Frequently Asked Questions
We have provided the following categories to address the most common questions asked of us.
Please contact us should the information provided below not satisfy you.
Choose from our FAQ categories below:
What are some of the most common, least environmentally safe chemicals and products used in cleaning? How are they used, and what is their impact on the environment and people living in it?
Without mentioning any specific brand name products, bathroom cleaners often contain strong acids or harmful solvents. Some of the harmful chemical ingredients that should be avoided are heavy metals, chlorinated solvents, mineral acids, or any of the numerous chemicals that do not readily biodegrade or have other adverse environmental impact. A material is described or classified as ‘readily biodegradable’ if there is evidence from standard tests that it will be broken down by living organisms and thus removed from the environment. To pass the most stringent tests defined by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which is an international economic organization of 34 countries founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade, at least 60- 70% of the material must be broken down within ten days. The best way to avoid these is to use only certified green products, such as the Green Concepts product lines.
Discuss the evolution and development of “green” products – what makes them safer/better than more traditional products?
We can write a book on this. Basically, certification entities look at many factors against a variety of criteria prior to certifying or recognizing a particular product as "green". However, there has been a great deal of self-certification and "green washing". Most of the major retail brands fall under this category. The U.S. Federal Government is actively working on setting standards for "green" products in response to the growing demand for environmentally preferable products. That said, it is easy to make green products, but very difficult to make green products that work well at reasonable prices. You can put water in a bottle and call it green, but it will not clean very well. We spent many years and many millions of dollars in Research & Development of truly green products that are industrial strength, cost effective and safer for the users as well as the overall environment. The safer ingredients used are what makes the products safer than the more toxic and caustic traditional products. We are the world’s leading provider of green cleaning products and we carry more third-party credible certifications than any other company worldwide for this reason.
I understand the Green Concepts product lines won an EPA award for environmentally friendly products. Please tell me about the products and the award.
In 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency launched the Safer Detergents Stewardship Initiative. Through the Safer Detergents Stewardship Initiative (SDSI), EPA's Design for the Environment (DfE) Program recognized environmental leaders who voluntarily committed to the use of safer surfactants. Safer surfactants are surfactants that break down quickly to non-polluting compounds and help protect aquatic life in both fresh and salt water. Nonylphenol ethoxylates, commonly referred to as NPEs, are an example of a surfactant class that does not meet the definition of a safer surfactant. The Design for the Environment Program has identified safer alternative surfactants through partnerships with industry and environmental advocates. These safer alternatives are comparable in cost and are readily available. CleanGredients® is a source of safer surfactants and can be found at www.CleanGredients.org. In November of 2008, the Green Concepts product lines received the prestigious “Champions Award” from the EPA’s Design for the Environment (DfE) program in a Recognition Ceremony held in The Pavilion of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.
What kind of special training or instruction is needed in order to use green products correctly and effectively?
None. If well-formulated products are used, there is no reason to change procedures. The only difference is that the products are safer, so there is less training required for safety and disposal issues. Our concentrated products are diluted with water. Water is available in any facility and users can determine how much concentrate is needed per clearly defined label instructions. Further, our partners both at the Manufacturer Representative Agency (MRA) and Distributor levels are well trained on the specifications and application recommendations of all of the Green Concepts products so that they can work hand-in-hand with the end user staff in customizing the optimal programs for the facilities being cleaned.
What are some of the challenges involved in switching over to green products from traditional ones?
In the past, due to the growing demand for green products and the opportunity for product formulators, green products didn’t perform as well and had higher costs. As a result, the market had to make changes to accommodate this reality, and this led to dissatisfaction. Although non-performing products and cost-prohibitive products still due exist there are green products that perform as well or better than the older, brown, products and these products are not only accepted by users, but embraced by users in most cases. These cost and performance-effective green products slip right into every day cleaning procedures, and in many cases the people cleaning can move to more efficient procedures with confidence.
What about allergies? Even if “green” products are more eco-friendly, how can you ensure that users aren’t allergic to them? What happens if you get complaints about allergic reactions?
