Clean and green: Initiative benefits Benedictine community and environment

April 10, 2013

Lisle, Illinois ~ Benedictine University's custodial staff isn't just cleaning classrooms, offices and other spaces across campus – they're cleaning up the environment, too.

With the implementation of a slate of new environmentally friendly cleaning products, the University is reducing water consumption and pollution while improving indoor air quality for its employees and students.

The result is a healthier, safer and greener campus, according to Jay L. Stuart, director of Campus Services at Benedictine.

"These new products allow us to clean faster and better while reducing our impact on the environment," Stuart said. "This is one of many initiatives the University has taken to reduce its carbon footprint in an effort to become as environmentally sustainable as possible."

The new products include all-purpose and window cleaners that are biodegradable and derived from renewable resources like corn and soybeans. Microfiber towels are also used in place of cotton towels, allowing staff to capture and retain more contaminants while cutting back on water and energy use.

The products are certified by Green Seal, an independent nonprofit organization that promotes the manufacture, purchase and use of environmentally responsible products and services. Green Seal ensures those products meet rigorous, science-based leadership standards.

In addition to the improved cleaning methods, the University continues to focus on other environmentally friendly initiatives to reduce waste and recycle through the addition of a grant-funded cardboard baler, a program that composts cafeteria food scraps and a new trayless dining system that reduces the amount of water required for dishwashing.

The University has also received grant money from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation to make upgrades to indoor lighting systems, and continues to monitor and maintain efficient lighting and temperature use throughout campus buildings under a curtailment program that greatly reduces energy consumption.

Other steps to increase the University's sustainability include the construction of bioswales, which help to remove pollutants from rainwater runoff before seeping back into the ground or sewer, the Ben Bikes rental program and "Sustainable Saturday," which provides the greater community with the opportunity to responsibly dispose of or recycle electronics and other items that would otherwise leak harmful toxins into the environment.

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Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 56 undergraduate majors, 16 graduate and four doctorate programs. The Chronicle of Higher Education recently ranked Benedictine University as the seventh fastest-growing campus among private nonprofit master’s universities, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among the top 20 percent of America’s colleges for 2011. Benedictine University’s Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain’s Chicago Business as the fourth largest in the Chicago area in 2011.

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