Thu, 07 Nov 2013 13:04:00 CST — by: Charlotte Henderson, C'13, Sustainability Post-Baccalaureate Fellow
Students begin work to "green" Sewanee's cleaning policy.
Many of the cleaning chemicals that are used in The University of the South’s buildings and dorms are toxic, non-biodegradable, and polluting. It is possible for these chemicals to accrue in animals through bio-concentration over time (a process which, through absorption or consumption, leads to a higher concentration of substances in an organism higher up the food chain; for example, tuna has a high concentration of mercury as it is a large predatory fish), become attached to sediment in soil or to air particles, degrading at slow rates, or infiltrate our water systems. Not to mention the chemicals’ detrimental effect on our physical health.
This year, students Parker Haynes (’14), April Shi (’14), along with post-baccalaureate fellow, Charlotte Henderson (’13), and Director of Sustainability, Marvin Pate, will be working on an initiative to “green” the cleaning practices, procedures, and products of the University. This team will be working in collaboration with Physical Plant Services of the University, specifically the custodial staff and supervisors.
The team plans on developing an inventory of the cleaning products, learning the cleaning procedures that may vary amongst the custodial staff, standardizing cleaning procedures, integrating more environmentally friendly cleaning products into the University’s cleaning supply, and developing a green cleaning policy to be enacted and sustained.
With a greener policy, custodial staff and students will not be subject to these harmful chemicals and the environment will be less negatively affected.