Of course, there is no way to eliminate every material that is not an allergen to some rare individual. Green products in general are formulated to avoid common allergens. For example, some green products and most brown products contain fragrances. Fragrance is the source of many allergic reactions. As a result, the Green Concepts lines of products we offer contain no fragrances save for a Green Concepts Air Freshener product that is hypoallergenic. If there is a complaint involving an allergic reaction, it is best to send this person to a doctor to determine exactly what caused the allergic reaction. Thankfully, we have never had a person who claimed to suffer from allergic reaction to any of our products. That said, although our products are safer for users and the overall environment, there are hypersensitive people in this world. Thus, we use regulated Warning and Caution statements to protect those that may suffer from potential adverse reactions to our products despite how much safer they are than traditional products.
What about effectiveness? Do green products work as well as more heavy-duty ones? Also, are there some jobs that green products are especially good for?
Originally, this was a major complaint about green products. More recently, there are green products on the market that perform very well. The perception still exists that green products don’t work as well and they cost more to use. Unfortunately, there are enough poorly performing, green products out there that the perception still gets regular reinforcement. The reality is that there are also plenty of brown products that don’t work well and there are green products that work as well or better than the best brown products. We only provide products that adhere to very high standards of performance and that have undergone extensive laboratory and field testing to meet an internal Safer and Superior New Product Standard in order to ensure that our products perform as well as or better than the more toxic traditional products.
Discuss the cost of green products vs. traditional ones – is the payback just in peace of mind, or do these products actually return value at some point?
Although many green products are more expensive than brown ones, the reverse is true as well. In many cases a user does not have to pay more for performance effective and truly greener and safer products. In fact, the diluted product cost of our Green Concepts lines of cleaning solutions is generally below the brown competition. Allow me to explain: the acquisition cost is the cost of a particular item "as is" in finished product form either on a shelf in a store or when delivered to an account. Thereafter, the product is either used straight without diluting it with water or it is diluted with water. In order to compare apples to apples, the size of the product and acquisition cost are only 2 factors that must be considered by a potential user. The diluted cost, generally referred to in the professional cleaning industry as "In Use" Cost, is the true and actual cost of the product that is used to clean. For example, it may cost someone $10.00 for one gallon of concentrate from Company B, where the cost for one gallon from Company G's competitive product is $20.00. The Acquisition Cost face value by Company B is cheaper. However, the Company B product will have to be used at 12 oz. per gallon of water to be effective where Company G only has to be used at 2 oz. per gallon of water. The true and actual cost to the account is much less for Company G's product. In fact, dramatically less in this case as Company B's "In Use" Cost is $0.96 per gallon of use solution where Company G's is only $0.32.
In addition to price of the individual products alone there are other cost-related considerations that should be evaluated. In the example above, Company G's product is in higher concentration and, thus, the account will only need one gallon of Company G product vs. three gallons of Company B product. Thus, the cost of shipping and the availability of storage space will vary depending upon the level of concentration of a particular product.
Further, user motivation, productivity, performance effectiveness and lost time should be key considerations when evaluating labor cost and overall cost. Finally, a facility using green products will achieve greater goodwill and satisfaction with the staff, visitors and local community.
What do you think about using everyday substances such as rubbing alcohol, household ammonia, borax, dishwashing detergent, lemon juice, and vinegar as cleaning agents?
We consider rubbing alcohol and ammonia to be hazardous volatile organic compounds. They are not on in our database of acceptable detergent components. These are good examples of why people should not use the old “home remedies”. In addition, a formulated product combines a number of ingredients to clean soils gently rather than the single component “sledge hammer” approach that can be both hard on the user and the surface being cleaned. Effective cleaning should take into account the surface, soil, application and the surrounding environment. As a result, we provide use instructions and simple dilution devices in order to make cleaning safer for the surfaces and materials being cleaned, the people doing the cleaning, the land and water table underneath the facility being cleaned and the overall environment. Productivity and cost of a particular cleaning agent should be measured against the overall impact, not merely the removal of a particular undesired soil.
Where can people learn more about using green cleaning products in their facility?
