green cleaning at School

Green Cleaning At School – Kellina Brennan

Because germs are invisible, we become quietly lulled into a false sense of security- a peace shattered with the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. The return to schools and workplaces came with a trepidation measured in masks and air filters, cleaning wipes, and 6-foot distances. I can’t remember ever having been asked to clean my desk before, not to mention shared classroom items like lab equipment and printers. That’s not to say they weren’t cleaned, as our school has an incredible janitorial staff that works tirelessly to ensure we move from classrooms to the lunchroom to our athletic facilities in a safe and clean environment. But before COVID-19, we hadn’t been asked to clean and disinfect our desks and study spaces. What had never been a thought- things like cleaning study tables in the library before sitting down and again before leaving- was now a requirement. Our cleaning staff was phenomenal at their jobs, but even with additional staff members hired, our school, along with the world, seemed to need Herculean strength to battle the virus. Germs, always around us, became more of a threat. Thanks to directives from the CDC and our school board, our teachers instructed us to disinfect our desks before sitting down and again before we left the class. Disinfectant wipes, spray bottles, and paper towels were in every room and at stations in the halls. In our cafeteria, where we had once shared meals like family at long tables, we now sat at desks, separated by the required footage. Looking around, spray bottles of disinfectant were as standard as sandwiches. This scene was remarkable when viewed historically and simultaneously relatively unremarkable, identical to ones played out throughout schools everywhere. 

This practice of schoolchildren taking ownership of cleaning their personal space represents a large-scale challenge of kids handling and utilizing cleaning products. Spraying cleaning fluids and wiping surfaces down became routine, almost robotic. 

We find ourselves now in a time when cleaning staff is working endless hours to meet stringent deep cleaning requirements in schools and other public places. Gone are the days when students simply neaten their desks or make sure the lockers are not overflowing with books and papers. As communities, we are taking the task of cleaning into our own hands, a necessary boost to the existing cleaning policies that will work at risk reduction and keep students and staff healthy. 

As President of our high school’s Science Club, I introduced discussions in our meetings about this increase in cleaning and chemicals in our school. We added to our calendar several sessions to make cleaning clothes. A paper towel roll, water, vinegar, and essential oil create a non-toxic and great smelling alternative. We sampled ideas and found baking soda to be is a cleaner’s dream. More importantly, we need to move this creative thinking from a club activity to advocacy within the school and district. As students, we need to raise awareness that we want and expect the school to be looking at the products they are using and switch to green alternatives when possible. Our club-made cleaning cloths are not a realistic solution for the plethora of deep cleaning needs schools have, but the county can be held accountable to purchase environmentally friendly cleaners.

As we move forward with our club, we will be working in tandem with the Environmental Club to look for ways to encourage green cleaning. Reducing our chemical usage within the school means responsible usage and minimizing wastefulness. For students, use only as much of a cleaner as you need and no more. Ensure that students, teachers, and all staff members are aware of what chemicals are in the cleaners they are using, and offer them a green alternative. Beyond the environmentally friendly cleaner made in our club meetings, the school must be using cleaning products from the classrooms to the kitchen aligned with the forward-thinking mindset of raising the next generation of leaders. This will take action and advocacy brought to the school board and district from students and staff. With purpose and concern for the future, students can bring about clean ideas that make a difference. 

Learn More about Kellina Brennan here!

Laura Augustine Wordpress(2)

Getting to Know Kellina Brennan

Kellina Brennan is currently a senior in high school and is one of two of Ecolink’s one-thousand-dollar scholarship recipients. We wanted to get to know a bit more about Kellina and her winning essay, so we asked. Here’s what we learned about Kellina: 

As a high school senior, Kellina is looking forward to starting college in the fall and will use her Ecolink scholarship award to help pay tuition. As a senior, she participates in the school science club, and the national honor society, both of which actively involve community service and giving back to others. She passes her free time doing crafting, crocheting, and sewing.

