Plastic debris is a global problem, killing wildlife and contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, the famous Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean contains an estimated 1.8 trillion plastic pieces. As the issue worsens, facility managers may feel pressure to reduce plastic waste in their operations without disrupting business flow. One solution you can implement is finding more environmentally responsible ways to clean – including generating cleaning and disinfecting solutions on site.
An Unexpected Source of Plastic Waste
The novel coronavirus pandemic has brought a renewed focus to the importance of cleaning and disinfecting, resulting in panic buying of cleaners. Unfortunately, many of these bottles will inevitably end up in landfills as less than half of recyclable material is recovered.
Additionally, the world has rapidly expanded production of necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) during the pandemic, like masks and gloves, much of which contain plastic. PPE is essential for medical professionals and front-line cleaning staff, and governments are encouraging the public to wear masks. However, it’s yet another factor contributing to plastic waste and ocean pollution.
While cleaning and disinfecting solutions and PPE are necessary for controlling the spread of pathogens and protecting workers, there are ways that facility managers can creatively reduce waste associated with their cleaning programs to help offset some of the increase.
Reducing Plastic Waste with On-Site Generation
Thankfully, facility managers have an alternative to purchasing cleaning and disinfecting chemicals in plastic bottles on a regular basis. By switching to an on-site generation (OSG) system, you can become the hero of your operation by reducing plastic waste, the risk to workers from harsh chemicals and the number of products you purchase.
OSG systems allow cleaning professionals to continuously refill spray bottles and buckets from the generator, reducing the number of plastic bottles your facility sends to landfills or the ocean. These systems can enable up to a 95% reduction of daily-use chemicals and packaging.
OSG systems create cleaning and disinfecting solutions through a chemical process known as electrolysis, which uses salt, water and electricity to produce electrochemically-activated solutions (ECAS). The on-site generator produces an effective cleaner/degreaser for surface soil removal and a sanitizer/disinfectant to combat potentially harmful pathogens. Your employees can also fill buckets and auto-scrubbers with the solutions and use them on a variety of surfaces.
By choosing solutions that won’t irritate eyes and skin, it’s possible that organizations can also limit the use of PPE among cleaning professionals, and therefore the plastic waste associated with PPE. Using fewer harsh cleaning and disinfecting chemicals also reduces the risk that building occupants will have a reaction to the solutions.
Simplify for a Responsible Clean
Despite some progress in reducing plastic use in many countries, we still have millions of tons of debris entering our oceans every year. If you are a facility manager and want to reduce your carbon footprint, you can look for different methods of limiting the use of plastic in your operations. Exploring OSG can reduce plastic waste without sacrificing cleanliness.