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New Eco-Cleaners Show That Sanitization Can Be Green

The New Generation Of Eco-Cleaners Show That Sanitization Can Be Green - And Frugal

Cleaning agents are the workhorse of the cleaning industry, but they come with a controversial environmental history. Not only do the chemicals contained within many cleaning products pollute waters and breathing air, but they contribute to climate change, too; Reuters estimated that a boom in chemical production in the USA would contribute an additional 541 million tons of greenhouse gases by 2030. The environmental and ecological damage caused by harsh cleaning chemicals must be stripped back by businesses, but it’s hard to make a case for ecologically friendly tools without also presenting a compelling business case. As it happens, more and more evidence is stacking up that shows green cleaning agents to not only be cleaner, but good for the bottom line, too.

The return to basics

Long before the likes of bleach and nonionic surfactants became popular, there was a natural solution. Frugal homeowners have been using a combination of a simple acid, such as lemon juice or vinegar (or both), along with bicarbonate of soda - or baking soda. This creates a chemical reaction that is great for lifting spills - but not at scale.

That principle, however, has pushed forward innovation in the chemicals industry. Chemical and Engineering News recently highlighted the rise of Arxada wipes, which use citric acid – the same compound found in lemon juice - to effectively cleanse and clean. What’s more, these wipes are solving the issue of biodegradability that is currently causing significant harm to waterways. This provides a genuine green solution for day-to-day workspace cleaning.

Building at scale

This doesn’t solve the challenge faced by commercial spaces, however. While biodegradable green wipes and naturally sourced sprays are a great way to clean at small levels, they don’t provide the bang that large-scale cleaning demands. Cleaning agents need to be easily transported, sufficiently volatile so as to avoid accidents, and clearly able to be deployed using large machinery such as floor cleaners.

Increasingly, turning to disinfectants with a plant-based origin is proving effective. USA Today highlights the Biokleen range of products in this regard. By using entirely plant-based origins, used from organic farms, this negates any potential for environmentally harmful chemicals being introduced into a business’ waste streams. Furthermore, it can be deployed at scale, for instance in 64 gallon jugs. The ability to provide cleaning agents at this scale is crucial, and the fact that environmentally harmful chemicals are removed is also providing an incentive to businesses.

Changing the waste cycle

Of course, changing the actual chemicals present in the cleaning products is only one part of the story. To have a truly green cleaning solution it has to consider other elements of the climate change challenge - and, specifically, waste reduction. Products that minimize the use of single-use plastic, and actively deploy recycled materials, are the most effective. Innovation is leading the way here, too. Startus Insights recently produced a report on their top sustainable brands in 2022, and sitting among the featured products was Souji, which creates cleaning products from recycled vegetable oil, including from the catering industry. Given the huge volumes of vegetable oil that catering businesses move through every single week, and the fact that the oil cannot be reused for human consumption, there are huge gains to be made here for the entire cleaning product industry. With recycled goods there is typically lower overheads, too, as they can be manufactured without the need for fresh extraction of primary resources. This is the key factor for businesses - reducing overheads.

Reducing sick days

Green cleaning advances need to be financially viable for them to be useful in the world of business. Increasingly, this has led advocates of the green cleaning environment to highlight the money saved by reducing the number of harmful chemicals in the work environment. Indeed, one influential study noted that removing harsh chemicals from the cleaning equipment reduced the amount of harmful chemicals in the atmosphere, and that could lead to reduced sick days. Given the huge impact that sick days have on businesses and their profits, this is something to be actively pursued. Making employees happier, too, will ensure they stick around - enriching the business.

All of this is being drawn together by the revival of the EPAs Safer Choice scheme. This will make it easier for businesses to spot the good products, and produce new incentives for cleaning product manufacturers to find ways to make their products greener. This is great news, for the climate and for business. Any review of current cleaning processes and the chemicals needed to make it effective should be conducted with green products in mind - with innovation leading the way, the variety of green cleaning products, and their ability to get the job done, is only going to increase.

Image source: Unsplash