Queen's University

Environmental cleaning initiative adopted on campus

 
2009-11-24

Queen’s is cleaner – and greener – thanks to a new environmental cleaning initiative adopted on campus. The move to greener cleaning products not only helps to conserve the environment, but reduces health risks and is more cost-effective.

“In addition to the obvious environmental impact of toxic cleaning products, improper use of regular cleaning products may be potentially harmful to cleaning staff and students,” says Sustainability
Manager Aaron Ball. “Switching to green cleaning allows us to limit staff and student exposure to this potential risk.”

“These new products work very well and the lack of odour is great,” agrees custodian Alberta Thompson. “They clean for both appearance and for the health of the building occupants.”

The university uses a variety of green cleaning products from different companies. Some of these products, like the paper used in washrooms, are made without harsh chemicals such as chlorine and bleach and contain 100 per cent recyclable materials and 88 per cent post-consumer materials. The plastic garbage bags used are biodegradable, making them environmentally friendly as well.

“When green cleaning products first came on the market, they were really expensive and not an effective cleaning alternative,” says Mr. Ball. “They have improved dramatically and now, in most cases, work just as well as other products.”

Unlike traditional cleaning products, these green products are multi-purpose. Different concentrations of the same solution can be used to clean various surfaces, which is a cost-cutting ad- vantage. Although some green products, such as mops made out of micro-fibre material, are more costly, their durability will result in long-term cost savings for the university.

“Micro-fibre products have tiny hooks embedded in the fabric which collect dirt more efficiently than your typical mop,” says Ms Thompson. “They are more durable so they last longer.”

Presently, Gordon Hall is the testing site for these green products. Queen’s Centre, when it opens Dec. 1, will also use green cleaning. Over time, the university hopes to have completely green cleaning.

“The changes in this industry are never-ending,” says Mr. Ball. “As tools and products continue to improve, we will be better able to keep the campus clean while preserving our environment.”

 

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