Environmentally friendly commercial cleaning innovations
For many businesses, it is increasingly important that they introduce new systems, innovations and techniques to both improve service delivery and cost efficiencies. But it is also important that they do so for environmental reasons.
Most businesses are acutely aware by now of rising public concern about the environment, and are increasingly willing to take action to demonstrate that they are an eco-friendly business. In recent years, particularly the last 25 years, we have become more and more aware of the impact that we as a species are having on the environment around us. Issues like the ozone layer, the effect of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide from cars and factories on climate change, and the impact of litter in our towns and countryside are growing in importance for the general public.
Something that we have perhaps been slower to take note of but which more people are now becoming more aware of is the effect of the cleaning products we use on a regular basis on the environment.
This is something that is now being picked up on by mainstream media, a recent example being an article published in The Guardian back in June 2014 entitled “Chemical-free cleaning is trending in the commercial sector”, and asking will greener cleaning methods, such as salt-based split stream water technology, replace conventional powders and bleaches.
The environmental impact of cleaning products
Cleaning products are a major cause for concern when it comes to their impact on the environment because of the packaging, the use of lorries to transport the chemicals around the country, the amount of energy that is used to create the chemicals they contain, and more importantly because of the effect of the chemicals themselves.
These chemicals pollute rivers and streams and take a long time to break down (degrade) into harmless products, if they even break down at all. Chemicals which don’t break down are known as non-biodegradable. These kinds of chemicals can then get into the food chain if they are consumed by water based creatures, and thus in turn can be eaten by humans. This may cause all sorts of harmful effects, such as birth defects or cancer.
The impact of cleaning chemicals on people
It’s not just the environment that cleaning chemicals can have a potentially negative effect on. People are gradually becoming more aware of the impact that cleaning chemicals are having on human health too. Whilst not yet causing serious injuries, cleaning chemicals have been known to cause rashes, breathing problems and headaches. Cleaning chemicals can create dangerous gases with harsh smells which cause lead to people suffering from headaches, dizziness and wheezing.
A United State government agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, has produced a poster which states that using cleaning chemicals can cause coughing, wheezing, red itchy eyes, skin rashes, skin and eye burns, shortness of breath, sore throat, headaches, dizziness, nosebleeds and asthma. It also warns against mixing cleaning products that contain bleach and ammonia, as this can release dangerous gases which can cause severe lung damage.
Alternatives to chemicals
With all of this in mind, it is not surprising that commercial cleaning companies such as Kingdom are increasingly looking for effective alternatives to cleaning with these hazardous chemicals, either by using more eco-friendly chemicals or preferably by using innovative solutions that don’t involve using chemicals at all.
But chemicals are included in cleaning products for a reason – namely their effectiveness, which has led many people to question whether environmentally friendly chemicals or chemical free alternatives can match up to them. Below, we look at three environmentally friendly alternatives that we are using which are either as good as or even better than chemicals.
Aqueous Ozone water system
The Aqueous Ozone water system is a key way for commercial cleaning companies to reduce their reliance on chemicals to an absolute minimum as it makes the cleaning operation virtually chemical free, and is more powerful than bleach and chlorine-based cleaners.
Made by Tersano, the Lotus Cleaning System transforms ordinary tap water into an effective natural commercial cleaner by infusing it with ozone to make a product known as Aqueous Ozone. Ozone, also known as O3, is a powerful sanitizer that is readily found in nature. Made up of three oxygen atoms, it has long been used in water treatment, food sterilisation and medical therapies because of its notable anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. Aqueous Ozone rapidly oxidises bacteria it comes into contact with, eliminating germs, soil and other contaminants on any surface before converting safely back into water and oxygen, or O2. It quickly kills viruses and bacteria such as E.coli and salmonella.
Installing an Aqueous Ozone water system requires a minimum amount of effort, just requiring access to one power socket and a fresh water supply tap in the location the system is to be wall mounted. If these are both present, an engineer will only require a couple of hours to complete the installation and have a fully operational system ready to use. Staff require a minimum amount of safety training.
Using an Aqueous Ozone water system means that commercial cleaning companies can stop using almost all cleaning chemicals other than small quantities of specialist chemicals. Most chemicals other than brass and metal cleaner, chewing gum remover and graffiti remover can be replaced with the Aqueous Ozone water system.
The sanitising capabilities of this system are outstanding. At a recent demonstration, a fire exit push bar was cleaned once with aqueous ozone, and bacterial levels were reduced from a high level to zero. In terms of cleaning, it provides excellent results particularly with hard to remove stains, grime build up and surfaces such as glass, stainless steel and virtually all fixtures and fittings.
Described as a revolutionary cleaning system, HTC’s Twister is a way to mechanically clean and maintain floors using floor pads prepared with billions of microscopic diamonds. The microscopic diamonds in each of the Twister pads effectively clean almost any common floor surface, including terrazzo, ceramic tiles, linoleum, vinyl, plastic, natural stone and concrete. Different pads carry different size diamonds. The Twister pad will also polish the floor at the same time as it cleans it, and keep the natural shine and gloss of the floor.
Twister doesn’t use any chemicals, just water, making your work environment better and allowing companies to meet their environmental goals. It also means no costs for chemicals, and delivers a higher gloss and cleanliness and works on all floor types. And best of all, it means less cleaning time but better results than before!
Gumpak chewing gum removal system
Gumpak is a relatively new chewing gum removal system which is already having a big impact in the cleaning and waste management industries.
Chewing gum is a huge problem to most towns, cities and public spaces. Keep Britain Tidy has said that gum is found at 50% of sites in the UK, and that it costs each UK town an average of £20,000 to deal. People around the world have tried to tackle it with varying degrees of success – Singapore for example has imposed an outright ban on it.
Gumpak Limited have been tackling chewing gum for over seven years, initially using high-pressure washing. However, high pressure washing involves using an engine which burns lots of fuel, as well as using lots of water, both of which are bad for the environment. There was also an issue of gum simply being moved by the force of the water from one place to another, where it was sticking again, or sticking in the drains, causing them to block and potentially flood. They next tried more environmentally friendly steam cleaning, which involved using a chemical to destroy the gum, but this required a separate power source which was very noisy, involved dangerous cables and was therefore impractical for using either during the day or night.
Gumpak Limited therefore created a brand new solution, a chewing gum removal system which uses a new, environmentally friendly chewing gum removal chemical made using only renewable materials – sugar in fact! It completely destroys the gum in just a few seconds, and requires no generator, no separate power source, no leads, no high pressure hoses. It can therefore be used any time of the day or night as it is almost silent, making it ideal for public areas such as shopping centres.
A constantly evolving sector
Businesses are constantly looking for ways to save money, be more efficient and reduce their impact on the environment, and the commercial cleaning sector is responding to that challenge by coming up with new and innovative ways to do that, as the three examples above demonstrate.
Non-chemical cleaning reduces costs to businesses by cutting down on the cost of cleaning chemicals and cutting down on transportation costs. It also greatly reduces the impact of commercial cleaning on the environment by using chemicals which are not harmful and by eliminating the use of lorries that would previously have been transporting chemicals from suppliers to sites across the country.
It is therefore vital that commercial cleaning companies stay up to date with all of the latest technologies and innovations in order to ensure that they continue to deliver the very best service to their clients.