Home' Inclean : INCLEAN Spt-Oct 2016 Contents 22 INCLEAN September/October 2016
Bridget Gardner, director and founder of Fresh Green Clean (FGC)
based in North Carlton, Melbourne, is recognised as Australia’s
‘leading expert’ in sustainable and safe hygiene cleaning standards.
Bridget has been researching best practices in facility cleaning for
more than 15 years since she launched her non-toxic cleaning
business in 2001.
She has a true passion for green cleaning and has constantly
championed the Australian green clean movement through Fresh
Green Clean’s (FGC) training, advisory, tendering and auditing
services. “I am a consultant and a qualified trainer in best practice
cleaning. My programs help people to change their behaviour,” she
said. “I work with both management and staff to engage them and
help them to be more efficient and innovative.”
Bridget explains that when she had her own cleaning business she
was personally motivated to be more sustainable because she was
highly sensitive to chemicals. She looked for safer chemicals and
chemical-free alternatives, but back in 2001, the information was
very poor. After five years of research for her own cleaning business
she found that she was far more interested in the teaching and
setting up of systems than running a cleaning business so made the
decision to start Fresh Green Clean in 2006.
“I kept searching for the perfect product that would work without
giving me a headache. The more I experimented the more I realised it
was about having good systems in place. I decided I wanted to base
my business on selling information rather than products or services. I
wanted to offer independent, practical and accurate advice. And this
is still my driving force today,” Bridget admits.
“My clients rely on my information so it’s got to be accurate” she
shares. “I am constantly researching and networking. I’ve done lots of
courses, such as a post graduate certificate at Swinburne in Vocation
Sustainability, a Company Director course, Training and Assessment,
Environmental Cleaning Auditing. I also attend seminars and lectures,
such as RACI’s (Royal Australian Chemical Institute) seminar on the
GHS rollout, which will have a big impact on green cleaning.”
Bridget admits that she is becoming frustrated that the work
done by cleaners is not taken seriously. “It’s not valued,” she says.
“I am really passionate about cleaning, sustainability and doing
things properly but I’m also very pragmatic. I chat with chemical
companies and cleaning suppliers all the time to keep up with their
latest innovations. Those that know me understand that I am not
anti-chemicals, but that we need to be smart about how we use them
so we don’t poison the earth unnecessarily in the process.
“The cleaning industry provides an enormously valuable role to
the commercial sector, aged and healthcare. In some cases cleaning
can mean life or death. So let’s document how we go about it, set
standards and make it consistent,” she continued.
She is amazed that subjective visual auditing is still the standard
for measuring cleanliness in hospitals. This is what drives her to
push for better cleaning standards. “I don’t want to see the role and
process of cleaning demeaned. Standards should guide and support
the people who do the work,” she implores.
“I write a lot of documentation” says Bridget. “I research, write
training manuals and procedures and help put them in place. It is
important for cleaning services companies to document exactly how
they clean, what products are used, techniques, how many cloths
they use, how they launder them, and be able to demonstrate this is
being taught to their cleaners and monitored.
“At the moment, a lot of companies are operating on vague and
generic documentation but this means running a massive risk,” she
adds. “If an accident happens, a kid gets an allergic reaction or a
patient dies, how can they defend themselves in court?”
Bridget’s client base covers a wide range of businesses and projects
including The Sydney Opera House, The Victorian Department
of Justice, and numerous cleaning companies around Australia,
Universities, corporate clients and local councils.
In the early days of FGC, a major year and a half- long project
funded by Sustainability Victoria in child care helped get things
started. “It was a big leap” shares Bridget. Another major
breakthrough was landing a large project in 2010 with The City of
Yarra. The job entailed writing specifications and training for the
cleaners and then running a year-long improvement program of
trialling different green innovations and testing them to see which ones
were the most environmentally friendly and measuring the outcomes.
Auditing is an important service provided by FGC. “I do
conformance auditing for some Councils and Universities,”
Bridget reveals. “I audit against the specifications. Sustainability
is about monitoring ongoing performance and checking that the
certified chemicals they say they are going to supply are being used.
Universities start at 4.30am so that is when I have to be on site. I
observe the cleaners, conduct checks in the cleaner’s rooms, audit
performance then provide a report and recommendations. The client
sets the brief, then I write the auditing tool and the report to meet it.”
However, her next program is what has her excited at the moment.
“About two years ago I developed a certification standard called
‘Green Sash’ (Safe and Sustainable Hygiene). Because it was too hard
to get off the ground on my own I went back to the drawing board
and have now developed the criteria into a benchmarking program
that I am beta-testing with a major cleaning company,” she explains.
“It helps cleaning managers to document their cleaning products and
processes against this criteria that is then audited on-site and rate the
services against other facilities.” She will be announcing more details
in the coming months so watch this green space!
Bridget Gardner’s unwavering commitment
to a sustainably clean world
Cleaning and hygiene standards and legislation are
coming to Australia whether the industry is ready or
not. Bridget Gardner’s company, Fresh Green Clean,
has been at the forefront of this regulation for the past
10 years and her programs are helping leading cleaning
companies be ready for the imminent change. Keith
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