Once safety is assured, making cleaning more sustainable is primarily about getting things clean using less resources such as materials and energy for each job, and minimising emissions and waste.
Of course, it’s essential that in doing the cleaning with less we maintain a good level of performance. To be resource efficient, products must get things properly clean first time. If not, that could mean re-washing, or sometimes people overdose to try to compensate. Either way, the use of resources goes up rather than down.
Cleaning supports so many aspects of sustainability, and poor performance can undermine health and wellbeing and lead to items wearing out more quickly. Cleaning keeps everything fit for use so it can be used time after time after time. Imagine how resources would dwindle if we threw clothes, dishes and furniture out when they got dirty and bought new ones! And a poor cleaning product is neither value for money for the user nor likely to be viable in the long term for the manufacturer.
Resources such as materials, energy and water are used at many different stages of the “life cycle” of a cleaning product, from manufacture of the product, through transport and storage in the shops, to the point at which it is used for cleaning and the spent cleaning solutions and packaging disposed of after use. Improving sustainability means finding ways of making an overall improvement across the whole life cycle. For example, devising a product that took less energy to manufacture would make no sense if it needed twice as much to transport and use.
To help sort out all the swings and roundabouts, there’s a technique called “life cycle analysis” (LCA). LCA studies show that for most cleaning jobs in the home, the key resources consumed are:
Ensuring that the development of human society becomes sustainable for the long-term is a vital goal for the 21st century. To make sense of the big picture, it helps to think about things under three key headings — economic, social and environmental.
So, thinking about cleaning the home for example:
Did you know the facts behind this common myth?
Myth: It’s unhealthy to be too clean
Fact: In fact, relaxing domestic hygiene would not expose us to “useful germs”, but to risks like E. coli.
A handwashing and cleanliness programme for Infant Groups.Download Now »