Dining services switch cleaning products to help environment

By Daina Havens
April 12, 2007

Emily Buerger

In the cafeteria, silverware is cleaner, working conditions are safer and the amount of harmful, potent chemicals being dumped down the drain is diminishing. This is all due to the dining services’ switch from commercial cleaning chemicals to a new line of environmentally friendly chemicals, which occurred over spring break. The website of the new chemical supplier, Ecolab, claims that it is “your trusted source for cleaning, food safety and infection prevention products and procedures.”

“The products are good because they are safe for our employees to use, there is no threat that the chemicals would be harmful to people eating, [they] lead to less waste in landfills, are easier on sewer systems and [are] not harmful at all to wildlife,” Drew Niemann, the general manager of Dining Services, said.

According to Niemann and Sous Chef Robert Veasy, everything that comes in to contact with food or eating utensils is now cleaned with the new cleaning solutions, which means the chance for harmful chemical residue is obsolete. They said the sales person from the company even licked some of the solution to prove that it is not harmful. The new packaging is even biodegradable, which greatly reduces the amount of waste that accumulates in the dumpsters.

“Using healthier products to clean the materials we eat off of is important for everyone here at Cabrini because the dangers that are being reduced; not that we were in danger before, but you can never be too safe,” exercise science and health promotion major Amanda Green said.

What does this mean for Cabrini College? According to Niemann and Veasy, there are no foreseen negatives of this new method of sanitation, short or long term, and this step they have taken fully supports both Cabrini’s environmentally friendly Founder’s Day theme, and the mission of the college to be ethically responsible and environmentally aware.

Inspiration for the switch began with dining services actively looking for ways of improvement, and then it seemed like an even better idea when the mission-minded student body was taken into consideration, according to Niemann.

“It’s something that the college believes in,” Niemann said.

“The amount of waste that any institution or this country make is huge, and if Cabrini can cut down on its waste, then the environment is one step closer to being cleaner,” Green said.

The method of green cleaning, or cleaning with environmentally friendly cleaning supplies, is something everyone can participate in. According to the website of the U.S. Environmental protection agency, “Green cleaning involves selecting alternative products, using those products properly, and taking other steps to reduce risks while maintaining a satisfactory level of cleanliness and disinfection.” Especially now that it’s time for spring-cleaning, www.greencleanbook.com shares simple steps that everyone can take to be a steward for the environment.

Glen Newman, a cafeteria utility worker who is responsible for stocking the new chemicals, said, “change is good.”

According to Niemann and Veasy, the small increase of cost to make these significant changes is well worth it, and their near-future plans include converting the dining services in the Mansion, and Jazzman’s caf

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Daina Havens

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