respect and celebrate employees and customers every day. The values GSF is built on are everything I believe in and that’s why it’s the perfect place for me to work. GSF not only rewards hard work but gives employees a meaningful career and the knowledge, tools and support to achieve your goals.” 

Jose Acosta, area manager, GSF Illinois 

Jose is celebrating five years with GSF and currently serves as an area manager. Because he started with GSF as a cleaning technician and has worked his way up to a managerial role, he feels he is well-positioned to understand his team’s needs and help them be successful in their careersBeing able to help others is one of his favorite parts of working at GSF.  

 

In addition to our managers, we would also like to recognize our hardworking hourly employees for their recent anniversary milestones. We thank them for helping us deliver cleanliness to customers every day.  

 20th Anniversary  

  • Gumercindo Cabrera, GSF Indiana  

 5th Anniversaries  

  • Gustavo Coronel, GSF Illinois 
  • Ramon Duran Espinoza, GSF Illinois 
  • Reyna Madera, GSF Illinois
  • Jose Martinez, GSF Illinois 
  • Rolando Reyes, GSF Illinois 
  • Nayib Ruiz, GSF Illinois  
  • Azucena Gonzalez, GSF Indiana 
  • Alberto Ibarra, GSF Indiana 
  • Jose Morena, GSF Indiana 
  • Mauricio Perez Vasquez, GSF Indiana 
  • Lucia Ramos Flores, GSF Indiana 
  • Ramiro Ramos Ramos, GSF Indiana 
  • Gudelia Rosas, GSF Indiana 

Interested in becoming part of our incredible team? Visit our online CAREERS page and follow us on LINKEDIN and FACEBOOK for the latest hiring updates.  

 

 

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