Interview with Jay Ismailovic: Brock’s Green Cleaning Program

Image courtesy of Floortje from Getty Images Signature

By: Kassie Burns

Behind the scenes, many individuals take initiative to incorporate sustainability on Brock University’s campus. Often, these acts of stewardship are implemented everyday without people realizing it. We wanted to highlight one of these initiatives by discussing Brock’s Green Cleaning Program, which runs through custodial services. Jay Ismailovic, Manager of Custodial Services, took some time to share with us his thoughts about the program and green cleaning products on campus. 

1. Why do you think it is important to incorporate environmentally conscious and green cleaning products on campus? 

Green cleaning is the process of selecting cleaning products that are safer for people and the planet. Using green cleaning products is good for the health and wellbeing of all of us on campus. Many benefits can be identified by using green cleaning products from preventing unnecessary chemicals from being released into the environment, to improving the quality of indoor air, protecting the health of custodians who use chemicals daily, protecting the health of the entire Brock community, reducing the exposure to allergy-causing substances, preventing the environmental damage, etc.

2. How do you determine what constitutes an environmentally conscious cleaning product? Are there any requirements to meet a standard? (i.e., no phosphates or fragrance, recyclable/compostable packaging, etc.) 

For cleaning chemical to be considered environmentally friendly it has to have a third-party certification for cleaning chemicals such as Green Seal, EcoLogo, Greenguard, etc. and it has to be effective while minimizing wasted chemicals, water, energy and time to clean and not harm human health or the environment. Third-party certification means that product has undergone rigorous scientific testing and strict auditing, to prove its compliance with stringent environmental performance standards. It is also important to know that producers of green cleaning products incorporate recycled content and reduce the amount of material in packaging, and they make sure that every shipping box and all empty containers are recyclable. And one other significant benefit is also achieved by producers delivering “super concentrated” chemicals in closed-loop dispensers. For example: super concentrated product reduces up to 98.5% in packaging materials compared to non-green products. Cleaning chemical dispensers also eliminate over-use of cleaning chemicals.

3. How did the transition process work when switching from artificial chemical-based products to more environmentally conscious products? How long has Brock been using green products?

Custodial Services at Brock University has been using green cleaning products for over 15 years. The idea to switch to green cleaning products was a result of our ongoing commitment to health & safety, innovation and a greener future. Transition process included number of important steps such as: review of all products and practices being in place at the time, action plan, testing and evaluation of various certified green cleaning products, selection of products, custodians training, implementation, etc. That was a joint effort of all stakeholders on campus which resulted in implementation of Green Cleaning Program.

4. What are you hoping to achieve by using these products? 

By using green cleaning products at Brock University our goal is to reduce the exposure of students, custodians, faculty, staff members and visitors to potentially harmful cleaning chemicals which negatively affect air quality, human health, building finishes, and the environment we study and work in. Every single one of us has the responsibility to do everything we can at work, or outside work, to reduce our environmental footprint and leave our planet unharmed for future generations and every step, and every action, counts. And Custodial Services definitely is one of the leaders on campus in doing its part by using environmentally friendly, green, cleaning products and supporting all sustainability initiatives.

5. How do you think this initiative will create a positive impact on campus?  

Sustainability is a global challenge facing all and certainly Brock University is dealing with those challenges. All our activities on campus have a direct impact on the environment. Every day thousands of us are on the campus working and studying, as well as many students are living in our beautiful student residences. All this activity requires joint effort of many employees to ensure things are running smoothly and safely. And definitely keeping things safe and clean for campus community requires use of many cleaning products daily. And with embracing green cleaning products on campus we are creating a positive impact by protecting health and safety of Brock community and ensuring that cleanliness and sustainability go hand in hand.

This initiative contributes to the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which you can read more about here: SDG 3, SDG 12, SDG 13

Many thanks are given to Jay for taking the time and consideration to share his insight into the Green Cleaning Program at Brock, which has helped form this remarkable good news story!

Categories: Student Contributor, Sustainability at Brock