How Pre-Portioned Chemicals Address Sustainability Issues
Question: BSCs want to be environmentally conscious. Pre-portioned chemicals can help reduce chemical usage, but can these products also reduce water consumption? How?
With pre-measured systems and the proper education, janitors do not have to guess about the right amount of product or the right amount of water. When cleaning with properly mixed products, especially on floors, residues that attract dirt are virtually eliminated, which can reduce cleaning frequency and save water.
Also, we help teach our customers to use the right solution for the job. When mopping a small area, you don't have to use four gallons of solution when only two gallons will do the job. So not only does the contractor use less product but they save water also.
I have been in the cleaning industry for more than 25 years and I have seen how pre-measured, multi-use products can help customers eliminate unnecessary products and save water. We often find that customers can get rid of several duplicative items and simplify their cleaning program.
— Jerry Goldman, national sales manager, PortionPac Chemical Corp., Chicago
For pre-portioned tablets, the water savings isn't always at the tap on location. The cleaners ship without water, so they are over 90 percent lighter and smaller. That's less bulk and weight to ship. Further, it takes water to refine oil, and our tablets take less fuel to ship therefore we save water by using less gas to ship. For example, one truckload of 12-tablet boxes of glass cleaner equals 79 truckloads of the same liquid cleaners.
— David Baumgarten, vice president, Baumgartens, Atlanta
You always need water to make ready-to-use solutions from concentrate. This is true of premeasured concentrates or blend-centers. It makes more energy-saving environmental sense to use on-site water vs. water hauled from halfway across the country.
— John Everitt, president, Stearns Packaging Corp., Madison, Wis.
Question: How are you addressing waste and sustainability concerns associated with individually packaged doses of chemicals?
Goldman: For us, worker safety comes first. We formulate all of our products to minimize their impact on all aspects of cleaning. This includes our workers who make the product, the janitors who clean with it, and the occupants in the buildings they clean. Our customers also benefit from the safety and environmental benefits of using Green Seal formulated cleaning products. Green Seal is the most stringent standard in our industry and they are the most robust third-party standard available for certifying formulations.
Our system was also built to eliminate waste wherever possible. All of our packaging is recyclable and much of it is made with recycled material. Our re-usable bottles are made with the most recycled content available: 40 percent. Our education programs are intended to help our customers use the right amount of product with as few products as possible. This helps them reach their sustainability, safety and savings goals.
Everitt: Premeasured portion-control chemical management systems have always done more with less. More cleaning performance per dollar with less shipping, less packaging and less over-usage of the chemical. 'Less' adds up to energy savings and lower environmental impact.
Packets of flexible film weigh just a gram or two when empty and water-soluble packets leave nothing behind but a recyclable tub. Empty packets of flexible film are a challenge to recycle, being so small and sometimes laminated from multiple materials, but their material source-reduction value is so great that they are exempt from mandatory recycling programs.
Baumgarten: Single serve packaging does produce a lot of waste. Tablets have a piece of trash smaller than a candy bar. However, think about the liquid dosages. They either ship in single bottles or concentrates in large bottles. A single bottle used once then thrown away is a lot of trash than a single wrapper. Same goes for the large plastic containers with concentrate. No, our product does not eliminate trash altogether, but the impact is far lighter on the environment than liquid concentrates or portions shipping in plastic bottles.
When you add the complexity of manufacturing a huge mixing station and all the plastic and shipping involved, not to mention that a highly trained technical person or plumber is going to have to drive to a location, spend time mounting equipment, take time training others, drive back to headquarters, not to mention the massive retraining there is from employee turnover, the savings from a tablet is obvious.
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