In college, Kellina hopes to major in computer science and will look for different clubs and volunteer activities to continue her work improving the environment. Upon graduation, she would love to work in a city environment in the northeast for a little while. She’s considering Washington D.C. or Boston.

Kellina was inspired to write her essay because she values our environment. She thinks everyone can play an important part by showing compassion towards the environment at the most basic level. “People care more when things touch them personally, but the environment touches all of us personally. We need to foster conservation and compassion toward the environment,” she said.

Kellina’s advice to anyone promoting environmental change is as follows: “Educate yourself, learn what you can do on a small scale, the little things in your life, but also think how you can help to make a political change on a larger scale.” 

Ecolink is proud to award Kellina this scholarship and we wish her future success in college and in being a good steward of our planet.  We can’t wait to see where Kellina’s journey takes her!  

Don’t miss reading her winning essay

Laura Augustine Wordpress(1)

Laura Augustine Spotlight

“Do as A Woman Would Do It”

Laura Augustine’s Beginnings in Industrial Chemicals 

For Laura Augustine, it all started with a newspaper ad. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 1992 with a degree in Anthropology and moving to New Mexico for a job, life had other plans for her. After moving home in 1995 from New Mexico and working odd jobs, she stumbled upon an ad in the newspaper for a customer service representative. The job was with a local chemical company and offered good benefits along with a decent paycheck. Coming from a blue-collar family she had never considered a job in chemicals before. 

She was later interviewed and hired by FBC Chemical in customer service. She worked in that position for about two years before exploring a new opportunity brought about by the sales manager. After deciding that customer service was not for her anymore, she began getting out of the office as a sales representative. While FBC may have taken a big chance on her in moving positions things worked out since that change happened in 1997… 

Other Women in the Industry 

Upon Laura joining FBC there were not any other women salespersons at the time, though one woman had worked there prior to Laura joining FBC in 1995. Laura found in the beginning and even now, that the industrial chemicals sales industry is predominantly male-dominated. While FBC itself is a male-dominated company, Laura has been given many opportunities to thrive and has found it a great place to work. 

Within the Pittsburgh market where FBC is located, there have been many women involved as purchasing agents and other positions throughout the years. Many of these women she met through Pittsburg Chemical Day that she began involving herself within 2000. The event was more male-dominated but in the past 10 years, more women have been attending the event. 

Selling Industrial Chemicals 

When changing to a sales representative, Laura found you learn along the way. You do not have to understand chemistry to sell chemicals. She explained it is the companies that do their own marketing and testing. It is the sales representative’s job to learn the product line and what those products can do. It is all about relationships and talking to people and getting to know them. 

She found that being a young woman selling chemicals in 1997 was hard because she had to build up her confidence. Most of her customers were men over the age of 50 who had a set mindset of what a young woman was going to explain to them about chemicals and the chemical industry. Laura challenged herself until she was able to move past it and found success doing the job and gaining more knowledge.  

Looking Toward the Future 

Laura finds that her favorite part of being in the chemical industry is the job itself and all the opportunities it brings. The longer she has been in her position the more women she has seen coming up as chemists, other sales representatives, management, and more. Even this year, Laura was excited to find that FBC hired another female sales representative. In a world where women can do anything they want, Laura has some inspiring words for young girls interested in male-dominated fields: 

“Don’t try to do your job as a man would do it, but do as a woman would do it” 

Understanding what women bring to the table is important, in terms of experiences and influences that come from growing up as a woman. Many experiences in Laura’s own life have reminded her that women and men see from different perspectives. Being a woman means you bring a lot to the table in whatever role you may be in, in the future. Laura believes it is important to remember that. So, for any girl or woman who may come across this story, remember just this: do as a woman would do it.

Interested in learning more?

