Custodial Services gets serious about cleaning

Douglas Miller

Environment-friendly, healthy products to be used

Kent State Custodial Services will be using only environmentally friendly, “green” cleaning products just in time for Earth Day on Sunday, Custodial Manager John Walsh said.

Green cleaning involves using alternative products properly and taking other steps to reduce health and environmental risks while still keeping things clean and disinfected, according to the Environmental Protection Agency Web site.

“It is our responsibility to do this because it provides the students, faculty and staff with a safer environment,” Walsh said.

Walsh said Kent State is under contract with Chemsafe International, which will be providing all of the university’s green cleaning supplies. Chemsafe was chosen from a group of seven other companies after it tested each company’s products.

Chemsafe International is a cleaning compounds retail specialist located in Bedford.

“We have been using green products for a few years now in all the academic buildings,” Walsh said. “We have been using up the rest of the old products in the M.A.C. Center.”

Eric Kneier, director of operations at Chemsafe, said he is impressed Kent State decided to take a proactive approach to going green.

“Instead of waiting for federal laws regulating cleaning products, Kent State Custodial Services has decided to do the right thing now,” Kneier said.

Walsh said the transition to green cleaning products was hard at first. He said the green cleaning supplies take a little more work to get the same result as some of the harsh chemicals his staff was used to.

“It took a lot of commitment from management and staff to get comfortable with the new cleaning system,” Walsh said. “Once everyone was comfortable we all realized the benefits of the green products.”

The five chemicals used in the buildings are interchangeable and color-coded, which helps employees know what they are using just by looking at them.

“The chemicals are proportioned so that they are not overused,” Kneier said. “Our chemicals are cheaper, readily available and maintainable.”

Kneier also said that since Chemsafe’s headquarters are in Northeast Ohio, it has been able to customize Kent State’s products to deal with salt and other regional cleaning problems.

Walsh said Custodial Services will be hanging up certified green certificates in the entryway of each academic building to raise awareness. The certificates will be up sometime before Earth Day.

“We are trying to get the word out to building occupants,” Walsh said. “They should know how much green products benefit both the environment and the conditions in buildings.”

Kent State joins Pennsylvania and New York in the push toward using green product in all state-funded government buildings.

Contact building and grounds reporter Douglas Miller at [email protected].