Why Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products Are The Way Forward
Discover the transformative benefits of eco-friendly cleaning products over traditional chemicals and how they contribute to sustainable living.
We all understand why keeping our workplaces clean and sanitised is so important. Yet, how many of us pay much attention to the ingredients in our cleaning products?
Unfortunately, many contain harsh, potent chemicals and microplastics, which can negatively impact our health and environment.
With growing awareness and concern about the impact of these chemicals on our health and the planet, there’s been a surge in demand for eco-friendly cleaning products made from natural and plant-based ingredients.
But what exactly makes these products a better choice?
More businesses are adopting eco-friendly cleaning products in their office cleaning routines, driven not only by their health and environmental benefits but also by their commitment to sustainability and social and corporate responsibility. Homes and schools are following suit, recognising the positive ripple effects on their families and communities.
In this article, we'll talk about why eco-friendly cleaning is the future and why using green products is important.
In this article, we’ll explore why green cleaning is shaping the future and shed light on the benefits of using eco-friendly cleaning products.
Eco-friendly cleaning products vs. regular cleaning products
Crafted from natural, sustainable components, eco-friendly cleaning products swap harsh chemicals for plant-based extracts such as citric acid from lemons and tree oils. Often housed in biodegradable, recyclable, or plastic-free packages, these green cleaners typically are free from ammonia, chlorine, phosphates, and artificial scents and dyes.
Eco-friendly cleaners contribute to environmental safety not only in their gentle, biodegradable ingredients and environmentally friendly chemicals but also in how they're made, stored, and shipped.
In contrast, regular cleaning products are synthesised from chemicals that can burden the land, air, water, and overall ecosystems where they're used and discarded.
Substances like ammonia, phosphates, and bleach in these regular cleaning products pose threats to our environment. For example, phosphate-rich waste in lakes, rivers, and oceans can trigger harmful algal blooms, putting aquatic life at risk. Beyond well-known pollutants, these cleaners often harbour obscure chemicals detrimental to the long-term health of both humans and animals.
It's no shock that both residential and commercial cleaning services are bidding farewell to traditional cleaning approaches and embracing eco-friendly cleaning practices.
Harmful effects of traditional chemical cleaners
Did you know that conventional cleaning products can intensify indoor pollution? Many commercial cleaning companies use products that contain fragrances and chemicals that can elevate indoor pollution to levels near to that of bustling city streets.
Imagine trying to dodge that toxic, polluted city air, only to encounter it indoors!
Traditional retail cleaning products emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which linger in the air and harm the ozone layer, fueling adverse climate changes. Even minimal exposure to these products has a lasting impact on your overall environment.
Additionally, conventional office cleaning products are often packaged in non-recyclable plastics. This leaves countless empty plastic containers and other non-biodegradable packaging that ends up polluting oceans and landfills, taking centuries to break down and severely jeopardising marine ecosystems and soil health. Teamed with commercial cleaning product manufacturers adopting unsustainable production methods to cut costs, their distribution relies on fossil-fueled transport, further escalating greenhouse gas emissions.
Traditional cleaners also frequently include petroleum byproducts, heightening toxicity and hazards when improperly disposed of. And may also contain ammonia, chlorine, and phthalates, which irritate the skin, eyes, and respiratory system.
Are "eco-friendly" and "biodegradable" synonymous?
It’s important to discern between the often-interchanged terms “eco-friendly” and “biodegradable,” especially amidst marketing claims around green and retail cleaning products.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, "eco-friendly" means "not harmful to the environment.” or as a business or product “designed to have little or no damaging effect on the environment."
In contrast, "biodegradable" means "able to decay naturally and in a way that is not harmful." An example might be a sisal sack, cardboard box, or paper bag, which gradually decomposes when exposed to elements or soil, eventually integrating with it.
However, commercial cleaning products can damage the environment in several ways. Some release toxic chemicals, while others packaged in polyethylene may obstruct waterways.
This means a product can be environmentally harmful (non-eco-friendly) because it doesn’t decompose/rot (non-biodegradable). Or the product could have biodegradable packaging but still be non-eco-friendly due to other factors, like toxic ingredients.
Consider an office cleaning product in a card box or textile packaging that has coloured ink printed on it. This box or cloth may rot, but its ink may contain toxic heavy metals that remain in the surrounding soil, water, or air.
Take solar panels as another example. Regarded as eco-friendly due to their fossil fuel-free, pollution-free energy production, solar panels consist mainly of non-biodegradable plastic. When replaced, the discarded plastic components pose an active environmental risk.
Lastly, a commercial cleaning product might be dubbed "eco-friendly" for its biodegradability. Still, if its production or transportation involves environmentally harmful practices like diesel combustion, it cannot be entirely eco-friendly, even though it decomposes.