Ecolink, Inc will continue to highlight more women in the chemical industry and their accomplishments. Keep checking in each week for more spotlights on women making moves in the industry!

types of oxygen scavengers

Types Of Oxygen Scavengers 

What are the different types of Oxygen Scavengers? For the purposes of understanding oxygen scavengers, an oxygen scavenger is a product comprising one or more reactive compounds that when combined with oxygen, reduce or completely remove  oxygen in liquids or enclosed packaging in order to prolong the shelf life of a product. 

How do Oxygen Scavengers work? Oxygen scavengers are a concoction of natural compounds designed to react with oxygen in order  to eliminate it (oxygen). 

What are the two primary types of oxygen scavengers? 

As a rule, generally oxygen scavengers are divided into organic and inorganic types. Typically, organic oxygen scavengers are carbon based comprising compounds using carbon based  molecules. Typically, inorganic oxygen scavengers are mineral based meaning non-carbon. 

Ecolink provides both organic and inorganic oxygen scavengers. An example of our organic  oxygen scavenger is our Tetrahydrofuran (THF) high-purity, research grade organic solvent.  Widely used in the manufacture of PVC products, THF is also used as a solvent for synthetic or  natural resins.  

Benefits of THF 

  • Organic and non toxic
  • Solvent versatility
  • Low viscosity
  • Aids in the manufacture of renewable platform chemicals and sugars

 An example of our inorganic oxygen scavengers is our Boiler Guard water treatment product.  It is specially produced for steam boilers as a scale and corrosion inhibitor and inorganic oxygen scavenger.  

Benefits of Boiler Guard 

  • Nonflammable
  • Low reactivity
  • Can be used with a wide variety of boiler sizes

Want To Learn More About Oxygen Scavengers and Find Suppliers?

Ecolink is a trusted supplier of bulk chemicals and solvents that can help you find the best chemical solutions for your needs. Contact Ecolink here to speak with a chemist and find out which type of oxygen  scavengers will be best for your applications. Our experienced and knowledgeable staff are standing by to help you understand the differences and recommend the most  suitable and efficient product that serves your needs and exceeds your expectations.

 

difference between glycol and ethylene glycol

Difference Between Glycol And Ethylene Glycol 

What is the difference between glycol and ethylene glycol?  Encyclopedia Britannica defines Glycol as “any of a class of organic compounds belonging to the alcohol family”. There are various types of glycol including propylene glycol and ethylene glycol. The most noticeable difference between these two compounds is that propylene glycol is nontoxic and ethylene glycol is. For this reason, propylene glycol is safe to be used in food processes while ethylene glycol is used in industrial applications. 

If you are looking for more information about the difference between glycol and ethylene glycol or a reliable supplier of bulk glycol compounds, Ecolink can help. Ecolink offers a variety of glycol compounds including ethylene glycol at a concentration of 80%-100%. That means virtually to completely undiluted. This versatile compound is used as a primary ingredient in the production of antifreeze for chilling systems as well as for automobile engines. Ethylene glycol is also used in the production and manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, polymers, inks, and an assortment of other products. 

Key Characteristics of Ethylene Glycol 

  •  A widespread and broad variety of uses and purposes 
  •  Comparatively low reactivity and flammability 
  •  Antifreeze properties 
  •  Excellent electrical conductivity 
  • Comparatively low freeze point 

 Difference Between Glycol and Ethylene Glycol Applications 

  • Ethylene Glycol – Antifreeze for HVAC and chilling systems, automobile air conditioners, etc. Ethylene glycol is also used as a chemical solvent in industrial manufacturing.  
  • Propylene Glycol – Nontoxic glycol compound that can be used in food production and processing. 

Want To Learn More About Glycol Uses and Suppliers?

What is difference between glycol and ethylene glycol? While glycol is simply a chemical class that encompasses common versatile compounds like ethylene and propylene glycol, it is important to understand the different types of glycol there are to choose which is best suited for your needs. Contact Ecolink here to speak with an expert and find the best chemicals and solvents for your needs.