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UNC Charlotte Leads the Way in Green Cleaning Programs

“Green Cleaning is defined as cleaning to protect health without harming the environment. A Green Cleaning program goes beyond chemical and equipment choices. It includes policies, procedures, training, and shared responsibility efforts that minimize the impact of cleaning materials on the health of building occupants and protect the environment as a whole.” (Green Cleaning Network 2008)

As the health and environmental benefits of green cleaning have become more evident, the awareness of green cleaning processes has grown and has been adopted by many educational institutions. UNC Charlotte is no exception and, in fact, has been leading a green cleaning program for the last ten years or so. The objective of the university’s green cleaning program is to reduce the use of resources, reduce waste, and reduce toxicity of cleaning agents used. 


Housing and Residence Life Green Cleaning Program

The Housekeeping Department of Housing and Residence Life is a campus leader in implementing a green cleaning system. Outlined below are some of the green cleaning procedures adopted by this department. 

  • Bucket-less mopping system has reduced the use of water by 62 gallons a day. 
  • The use of concentrated chemicals has reduced spending by approximately 30%.
  • Housing is using all microfiber and bottle recycled mops, microfiber dust mops, and cleaning cloths; these help contain the dirt and remove more dirt from the building.  Microfiber cloths can be washed at least 500 times.
  • Extended the entrance matting program to include recycled matting at all entrances, up to 27’ in some areas.
  • Hepa filter vacuums reduce partials from the air.


Facilities Management Green Cleaning

A key driver of the Facilities Management Green Cleaning Program is to obtain LEED points in addition to the health and environmental benefits accrued from such a program. Highlights of the program are:

  • Cleaning products are Green Seal approved.
  • Reviewing products for greener options such as looking at non-metal interlinking floor finish, non-butyl wax stripper as well as floor and carpet cleaning equipment that uses less water. (Boost auto scrubber and Stride microfiber carpet machine) 
  • Vacuums with HEPA filters and lower noise output. 
  • An entrance door mat replacement program. 
  • In restrooms: hands free paper towel dispenser which regulate paper flow (paper towel usage down 25%).
  • Coreless toilet paper (no paper waste).
  • Green Seal hand soap (Aero blue foam soap).
  • Trash can liners made up of reprocessed resins. 
  • Using Microfiber cloths, wet mops, and dust mops. 
  • Instituted a bucket-less mopping system.

In addition to internal departmental actions, FM Housekeeping and Recycling have launched an initiative to partner with students, faculty, and staff to reduce the amount of waste generated and direct a higher percentage of waste to the recycling waste stream and away from landfills. In July 2009, during the second summer term, a pilot program was introduced that removed trash receptacles from the classrooms in the Fretwell and Friday buildings. The pilot program has continued into the fall semester and recycling rates have increased over 20%. The pilot is scheduled to be expanded to the rest of the academic buildings in January 2010. Another pilot study to have individual office occupants take their office trash to a central trash receptacle near their office has been initiated and will be in full swing in three buildings in January 2010.



GREEN CLEANING NETWORK, LLC. (2007). Green Cleaning Definition. Retrieved Jan. 15, 2009, from



For further information, please contact: 

Rose-Marie Walley | Housekeeping Administrator of Housing and Residence Life

UNC Charlotte | Scott Hall

9201 University City Blvd. | Charlotte, NC 28223

Phone: 704-687-7531 | Fax: 704-687-3161 |


Brian Guns,

Facilities Management

Director of Housekeeping & Recycling



UNC Charlotte Sustainability Web site