Earth Day was founded in 1970. U.S. Senatory Gaylord Nelwo of Wisconsin called for a nationwide demonstration in the spring of 1970 aimed to raise awareness of environmental issues. It worked. The first national Earth Day was April 22, 1970.
Cleaning product changes reduce chemical waste
When the Weill Cornell Medical College assumed responsibility for housekeeping services in the Weill Greenberg Center and the research buildings in 2008, the college took that opportunity to transition to green cleaning processes throughout the campus. All of the routine cleaning products used on campus are approved by Green Seal, which is an independent, nonprofit organization that sets environmental standards and awards a Green Seal of Approval to products that are friendlier to the environment. The impact of converting is enormous considering the quantities of cleaning products used annually by the Medical College. Flore Berger, Director Housekeeping Services, has led the initiative to greener cleaning not only for the planet, but for a better working environment for employees and staff. Ms. Berger noted that, “The Green Seal cleaning products give off fewer fumes and our vacuum cleaners use HEPA filters to reduce dust. These changes make our work areas safer.”
Housekeeping has installed special dispensing stations for our cleaning products so the correct concentration of cleaning solution is used for the type of task being performed. The cleaning cloths and mops that we use are now made of microfiber, which perform better and last longer. The special flat mops hold cleaning solution within the handle for direct application, so that compared to traditional mops, the system produces 80% less chemical waste. Together, these changes reduce the amount of chemicals released into the atmosphere and into the wastewater stream. The green cleaning approach has been expanded in July 2009 to the Medical College’s rented spaces on East 61st street, and also includes the 1300 York, Oxford, the S-Building, Olin Hall and Lasdon House.