Custodial department introduces sustainable products, technology

After years of planning and divided implementation, Geneseo’s Custodial Services began introducing new sustainable and increasingly efficient cleaning products and technologies. Supervising Janitor Laura Canfield said the changes include using three main cleaning products from Proctor and Gamble: Spic and Span, Comet and Mr. Clean. Canfield said that her department chose these products because people know and trust them, and they are proven to work.

Other changes involve using microfiber towels and mops, which minimize the use of chemicals and water and limit the spread of germs.

“We continually look for new innovations to reduce our chemical and fresh water use [and] provide a safe and healthy environment for the campus,” she said.

The window-washing system is also seeing changes, made evident by the purchase of the HiFlo CarbonTec window cleaning system from Unger Cleaning. This product uses ionized water rather than chemicals while simultaneously reducing the fresh water needed to wash windows. It also eliminates the need for ladders, making the entire process safer.

Tomcat Auto floor scrubbers are another new technology custodial services is making use of. With this oscillating auto scrubber, the staff can now strip and refinish the floors chemical-free while using 70 percent less water.

“[The custodial staff] is doing it for both the sustainability and environmental health, but also to minimize any health risks to our staff,” Canfield said. “Our operating system here is based on cleaning for health first.”

Along with these changes, which have been implemented over time, another project is taking effect this week. The 44-gallon plastic trash bin liners used to collect dirty laundry at four different sites on campus will now be recycled. Once several of these liners are collected, Core Distributors, the company the liners are purchased from, will send a delivery truck in the area to pick them up. These will then enter Core Distributor’s plastic recycling system to become other plastic items.

“We usually collect about 28 gallons per site per day. If we multiply one site by seven, that’s [about] 140 gallons of plastic waste per site per week. If you multiply [that] by four it would be 560 gallons of plastic a month that we are removing from the landfill,” Canfield said.

Another change is the switch to LED and T5 fluorescent light bulbs. These are light bulbs that are energy saving, cost efficient and have longer useable lives than the light bulbs currently used.

Canfield said the idea to become more sustainable and environmentally conscious began around 15 years ago when the college invested funds so the custodial team could learn different ways to approach cleaning while using sustainable products.

This year’s budget has yet to be accounted for, but Canfield said she is certain these sustainable changes have reduced costs and the labor necessary to complete tasks.

As these changes continue to take effect, Canfield is happy with what she sees, saying, “[The changes] have been positive in both productivity and the professionalism of our staff.”