Sustainability group pushes ‘blue cleaning’

By Victoria O’Connor


In an effort to be more environmentally friendly, the Sustainability Committee at the University of the Incarnate Word has stepped up pollution-cutting through Aramark’s “Blue Cleaning” campaign.

“Aramark being a worldwide company in cleaning services, environmental services being one of their major divisions, wanted to attack the problem of environmental concerns,” said Julian Gonzales, front line manager of Aramark’s housekeeping office at UIW.

“While Aramark still purchases a lot of chemicals that are green-sealed certified by a third party, they wanted to do more than that,” Gonzales said. “(We) feel cleaning with electrolyzed water not only passes all the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) qualifications to disinfect and to sanitize, but is also the most environmentally responsible thing to do.

This electrolyzed water is processed in a machine for 45 seconds that infuses the water with both oxygen and electricity, creating a positively charged, sanitary cleaner.

“We take (care) of our business of helping clean the campus, while helping the environment,” Gonzales said. “We started using electorally charged water in December of 2012. UIW was the first campus in the United Stated to be using the cleaning agent.”

Though the cleaner is revolutionary in its technology, some custodial staff members were skeptical on how clean the agent really was.

“There has been some criticism, and they came directly from my employees,” Gonzales said. “There was a lot of pushback saying, ‘It doesn’t smell clean, it doesn’t look like a cleaning chemical,’ but when you start breaking it down to its molecular structure, it does a better job than chemical. We find that over time we’re reducing more and more particulates in the air, (and) residue on the floor, which ultimately results in a truer, cleaner building.”

On-campus students are surprised at the lack of chemicals being used to clean the water.

“Eco-friendly, very short amount of ingredients, and it doesn’t seem that harsh if it were to be in contact with skin,” freshman Ellaine Elias said. “I think it would be very good to use the water, considering they’re having to clean the campus every minute of the day. It would be more cost-efficient and safer for the school to use.”

Since the debut of the electrolyzed water, the Sustainability Committee is doing more to get the word out as well as receive feedback.

“The Sustainability Committee has now formed an office

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