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Miami residence halls go green clean

03/20/2008

Last summer, as part of Miami's commitment to using environmentally friendly products on campus, building staff started using "green" cleaning products at McKee Hall, tying into McKee's environmental living-learning community.

The green seal certified products include all-purpose surface cleaner, glass cleaner, disinfectant cleaner, carpet shampoo, restroom cleaner, floor finish and sealer and floor finish remover. Toilet tissue and paper towels made from 70 percent post-consumer waste have been used in residence halls for many years. Miami has been utilizing less wasteful roll paper towels and toilet paper instead of folded, single sheet towels and tissue.

The staff at McKee Hall report that the cost of green cleaners is comparable in price to traditional cleaning chemicals. In addition, they are less wasteful as dispensing units measure the proper mix amounts. They are safer for employees and require less personal safety equipment during use.

With the success of going green clean at McKee, use of these environmentally friendly products will expand to the Child Development Center and Dennison Hall. By August 2008, all residence halls will use the green cleaning products.

Dennis Adams, senior building and grounds manager in the department of housing, dining and guest services, is looking forward to being part of this green sweep.

"Dennison Hall is an environmentally friendly residence hall and is excited to be involved in this pilot program. We look forward to the positive impact this should have on our community as we continue to deliver high levels of service," Adams said.

Jay Barden, senior building and grounds manager at Heritage Commons, says his cleaning team has been using micro-fiber cloth mops, which require less water and cleaning solution, and they work well. His staff likes the ease of use and simple care of the mops. The micro-fiber mops have proven very effective in cleaning the tile and laminate flooring at Heritage Commons.

Environmental stewardship at Miami is just not happening with cleaning in the residence halls. Recycling is also a priority, with personal recycling containers in each residence hall room and larger containers located on each floor. Every hall has a recycling drop-off location for ink cartridges and batteries. Compact fluorescent bulbs are being used in lamps and outside building lights to conserve electricity, reduce utility expenses and reduce labor hours.

Another initiative of housing, dining and guest services involves working with local community and farmers to increase the amount of locally grown produce served in the dining facilities. Produce purchased locally includes honey, apples, squash, zucchini, pumpkin, chorizo and cheese. All campus markets sell spring water bottled in Fairfield County, Ohio. Redhawk water is also bottled in Ohio. Finally, Tuffy's is selling locally produced ice cream (Young's Dairy) at Swoops Scoops.

Dining services has implemented various initiatives to reduce the amount of solid waste produced every year. In dining operations, a central production operation is utilized that allows purchasing and storage of produce and dry goods in large quantities to reduce packaging and shipping requirements.

The average university campus generates more than 2,000 tons of solid waste each year, which costs approximately $350,000 per year to collect and process for recycling and composting or landfill disposal. Miami diverts about 60 percent of this waste from landfills through its campuswide recycling program. Housing, dining and guest services is currently working with the Presidential Task Force for Environmental Sustainability to investigate the option of composting food waste and recycling cooking oil for bio-diesel.

Dining services has reduced the pack size on many of the products by switching from canned to pouch packages. Product specifications are written with sustainability in mind, requiring many vendors to reduce their packaging materials. Also, a switch has been made from bleached napkins and paperware products to recycled brown paper products made with 40 percent post consumer materials. Moreover, disposable plates are being replaced with plates made from bamboo and sugarcane - both considered highly sustainable products.

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