Products: It is the "P" in PFEWG!

PFEWG™: How We Feel About “Products”

The Cambridge Public School Department is committed to finding and purchasing sustainable products, as well as using products in sustainable ways with an emphasis on re-use, upcycling, and minimal waste production. This includes: using building materials, classroom items, and office supplies made from recycled content; using green cleaners in all of our schools; lowering the use of any and all toxins; using less paper and cardboard; switching out polystyrene and non-recyclable cafeteria food service ware for compostable bioware; and more.

What’s Happening Now!

Custodial Management
Currently, the Facilities Department has inventoried, recycled, and replaced outdated custodial cleaning equipment with new equipment that utilizes environmentally-friendly products, methods, and supplies. Specifically, we have removed all conforming cleaning supplies from our schools, implementing a Green Cleaning Program in partnership with Casey Engineering that utilizes metered green cleaning supplies through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts under the contract for environmentally-preferred cleaning products (contract #GR016). All custodians have been trained, and buildings stocked with multiple dispensers and products, which reduce packaging resources. A custodial cleaning standards handbook provides a template for custodians utilizing the green cleaning products. Facilities developed a baseline to look at the cleaning needs based on the environmental contaminants outside the building, and mitigation of the contaminants in the building.

Pest & Building Management
All pest-management plans have been updated, non-VOC paint is implemented and bid for, environmentally-friendly ice melt is used, all water coolers have been removed and replaced with water filtration systems, and glass replacement in buildings is completed with the highest R value glass available in this area.

Food Services and More
Once prices and product selection are competitive and complete, our hope is to work on having all Styrofoam food service ware replaced by biodegradable alternatives, and eventually collected for composting. In partnership with our Food Services department, the Department of Public Works (DPW), and the Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA), projects are underway to phase out polystyrene entirely and use only compostable food products like biodegradable trays and plates. Additionally, we are working with our internal Purchasing Department to order environmentally-sustainable office products, and energy-saving appliances and machines for our schools and offices.

Read more about the PFEWG™ Model for Sustainability >>