Do eco-friendly cleaning products mean chemical-free?
The assumption that "eco-friendly" cleaning products equate to "chemical-free" isn't always accurate. In reality, everything - natural substances like air, water, food - comprises chemicals. The relevance lies in the types of chemicals involved and their environmental footprint.
Eco-friendly cleaning products often feature naturally occurring, environmentally benign chemicals like citric acid, acetic acid (found in vinegar), or essential oils. Some ingredients within these products may be inert, meaning they exhibit no harmful effects unless mixed with certain substances or exposed to extensive heat.
When opting for environmentally friendly chemicals, scrutinise the labelling for a detailed ingredient list derived from natural sources. Avoid "chemical-free" or "all-natural" products that lack component specifics.
Certifications from reputable bodies such as Green Seal, UL Solutions (previously EcoLogo), or the EPA Safer Choice label also provide valuable indications of a product's environmental and human safety credentials. Always consult available information on the usage, storage, and disposal of these products.
Benefits of switching to eco-friendly cleaning products
Do eco-friendly cleaning products work? Yes, they do, but if you’re still wondering why you should switch to greener commercial cleaning, here are some of the more evident benefits of eco-friendly cleaning products:
The greatest benefit of using eco-friendly cleaning products is their effect on the environment. Green products don’t contain harsh chemicals that can pollute and harm the environment. Their ingredients are derived from natural sources, making them biodegradable and non-toxic to plants and animals.
Unlike non-biodegradable chemical cleaners, which often contain potentially harmful ingredients like known carcinogens, these eco-friendly alternatives pose minimal risk to wildlife and aquatic life. Many eco-friendly cleaning products come in recyclable or biodegradable packaging, reducing waste.
Green cleaning products are composed of biodegradable ingredients and environmentally friendly chemicals, which means they can break down and become part of the environment. In contrast, conventional cleaning products are laden with VOCs, phthalates, limonene, ammonia, chlorine, and other toxins, significantly endangering animals and nature.
Many people assume that eco-friendly products are more expensive than conventional cleaners. However, using green cleaning products can save you money in the long run. Eco-friendly products are typically concentrated, so you need fewer quantities for each cleaning task. This translates to spending less money on cleaning supplies over time.
Plus, by not using harsh chemicals, you can extend the lifespan of your cleaning equipment and avoid costly repairs or replacements. When using eco-friendly cleaning products for business, they can serve multiple purposes, eliminating the need to purchase an extensive range of cleaners for different areas.
Lower carbon footprint
Conventional cleaning products contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions during production, transportation, usage, and disposal. Most eco-friendly cleaning products are produced using sustainable methods that tap into renewable energy sources. Green cleaning products are typically available in concentrated form, so there is less packaging and lower transportation emissions, resulting in a smaller carbon footprint.
Good for your health
Another significant benefit of using eco-friendly cleaning products is that they are safer for humans. Unlike conventional cleaning products, green ones don’t have toxic chemicals that trigger respiratory issues, skin irritation, allergic reactions, and even accidental poisoning.
Furthermore, eco-friendly cleaning products don’t degrade indoor air quality like traditional ones, which release VOCs and other irritants into the atmosphere. This is particularly noticeable in indoor environments such as offices and homes.
Many of us dislike the unpleasant odours left behind by conventional cleaning chemicals. By opting for green cleaning products, you can avoid lingering smells that may complicate breathing or induce allergic reactions.
Moreover, the psychological impact of using eco-friendly cleaning products should not be underestimated. Knowing that one's workplace, school, or home is cleaned using safe and sustainable cleaning products can significantly enhance the mental well-being of workers, students, and inhabitants. This awareness can increase productivity and foster a more positive attitude.
Why Switch to Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products?
Are eco-friendly cleaning products better? If we haven’t convinced you already, yes, they are better for the environment, your businesses, and your employees.
By choosing green cleaning products, you can ensure a safer workplace, increase productivity, reduce long-term health risks, and attract environmentally conscious customers. And with many cost-saving benefits and practical solutions, it's clear that switching to eco-friendly cleaning products is a wise investment.
Businesses that use eco-friendly cleaning products for office cleaning can also transcend the environment and health benefits, promoting sustainability and social responsibility. Plus, homes and schools that switch to eco-friendly cleaning products realise their positive impact on their families and communities.
Green Facilities is an ethical ISO-certified eco-friendly commercial cleaning company in London that offers eco-friendly cleaning services accredited by BICSc (British Institute of Cleaning Science), ISSA (International Sanitary Supply Association), and GBC (The Good Business Charter).
We offer a wide range of cleaning services, such as office cleaning services, school cleaning, retail cleaning, healthcare cleaning, and more. We strictly use only eco-friendly products that are safe for the environment and human health, reinforcing our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint by providing efficient and sustainable cleaning solutions.