Green Cleaning

Cleaning products, materials, and procedures are an integral part of university life and operations.  However, many cleaning products contain chemicals and compounds that can harm people and the environment while contributing to indoor air pollution. Both Facilities Management Services (FMS) and USC Housing utilize green cleaning products and materials to improve indoor air quality, shrink resource consumption, and reduce waste.

Vacuums: Currently replaces old, inoperable vacuums with new CRI (Carpet and Rug Institute) approved vacuum cleaners that remove tiny allergens and pollutants from the air, improving indoor air quality.
Floor Scrubbers: Utilizes new LEED Certified ECHO (ionized water) floor scrubbers in the School of Cinematic Arts, which use tap water to clean and sterilize floors.
Carpet Cleaner: Utilizes LEED Certified Ready Space Carpet Cleaner that uses less detergent and water than conventional cleaners.
Mop Rental: Changed from purchasing and disposing of wet mops to a rental program, eliminating future waste.  These rental mops are used campus-wide.
Cleaning: Uses micro-fiber cleaning cloth technology in some areas of campus to reduce disposable rags. Uses Green Seal chemicals in many daily cleaning processes.  Green Seal products have a smaller impact on the environment over their entire life-cycle.
Equipment: Purchases only LEED certified equipment such as vacuums, auto floor scrubbers, and carpet cleaning extractors.

With future improvements in mind, FMS is currently pilot testing additional green cleaning advancements.
Recycled Carpet: USC Housing reduces waste by using new carpet that is at least partially made from recycled materials and by recycling old carpet. USC Housing recycles 100% of its recyclable carpet.
Sustainable Furniture: USC Housing reduces waste by buying 100% of its furniture from "green" manufacturers committed to limiting their environmental impact by their choices in materials, transportation and re-use of products.
Sustainable Paint: USC Housing promotes indoor environmental quality by only using low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds)/low odor paints that meet or exceed the standards for the Green Sure designation.
Sustainable Cleaning Supplies: 30% of USC Hospitality’s cleaning supplies are Green Seal certified. The cleaners required by the dish washing manufacturers are not currently Green Seal certified, and this makes up most of the cleaners purchases.
What is Green Cleaning?
Industry experts define Green Cleaning as a cleaning practice to protect the health of the surroundings without harming the environment. Adapting this technique and products for cleaning purposes helps in avoiding the use of chemically-reactive and toxic cleaning products that contain various toxic chemicals. Some of these toxic products contain volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) that can cause serious health problems to humans.
The Facilities Management at USC is upgrading its cleaning practices with in-corporation of Green and EPA preferred cleaning solvents and other efforts where appropriate. Some of the other sustainable practices initiated are:

  • Changing out old inoperable vacuums with new CRI (Carpet and Rug Institute) approved vacuum cleaners that operate at less than 70dBA sound level and capture at least 96% of particulate 0.3 microns in size.
  • Utilizing new LEED Certified ECHO (ionized water) floor scrubbers (currently used in SCA).
  • Utilizing LEED Certified Ready Space Carpet Cleaner using less detergent and water.
  • Renting mops, instead of purchasing and disposing. Thus, eliminating future waste. These rental mops are used campus-wide.
  • Using micro-fiber technology to reduce disposable rags (used in JKP and selected areas).
  • Using Green-Seal chemicals in many daily cleaning processes.
  • Purchasing of all current and future purchases of equipment such as vacuums, auto floor scrubbers or carpet cleaning extractors that are LEED certified.