Cockroaches, mice and even the likes of bats were, at one time, par for the course at various schools around the U.S.


At some schools there would be thousands of bats nesting inside the building. Then, on the first day of a new semester, the doors would be opened, and the bats would come hurtling out. This became something of a norm and the school custodians simply got used to it and lived with it, without it being considered as much of an issue for concern.


It was typical in days gone by that a professional pest management company would be hired and they would spray their pesticides around every building on a monthly basis. That is, until Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs became popular, at which time, schools would then alter their focus. IPM is a far more common sense approach in terms of controlling pest, given that such programs depend upon a minimal amount of pesticide usage.


13505881_lAnd that?s when school directors began to consider IPM as a far healthier approach to take in terms of their students and their staff. The custodial department would become involved and the use of pesticides would be downgraded significantly, even by as much as 95-99 percent.


Along with the integration of IPMs has come huge savings for school districts, simply through the monitoring, inspecting and then reporting of pest problems on an internal basis.


Alongside IPM programs, districts have adopted green cleaning policies that favor peroxide-based products, nitrile gloves as opposed to latex gloves (reducing allergic reactions), and foaming spray heads which reduces the opportunity for aspirating chemicals.


In turn, with IPMs and a focus on ?greener? cleaning policies, it creates a far healthier environment for everyone who spends time in school facilities.


Greener, Healthier Cleaning Practices

An ever growing number of universities and K-12 schools are busy implementing greener, and far healthier cleaning practices. This includes the technological advances that help to reduce a dependency on the use of chemicals, to procedures and processes that streamline the use of labor.


Furthermore, at many schools, the custodial service workers have already been well educated, and are thus sharing their education with students, who are the future leaders of the sustainable movement.


Then, there are other establishments, such as Ann Arbor?s University of Michigan, that have transitioned over to aqueous ozone as a way to clean their halls of residence. Initially, there was plenty of skepticism towards this new technology, in part because aqueous ozone looks just like water, which means that staff felt they were using plain water for cleaning.


Nevertheless, with a heightened focus on training and on the ATP test results, there?s now plenty of custodial support, and the university now uses aqueous ozone for approximately 90 percent of their cleaning tasks.


The way it works is that the dispensers filter both water and air, then this is charged with 45,000 volts, which turns the oxygen to ozone and this is infused into the water. That is then dispensed into mop buckets, spray bottles, carpet extractors, and scrubbers.


Irrespective that the substance works exceptionally well in the removal of deep stains, more importantly, a far healthier environment has been created with the use of aqueous ozone, particularly so for those students and staff that suffer with various chemical sensitivities.


Furthermore, with a high dependency on aqueous ozone comes a terrific cut in the cost of chemicals, in addition to a lowering of the environmental footprint through the decrease in chemical usage, packaging, and also the amount of fossil fuel which was necessary for the delivery of the materials.


The students are likewise playing a particularly active role in the drive for healthier cleaning practices and in IPM programs. They wish to check through safety data sheets and learn about the sort of products that are being used. They want to learn how the integration of pest management programs helps to reduce a dependency on harmful pesticides. And, in turn, just how this benefits the environment.


The fact is that if schools and universities around the country were devoid of the implementation of green initiatives, it would be the students who would make demands for their use.