Chris Weaver’s column on all things green makes a welcome return to the Journal’s pages.
I was fortunate to attend the 2008 Lagasse/Sweet Florida & Export Tradeshow just recently. Lagasse/Sweet is a huge supplier of cleaning products and agents. The theme and main focus of this year’s show was the environment and each vendor/ manufacturer was invited to showcase their own initiatives.
This is where I found certain inconsistencies and even blatant cases of Greenwashing!
Yes, it’s a new word for a new batch of products that are determined to hold onto market share by introducing various shades of greenness. I noticed certain products were self certified and proclaimed to be green though still containing bad active ingredients including harsh surfactants amongst others.
As a consumer we can be guided by several trusted and impartial independent bodies these include Green Seal and EPA, among others.
We should not be discouraged however by these vendors with shades of green because in many instances it is their first step down the road of environmental responsibility.
As a foodservice vendor with a passion for the environment we have sought out products that fit the green solutions criteria (products that are re-usable, biodegradable, non toxic, or made from renewable sources). As we have gone through this process we have replaced many products that are both popular and widely used. Bleach (in floor cleaning) has been replaced by neutral floor cleaners, used in conjunction with Microfibre mopping technology which replaces standard mop bucket wringers and outdated cotton or rayon mops. This gives effective cleaning power whilst reducing the amounts of chemicals and waste water going back into the environment.
One outstanding fact has been the welcome these products have received from customers and cleaning personnel alike.
The Cayman Islands Hospital, and in particular the brand new dietary building, is leading the way in embracing these new environmentally-friendly products and cleaning systems.
The Health Services Authority has a special responsibility in maintaining the highest possible standards of sanitation for their patients, staff and us the general public.
The new kitchen, built by McAlpine to withstand another Ivan event, is not only state of the art and brand new but is determined to stay that way by adopting very high standards of operation whilst adopting environmentally sound practices and procedures. Instrumental in this endeavour has been Mrs. Anderson and Sonja Rockett who operate the new facility backed up by Derrick Tibbetts and his recent successor Owen Partridge in Facility Management.
Already open, the new Pink Ladies cafeteria (within the dietary building) will be a welcome sight to everyone who has used the old cramped temporary facility. They have also joined the effort by using biodegradable disposables and encouraging customers to separate waste by having recycling bins on premises. This could be described as only a light shade of green as the garbage will initially be picked up by the Department of Environmental Health and dumped in the landfill, but this is a step in anticipation of the brighter green of curbside recycling which is supposed to start soon.
I invite the powers that be to comment on the progress made in the direction of curbside recycling.
We can be very proud of our new Hospital dietary facility; it will serve Cayman well into the future. Not that I would wish a hospital visit on anyone, but if you do go you may be pleasantly surprised.