Green Tip of the Month: Greener Spring Cleaning

Green Tip of the Month: Greener Spring Cleaning

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Cleaning surfaces
Many common cleaning solutions contain derivatives of nonrenewable petroleum, such as paraffin, mineral oil and diethylene glycol, whose extraction and refinement contribute to air and water pollution. Other common chemicals, phosphates, cause algal bloom when reaching bodies of water, depriving marine life of oxygen. As an alternative, clean surfaces with citrus- and plant-based solutions, wiping them clean with reusable towels and sponges available from the Rockefeller Storeroom, instead of disposable paper towels.

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Refreshing floors and walls
Reduce waste and exposure to harmful chemicals by cleaning bare floors with a damp reusable acrylic yarn dust mop, instead of a chemically-treated, disposable mopping pad system. Spot clean rugs, or deep clean them with plant-based solvents and steam
extraction instead of using toxic dry cleaning chemicals. When painting, look for low-, zero- or no-VOC (volatile organic compounds) content paints, which release fewer harmful chemical gases into the air. Visit nycwasteless.com for information on proper disposal of empty paint cans in the local area. 

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Maintaining clean air
Indoor air pollution levels can exceed 100 times that of outdoor levels. To dissipate a strong odor, boil cinnamon, cloves or other spices instead of relying on toxic chemicals in air freshener sprays, aerosols or plug-ins. Invest in an air filter and place it in an unobstructed area of the household, or buy houseplants to help filter the air naturally.

Did You Know?

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Only 30% of the approximately 17,000 petrochemicals available for home use have been tested for their impact on human and environmental health. 

For more information on the university's green initiatives, visit rockefeller.edu/sustainability