Congress Votes To Fund Sustainability Movement in Higher Education

According to APPA reports, on July 31, Congress passed all provisions of the Higher Education Sustainability Act (HESA) as part of the new Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HR 4137). HR 4137 creates a pioneering “University Sustainability Grants Program” at the Department of Education. It will offer competitive grants to institutions and associations of higher education to develop, implement and evaluate sustainability curricula, practices and academic programs.


This is the first new federal environmental education funding program authorized in 18 years. Endorsed by over 220 colleges and universities, higher education associations, non-governmental organizations and corporations, this grant program will provide the catalyst for colleges and universities to develop and implement more programs and practices around the principles of sustainability. The bill also directs the Department of Education to convene a national summit of higher education sustainability experts, federal agency staff and business leaders to identify best practices and opportunities for collaboration in sustainability.

The Campaign for Environmental Literacy organized the broad alliance of higher education and environmental organizations supporting the bill.


Study: Chemicals To Exceed $100 Billion In 2012

U.S. demand for industrial and institutional (I&I) cleaning chemicals is projected to increase 3.4 percent annually to over $10 billion in 2012. The leading product categories — general purpose cleaners, floor care products and warewashing detergents — will continue to rely on fairly conventional product formulations that offer cost-effective cleaning and satisfy environmental and workplace safety regulations.

Novel formulations incorporating plant-derived raw materials and other biodegradable components will register above average growth, but will remain a relatively small segment of the overall market. These and other trends are presented in Industrial & Institutional Cleaning Chemicals, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry research firm.

Growth is expected to be strong for hard surface disinfectants, general purpose cleaners, hand cleansers and other products used to ensure product and worker safety in food and beverage processing facilities and in food service applications.

The commercial and manufacturing segments are expected to register growth comparable to the overall average. The smaller institutional segment is projected to post stronger advances, due mainly to sustained growth in health care applications. Aggressive surface cleaning, equipment disinfection, floor care and other janitorial operations will continue to expand in order to assure patient safety and to minimize health care facility liabilities resulting from subpar infection control procedures.

A number of trends in raw material usage are reshaping the I&I cleaning chemical product mix. Many product formulators are moving away from harsher caustic soda in favor of more benign chlor-alkalis, such as soda ash and sodium bicarbonate that allow for milder, easier-to-use products with greener environmental profiles.


STUDY: Green Goals Unaffected By Risk Of Economic Downturn

A recent survey indicated that the prospect of a recession will not pose a serious blow to the greening of the professional cleaning industry.

Although the majority of respondents reported a cooling economy will cause some end users to be more concerned about the cost of products rather than whether they are green, the majority do not believe the slowing of the economy will have an adverse impact.

Some of the survey findings include:

• If the slowing economy does in fact make end users more hesitant to select green cleaning products, most of the manufacturers surveyed say they will take steps to push the sales of green products — more specifically, clarify and promote the message that green products are healthier for the environment and building occupants.

• In yet another response that would suggest the unwillingness of some manufacturers to recoil amid economic woes, about half of the manufacturers surveyed reported that a slowing economy will not impact the amount of resources, engineering and time committed by their companies to develop green products.

• The majority of manufacturers will not stop certifying products by certification organizations attributable to costs incurred in the process.

• If faced with a slowing economy, more than 54 percent of distributors indicated that they would promote the benefits of green products.

• More than 50 percent of the distributors indicated a slowing economy would lead them to increase their green value-added services.

This survey details the responses of roughly 5,000 subscribers of DestinationGreen, the monthly newsletter of the Ashkin Group, based in Bloomington, Ind.