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Adopting green equipment & practices

The cleaning industry needs to embark on two important aspects to commit itself as a socially responsible industry:

  • Green cleaning machine/tools and chemicals
  • Green cleaning practices

Green cleaning machine/tools

Cleaning machine/tools, widely used indoors, should be able to create a clean and healthy environment for building occupants by efficiently removing dirt and contaminants.

  • Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) could be optimised by using proper filtration systems like HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) and ULPA (Ultra Low Particulate Air) in the machines. Battery powered equipment also play a role in this approach.
  • Sustainable products should be built with robust recyclable plastic parts, powder-coated heavy wear parts and with ease to service & maintain by providing enough accessibility.
  • Equipment should be low priced, highly efficient, energy-& water-saving, easy to operate with reasonable training.
  • Safe electrical circuits and emergency buttons, sound levels below 70 dB, use of maintenance-free gel batteries emphasise on safety aspects. An UK-based manufacturer has invented an electrical battery operated compact suction sweeper. The future of such machines is bright since they are pollution free, less noisy and highly economical.
  • Battery powered sweepers/scrubbers do not necessarily save on carbon but they are cleaner at the point of use, as we still use coal fired powered station to produce most of the electricity.
  • Some scrubber driers come with features like it automatically stops the water supply from the fresh water tank when the machine comes to a standstill; they have been developed with 25% less components; thus, reducing manufacturing costs by 20% which means less raw material, energy and emission. Roots Multiclean has Hako B90 Aqua Control System (ACS) in this range.
  • Some innovative floor washing machines that have recyclable plastics & metal components come with multiple features like scrubbing, mopping and recovering all in one. This machine (like the Roots Wizzard) has the following features, which makes it as an eco friendly product.
    1. Higher speed of the brush resulting in better dirt removal with power saved up to 40% because of a smaller adequate motor.
    2. Reduced water consumption of up to 50% as the process of cleaning takes 50% less time.
    3. Lower noise level, higher brush life, less weight and lesser investment makes it an appropriate one.
  • Road sweeper powered by CNG, first-of-its-kind in the market, has been launched by Dulevo. CNG has the lowest level of toxic gas emission which results in least air pollution, less noise and effective fuel utilisation.
  • Scrubbers built with electrically generated water technology eliminate the use of chemicals like in the case of Tennant’s Ech2o. They also consume less water than conventional scrubbers.
  • Research activities are going on to use biofuel in the fossil fuel operated cleaning machines. Up to 40% of carbon emissions could be saved with such machines. In Europe, an EU directive has asked governments to ensure a minimum of 13% biofuel is mixed in all fuels. Presently in Finland, 19% of country’s energy needs are sourced from biofuel.

Green cleaning practices

  • Cleaning using steam methods is an excellent environmental solution for both indoor and outdoor areas. It saves chemical cost and reduces the use of water. The energy consumed is also reduced since a great amount of steam is generated with less water. Steam destroys bacteria, mildew and microbes. It cuts grease effectively. It could be used for general cleaning, industrial cleaning and sanitising purposes.
  • Use of rechargeable maintenance-free gel batteries and charging them with solar system saves on energy.
  • Simple practices like switching off the machines, battery chargers and other devices before going home or when at lunch or meetings could save energy. Even though in standby mode power is consumed, leading to global warming.
  • Use of proper vacuuming machine with relevant accessory saves on time and energy. In wet vacuuming, use of only the required amount of water and periodic cleaning of filters makes cleaning effective. Blocked filters cause damage to the machine and consume more energy & time.
  • Use of appropriate brushes and pads make it easy to clean and sanitise the area. Again, periodic cleaning of brushes and pads ensures better efficiency. Bassinet/coir/bamboo fibre brushes could be used wherever possible. They are environment-friendly products.
  • Use of bamboo fibre in the mop instead of cotton has been proved as a huge success in the UK. Bamboo tree grows three times faster than cotton. It prevents deforestation and provides an economically viable crop for farmers. The bamboo fibre is inherently anti-bacterial and has good absorbency too.
  • Mops should be allowed to dry naturally. Use of washable mops instead of disposables helps reuse of mops as many times as possible. Transfer the mop from high end applications to low end.
  • A new range of plastic buckets made entirely from recycled plastic has been introduced. Presently, they are available only in black colour. They indeed play their part in facing the environmental challenges.
  • At least 80% of the dirt entering the premises comes through the main entrance. Entry mats from 12-20 feet, filter the dirt effectively. It saves time, money and assures a clean environment.

Biodegradable cleaners

Cleaners formulated from natural plant extracts are biodegradable, smell fresh and are eco-friendly. They can be discharged into drains/sea/lake/river lines and also be used for watering plants. Some cleaners have active ingredients to ensure effective cleaning even at a low dosage. With proper dosing there is reduced consumption of time, money and energy. Today’s dosing technologies can save businesses lakhs of rupees annually.

Going Green is not just about “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” but also about “Cleaning to protect health without harming the environment”.

V. Balathandayutham, Manager- Product Support,
Roots Multiclean Limited

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