Start online. The U.S. Green Building Council has standards for operating and maintaining a green building. They have many levels of certification through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. Also look for the major certification agencies endorsement on the products being considered, like Green Seal.
What else should one know in considering green products?
We suggest that you look at "impact" and "carbon footprint" as opposed to a brand name, logo or marketing statement on a package. Our products are the result of our Safer and Superior New Product Standard. This standard is meant to ensure that users do not need to lose in performance and cost when switching to environmentally preferable and humanly safer products. There is a reality that there is a need to clean and a job to be done. In many cases, the soils are very difficult to remove and there is a misperception that a toxic product is necessary. This is not true. With good chemistry a truly safer and more environmentally friendly alternative does exist.
Our products are designed with the with the additional benefit of being many times more concentrated than traditionally packaged competitive products. This distinction results in a reduction of energy consumption and solid waste. Furthermore, they are easy to store, easy to dispense, easy to use and easy to transport around the facility without worry.
In short, we should all be looking a bit deeper than cost, green, performance, and other simple buzz words. There are many factors that dictate the true "impact" of a decision to use this or that cleaning product. Taking and considering all of the factors collectively in light of the overall "carbon footprint impact" should be the standard employed by regulators, formulators, and facility decisionmakers.
How many chemicals can we dilute in the dispensing system and how does it look?
Our EcoFill2 Dual Dispensing System has a sleek design and enhanced color scheme that provides a modern appearance in any housekeeping environment plus multiple features to enhance productivity and dispensing flexibility. EcoFill2 offers the convenience of 1-handed bottle filling and point of use remote bucket fill activation. Its modular design allows the dispensers to be used with or without locking cabinets or wall racks and with or without selector valves for the ultimate flexibility from 1 to 8 product options.
Will my employees have access to the concentrated bottles?
We have a lockable single and dual cabinets as well as a lockable wall rack available that if used will not allow removal of the concentrated solutions.
Do you have portable solutions if I am not able to secure the dispenser to a wall?
Yes, we offer the Series 300 product line.
Has the accuracy of the dilutions been tested?
Yes, laboratory testing proves consistent accuracy of the dilutions and they are found to be more accurate than most dispensing systems on the market today.
Will the dispensing system retain its accuracy?
Yes, as long as the lines are kept clear and unrestricted, the accuracy of the dilutions will remain consistent.
Can I change the dilution rate based on the soiling needs of my facility?
Yes, a complete metering tip kit comes with each dispenser. Green Concepts product lines are designed around customizable solutions. We recommend you start at the recommended dilution rate and adjust upward until you achieve the dilution rate that most suits your soiling needs. The change in metering tips is very easy and fully explained in the manual provided.
Is there backflow protection?
All of our dispensing systems have an ASSE 1055B approved 16-30 Action Gap preventer installed.
Should I use hot or cold water?
You should always use cold water. All of the Green Concepts products are developed to work with cold water in order to meet our strict environmental standards.
Can I use the dispenser to fill an auto scrubber or carpet extraction machine?
Yes, the bucket fill dispenser can be used to fill the clean solution tank of commercial cleaning equipment.
What are the performance ratings for water pressure?
The dispensers have been designed to perform accurately with water pressure between 25 psi and 125 psi.
What is the warranty?
The manufacturer warrants that the products will conform to the specifications provided and will be free from defects in material or workmanship under normal use, regular service and maintenance for twelve (12) months.
How do I know which product to use?
All of the products in the Green Concepts lines have been formulated to address specific soiling issues. The first step is to determine the type of soil you are dealing with. Is it an inorganic mineral deposit such as hard water build up, salt or urine? Is it grease, oil, fats or protein based deposits? Is it a solvent based deposit? Is it just normal dirt or dust? In most cases the answer lies in where the soiling took place and what is happening in those areas.
Restrooms typically have inorganic mineral soiling so our restroom cleaners GC 25 and GC 325 are formulated to address that soil. In a commercial kitchen you will typically find grease, oil and fats, which are protein based soil deposits, so our GC 13 and GC 313 are formulated to address those soiling issues.
