Headshot Stephen Ashkin

Earth Day Exhibition

March 4, 2020
Seven tips to showcase at your Earth Day event.

Earth Day is officially April 22, but it is often celebrated throughout the entire month of April, frequently with events highlighting environmental accomplishments. Thus, this is the perfect opportunity to showcase what the cleaning and maintenance department is doing to reduce environmental impacts and protect health.

Begin by enlisting vendors of cleaning products to host a table. Showcase some of the innovative technologies, green cleaning products and tools, and perhaps consider a raffle or drawing to give away something that can be used in a resident hall, apartment, fraternity/sorority or home. And some cleaning technologies can lead to interesting discussions about STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) curriculums, as the cleaning industry has fully embraced technology.

  1. Robots, Automatic Scrubbers and Floor Machines: Students and teachers love technology and will enjoy seeing big pieces of equipment that use scrubbers that produce their own cleaning solutions and recycle water, floor machines that reduce dust from stripping floors, and robots. What a huge improvement over old-fashioned mops and buckets.
  2. On-Site Generators of Cleaning Products: Showcase some of these new technologies if your school or university is using or testing them. These are the future of cleaning chemicals because the solutions work, and they significantly reduce environmental impacts compared with traditional chemicals.
  3. Green Cleaning Chemicals and Hand Soaps: Showcase some “certified” chemicals (e.g.., Safer Choice or Green Seal) and discuss how these third-party certifications make it easier to buy with confidence because the science of reducing impacts on health, safety, environment and performance is complex. This also may lead to interesting discussions. Vendors may be willing to provide samples to give to students; people appreciate a small bottle of hand sanitizer to keep in their backpacks or on their desks.
  4. Vacuum Cleaner and High Filtration Bags: Backpack vacuums and new battery powered options may be interesting for discussion purposes. In addition to a discussion about batteries, highlight what distinguishes a high-filtration vacuum and the need to use high-quality vacuum bags.
  5. Paper and Plastic Products with Post-Consumer Recycled Content: Showcase samples of products with post-consumer recycled content and explain the environmental benefits of using them. Manufacturers of paper and plastic liners products can provide information about the environmental benefits, such as the number of trees saved and the reduction in water and waste from the manufacturing process.
  6. Entry Mats: Showcase an entryway mat and explain why it is important to capture dirt and soils before it enters a building and that different types of mats are preferred depending on weather and other considerations. Explain why students, staff and faculty should use high-quality mats in their own apartments and homes (and they should consider a “no shoes” policy as well).
  7. Mops, Buckets, Tools & Supplies: Many facilities are using products that can foster an interesting discussion with occupants. For example, microfiber flat mops and dual-compartment mop buckets create an opportunity to talk about reducing cross-contamination and why we need to avoid simply spreading dirt around, as well as strategies to reduce water consumption.

In the end, Earth Day is an opportunity to inform and educate students, faculty and staff about the importance of facility management and green cleaning to reduce unnecessary impacts on the environment and protect health. Plus, these strategies can help improve practices at home, or in student housing, fraternities and sororities.

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