Custodial initiatives

Green cleaning

UBC Building Operations has a Green Cleaning Program that encompasses a number of comprehensive green cleaning/housekeeping initiatives that all of our staff are trained in. These initiatives are being implemented within the University of British Columbia and incorporated into the everyday operations of custodial services to reduce the environmental impact of cleaning products.

These initiatives include switching to:

  • Non-toxic Eco Logo certified cleaning products (or approved alternates) in all spaces to ensure a healthy indoor environment for staff and visitors, and a safe working environment for staff, faculty and students. Current eco logo and/or eco-friendly cleaning products used on campus are:
    • Neutral general purpose cleaner
    • Disinfectant
    • Cream cleaning for porcelain cleaning
    • Mild acid toilet bowl cleaner
    • Heavy duty degreaser
  • Portion controlled green seal certified chemical dispensing units which are mounted to the custodial room walls in 78% of academic buildings on campus. This helps reduce the amount of chemicals used by ensuring proper dilution.  Our goal is to switch all academic buildings on campus to portion controlled chemical dispensing units by the end of 2012
  • Value plus-degradable garbage bags
  • 100% recycled paper products in efficient jumbo size rolls, which reduces the time taken to replenish the paper dispensing units
  • Ergonomically designed equipment and tools that are lighter and easier to use, and also reduce the amount of stretching, bending and lifting required of staff
  • Micro fibre cleaning cloths that are colour coded to eliminate cross contamination issues.  These cloths have been proven to pick up twice the bacteria and dirt as common hand wipes.  Cloths used in washrooms are never used in any other areas of the facility
  • A wet mopping system that also uses this colour coded system to reduce or eliminate the risk of cross-contamination
  • A dry mopping system that uses an electrostatic charge to magnetically attract dust and dirt.  As these mops actually attract dust, it allows us to clean more surface area than any other disposal, dry dusting system
  • A wax applicator system that has reduced the amount of floor finish usage around campus.  Any conventional floor finish can be used in this system thus removing the need for a mop and bucket combination and eliminating the wastage and disposal of unused floor finish
  • Autoscrubbers that are designed to reduce detergent and water waste and operate well below the requirements for sound levels set by LEED-EB and GS-42, these models have received NFSI certification for reducing the possibility of slip and fall accidents

Upcoming targets

Many green cleaning products and machines have been trialed as we continue to search for green alternatives. In order to provide the highest quality of service, whilst reducing our environmental impact we are currently trialing:

  • Carpet cleaning/extractor machines, lighter weight burnishers and floor machines
  • Green eco logo foam soap versus current colour/scented gel hand soap. This soap can deliver up to 2500 hand washes, reducing the amount of soap used, as well as the number of times the dispensers need to be refilled. In addition, the new foam soap system uses a box-less refill pouch to reduce packaging waste by up to 80% over standard bag-in-box systems
  • Autoscrubbers that use ec-H20 electrically converted water technology. These machines will potentially increase productivity whilst using 70% less water and 90% less detergent than conventional scrubbing
  • An air hand dryer in one of our buildings to assess the environmental, social and economic impacts of these machines as an alternative to recycled paper towel. These units will be assessed on user acceptability, power consumption and delivery on performance claims