All of our products are labeled with reference to the typical areas of soiling they are formulated to address. Also, there are full descriptions of the soiling applications for each product on their corresponding information sheets.
Can you use one cleaner at different dilution rates to clean all soils?
The answer to that question is yes, just not effectively. You can use water and agitation to clean most soils but the question is, how hard to do you want to work and how much time do you want to take to remove the soil and will you remove it completely or just take the color away so it looks clean? There is no one cleaner that can be formulated to release and emulsify all soiling types. Each of our products are designed to release and emulsify the specific soil type it was formulated to address in order to rapidly and efficiently remove that soil completely with less elbow grease in the safest possible manner. When using the Green Concepts lines of products as they were designed, you will achieve the most effective soil removal in the most efficient method. Even though you will be using more than one product, this will save you time, money and reduce common re-soiling issues when the soil has not been completely removed.
How do I know that Green Concepts green cleaning products will do as well as my current products?
All of the Green Concepts products have been through independent third-party lab testing for cleaning efficiency. It is the same testing that all cleaning products, green or not green, go through proving that our products perform as well as and often better than the other products on the market. But like anything else, try the products for yourself. The best test is one that takes place in your own facility.
How do I disinfect when I change over to the Green Concepts products?
Cleaning is a prerequisite for effective sanitization and disinfection. Organic deposits from food residues, skin cells, mold spores, oils, greases, and proteins are food for bacteria and are where bacteria live. These organic deposits can prevent the sanitizer or disinfectant from coming into contact with bacteria, viruses or spores. To properly disinfect, soils must first be removed with an appropriate surfactant or cleaner from our Green Concepts lines. After the removal of soils, a disinfectant can be applied to destroy or inactivate certain microorganisms. We have a hospital grade disinfectant, GC2, available in our product line for situations that require EPA registered disinfecting protocol. Because of the EPA required kill claims, a disinfectant cannot be considered green and GC2, therefore, is not considered green.
In some cases you can clean and disinfect at the same time, but this depends on how dirty the surfaces you are cleaning and disinfecting are. The dirtier the surface, the less effective the disinfectant will be. Disinfectants need to contact the area to disinfect and cannot do this effectively with a barrier of dirt or grime in the way. Once the dirt has been wiped away, the disinfectant can get to work. Under lightly soiled conditions, you can clean and disinfect in the same step using our GC2 Neutral Disinfectant Cleaner.
In using our Green Concepts product lines as they were formulated, a majority of the germs and bacteria will be removed though the process of capture and removal, due to our products ability to release and emulsify soils. We believe in a limited use of disinfectants on touch point areas where germs are most likely spread from one person to another. Unless there is an area requiring the use of a disinfectant, less disinfection is a better and a healthier way to clean.
How do I know the Green Concepts products are really safer for human contact and the environment?
There are numerous claims by manufacturers that their products are “green” implying that they are safe around people and for the environment. The problem is that the claims are often not supported by independent, third-party laboratory testing but are more of a self-made marketing claim. We want to take that concern completely out of the equation. The Green Concepts product lines have been tested by more independent, third-party organizations than most any other cleaning product on the market today to verify our claims of safety. Each product will display the certifications, registrations and partnerships received supporting our commitment to providing safer yet effective cleaning products for commercial cleaning applications.
Does it help to make the dilution stronger in some cleaning situations?
Yes, there are times when heavy soiling requires a stronger dilution rate. There is a point of diminishing returns when you have it so strong that it requires several rinses to get it up. All of our products have recommended dilution rates and if you follow the recommended dilution rates for light, medium or heavy soiling, in most circumstances, the recommended dilution rates will accomplish the desired results. If there are unusual circumstances, it is recommended you get technical assistance from the company to help determine a solution. Sometimes it requires the use of a different product in the Green Concepts line because of an unusual soil combination. There is only one exception to this rule in our line of products and that is our GC2 Neutral Disinfectant Cleaner. Our disinfectant should only be used at 1:256, or ½ ounce per gallon. This dilution rate is an EPA requirement and at this dilution rate GC2 performs most efficiently with a 100% kill rate on all of the microorganisms listed on the label.