Did You Know?: Newspapers get a second life
Yes, some of you may take a newspaper into the bathroom with you in the morning-but it's usually for reading, not for cleaning. But cleaning with newspaper is exactly what Bowdoin's Housekeeping Team is starting to do-and you can help!
In her continual drive to make housekeeping operations more sustainable, the Assistant Director for Housekeeping Services, Ann Goodenow, has come up with a new way to cut down on the paper towels used for cleaning windows and mirrors. After testing out the practice on her windows at home, Goodenow realized that newspaper does an excellent job at cleaning mirror and window surfaces-and does not leave behind any lint residue like paper towels do.
What's the point of using newspapers instead of paper towels? It will reduce the amount of paper towel waste we send to the Brunswick landfill and reduce the amount of money we spend on paper towels-both laudable goals for the College. Over the past 18 months the College has ordered 832 cases of paper towels at an average cost of $19.37 per case. While it may seem like a small cost-it does add up ($16,158).
And the great news is that once the newspapers have been used for cleaning windows and mirrors, they can STILL be recycled. Because of the cleaning solution we use, it does not impact the recycling process. If we used a straight ammonia cleaner, then the newspapers would have to be thrown in the trash, because ammonia-treated paper degrades the recycled mix to the point that is not useable for other paper products (thanks to Town of Brunswick Public Works for checking into this for us).
So, how can you help? By recycling your newspapers in the designated newspaper recycling area in your building (but you already do that anyway don't you?) If you don't know where the recycling room is in your building, please ask your housekeeper. Housekeeping will place a sign above the newspaper recycling container to make people aware of our pilot program.
The sign will say, "Please leave your used newspapers here for the housekeeper to clean windows and glass in this building." Our hope is that they will have ready access to newspapers within their buildings and not have to bring them in from other parts of campus.
We plan to test pilot this in Chamberlain Hall, Smith Union, Appleton Hall, and Coles Tower-so if you live in or have classes in one of these buildings, keep your eyes out for a place to drop your newspaper once you are through reading it-it will get a second life! Look for the marked areas beginning on Monday, February 9.
Thanks to all of the housekeeping staff for their continued achievements in reducing, reusing, and recycling-they are great role models for the rest of us to follow.
Do you have suggestions for a campus sustainability project? Email Keisha Payson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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