TURI » Our Work » Cleaning Labora... » Past Projects » Janitorial Pilot for Greener Cle...  

Janitorial Pilot for Greener Cleaners

Janitorial Pilot for Greener Cleaners


by Carole LeBlanc, Ph.D.
Pinanski Hall, one of the older buildings of the University of Massachusetts Lowell, has served as a successful pilot for the introduction of green cleaning products on UML's North Campus.

Collaborating with the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI), a tenant on the third floor, Physical Plant Foreman, Jerry Ryan agreed to use Rochester Midland's (Rochester, New York) EnviroCare line of products in lieu of conventional cleaners. Testing took place over the summer months during the previous academic year. The company donated the cleaning supplies and equipment. The Pinanski building was chosen for this pilot since it presents a number of cleaning challenges, mostly due to its age. Alternative cleaners, should they perform well here, could be expected to perform at least as well in the newer or remodeled buildings at any other University site.

The existing cleaners were rated "3 - moderate health hazard", whereas the replacement cleaners were rated "1 - low health hazard" on their respective Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs), on a scale of 0 - 4. The National Fire Protection Association (www.nfpa.org) is a common source for this numerical ranking system. The system provides a fair and objective comparison of products' safety, as formulated by manufacturers. NFPA ratings can therefore serve as a guide for the transport, handling and storage consequences of chemicals, not just their use. In addition, Rochester Midland's (RM) cleaners were chosen for this study since they are recognized under the state's Environmentally Preferable Products (EPP) procurement program for agencies and vendors doing business with the Commonwealth (www.state.ma.us/osd/enviro/products.htm).

The pilot consisted of maintaining three floors of older, linoleum tile (3 x 1,248 square feet (ft2) per hall = 3,744 ft2) as well as three men's rooms (3 x 325 = 975 ft2) and two women's facilities (2 x 225 = 450 ft2). The bathroom square footage cleaned totals 1,425 with an overall square footage of 5,169 for the entire building's upkeep.

At the conclusion of the summer, Mr. Ryan commented that he saw "no decrease in cleaning performance with the safer RM cleaners."  A training session was held on campus with RM's Manager of Environmental Health and Safety (EH & S), Mr. Paul Ferruzza and UML staff. The EnviroCare cleaners are still being used in the Pinanski building, with funds being made available by Rich Lemoine of UML's EH & S Department to extend the trials to other buildings on both campuses.

For more information on the Pinanski tests, please contact the Surface Solutions Laboratory at 978-934-3249. To become involved in the ongoing project, please contact Rich Lemoine, Director of EH&S at 978-934-2619.