GENEO Zero Adopts Environmentally-Friendlier Cleaning Products
As part of the GENEO Zero initiative, we wanted to stop using harmful cleaning products, while choosing environmentally-friendlier products that could be bought locally AND to reduce the amount of plastic wastage. Checking our cupboards, we found that the majority of our detergents and cleaning products were harmful to the environment and even to the air quality in the office. Even products which claim to be 'gentle' often contain toxic chemicals that can affect human health, as well as the health of our water and aquatic life. It was not just the chemicals in the products that was a problem, but also their containers, usually single-use plastic.
First stop: the bathroom
Before: Carex liquid soap! Contains palm products from unsustainable sources, that are associated with the destruction of the rainforests and Butylphenyl Methylpropional, which has been associated with respiratory and fertility issues. Some Carex ingredients are also derived from animal fats.
Now: refillable, wall-mounted soap dispensers, using organic, vegan lavender liquid soap sourced from 'Core,' an ethical, low waste, organic shop within 5 minutes walk of the office. While we appreciate that bar soap is more environmentally friendly, we found that people did not like sharing bar soap in communal areas. We felt that refilling our containers directly from Core was the best, environmentally friendly compromise.
Before: Bleach! Bleach is extremely harmful to aquatic life when poured down the drain or toilet. It can also be really harmful when used around pets and children. When in contact with other cleaning products, it can react to release dangerous gases, such as chlorine, which affect the respiratory system. I know that it certainly makes me cough when I smell it in the air! The bleach was in unrecycled plastic bottles.
After: Ecover toilet cleaner: Ecover uses plant-based ingredients, with low odour, which is environmentally-friendlier than standard toilet cleaners. It contains no petrochemicals. What is more, their bottles use 75% plant plastic from sugar cane and 25% recycled plastic. While we could go further and try using a paste made of lemon and vinegar, for now, this is our best solution.
Before: Cif Power & Shine Bathroom Spray: contains Benzyl Salicylate, which is harmful to aquatic life and can cause serious eye irritation and skin allergies. It is also in un-recycled plastic bottles.
After: Method Bathroom cleaner: paraben-free, non-toxic and biodegradable. Anti-animal cruelty! When I changed to this cleaner, I realised how traditional cleaners make me cough as their particles hang around in the air.
Before: traditional loo roll of different brands, none of which were made of recycled paper. All were packaged in plastic.
After: recycled loo roll, either from Core, Zero, Morrison's or Tesco, when they have it. These are packaged in recycled paper and made from 100% recycled paper.
Next stop: the kitchen...