Biodegradables reinforce going green

By Christine Adolf
April 2, 2009

Megan Pellegrino

The cleaning aisles at local supermarkets and local stores are starting to look like an Earth Day extravaganza.

Many cleaning products now say organic, biodegradable or environmentally friendly on their labels.

“Biodegradable means that the substance breaks down in nutrients just as any other biodegradable products, such as food waste that gets composted and the nutrients can get recycled by nature through the various nutrient cycling pathways such as how a dead animal or plant decomposes and enters the nutrient cycle,” Dr. David Dunbar, associate professor of biology, said. “Hence, biodegradable products are environmentally friendly.”

Besides keeping the environment healthy, it keeps dorm rooms clean too.

Students are not only doing a benefit to their health by having a clean room, but when they clean their rooms they are helping the environment by not spreading harmful chemicals.

“Compounds that are considered not to be biodegradable typically degrade over much longer periods of time so they can build up in the environment. And if the compound is toxic, not only is it in the environment for a very long time but can find itself in our water systems and pose a human threat,” Dunbar said.

“I do buy biodegradable products since my mom is really sensitive to strong smells and harsh chemicals just as some students are,” Gina Mulranen, junior math secondary education major, said.

Could Cabrini help the environment by asking if the cleaning company hired to clean on campus could use biodegradable or organic products on campus?

“I think that would be great in order to fit into Cabrini’s new ‘green-thumb’ we have been hearing about more often these past couple years. The cafeteria has gone eco-friendly with silverware and to-go products as well as the recycle bins that are everywhere. So I think this would be another thing to add to our already earth-friendly environment,” Mulranen said.

“Given the amount we pay for tuition and the campus’ initiative towards wildlife and preserving the ‘natural’ look of Cabrini, I think they should be required,” Joe Cahill, sophomore communication major, said.

“Biodegradables are being marketed to younger adults; I can only guess that being environmentally friendly is now considered hip. That, and younger adults seem to be more passionate about environmental issues. Why that is, I’m not sure, but I suppose it could be a generational thing,” Dunbar said.

If being environmentally friendly is generational, the world will hopefully have a facelift over time as the younger generation starts to pitch in. Using biodegradable and organic cleaning products are just one way to continue to help save the world.

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Christine Adolf

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