“Biocidal efficacy should not be the only criteria for disinfection selection: it is part of a much larger picture.”
A philosophy of environmental disinfection
BioHygiene is advising the facilities management and cleaning sectors to remain environmentally conscious at a time when the use of disinfectants is likely to be at an all-time high.
BioHygiene is a green-minded biotechnology company, which saw sales of its All-Purpose and Hand Sanitisers skyrocket throughout the pandemic. The company is keen to stress that when considering ‘Environmental Disinfection’, we must look out for both short- and long-term effects.
Erum Ahmed, Director of Sales at BioHygiene, explained: “At present, there are still traditional products in the market that contain quats, alcohol, chorine, hydrogen peroxide, or a mixture of these. All of these can impact the immediate or the external environment in which they are used.
“By immediate impact, we look at negative effects to the user – alcohol-based sanitisers that can dry out the skin, irritate the eyes and cause safety concerns due to its high flammability. In addition, the inclusion of alcohol in skin care products and the possibility of its transference and tainting in food preparation, can cause conflict with certain religious beliefs.
“By external, we refer to wider impacts on the environment in the traditional sense: quats and chlorine that can produce dangerous levels of aquatic toxicity – both short- and long- term. This also includes manufacturing processes that release dangerous levels of CO2
into the atmosphere.”
According to BioHygiene, the cleaning and FM sectors should ask their suppliers questions around raw materials, CO2
e, packaging and aquatic toxicity when purchasing
sanitisers and disinfectants to ensure they tick the various boxes regarding sustainability. Only through diligence on all these points can ‘Environmental Disinfection’ be delivered.
Unsurprisingly, BioHygiene’s range of alternative sanitising products tick all of these boxes. Its foaming hand sanitiser is 100% biodegradable, ethanol/isopropyl alcohol and quat free, is made with natural and sustainable technology, and is safer to use than traditional sanitising products. To make matters more straightforward, the company has its own in-house traffic light system to help assess the suitability of any raw materials in its portfolio of ingredients.
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Additionally, compared to liquid and gels, those using the company’s foam hand sanitiser will use up to 60% less per application – reducing plastic waste from packaging. BioHygiene products are packaged in PCR (post-consumer resin) bottles, meaning they are made completely from recycled plastic, thus can be recycled again to make new plastic packaging. Notably, its manufacturing process has also seen an 85% reduction in CO2
e in comparison to traditional HDPE.
Questioning some of current products available, Mr Ahmed added: “The market has recently been flooded with hand sanitiser of varying quality, this can be attributed to the standard derogation made by the WHO at the start of the pandemic approving any hand sanitiser that contained over 80% ethanol (v/v) or 75% isopropyl alcohol (v/v). This has ultimately allowed product to reach the market without going through the usual accreditation processes, raising questions of safety – for both the user and the environment.
“Additionally, the inclusion levels of the biocidal actives in a product may well be below generic cut-off levels to trigger environmental hazard classifications of the product itself, but the ingredients of concern are still present and being released into our waterways. Low concentrations of ingredients can have a damaging effect on the environment in a short period of time, in addition to cumulative long-term effects.
“Going forward, the more of these disinfectant products we use will see more of these undesirable ingredients released into the environment, causing more damage. Therefore, biocidal efficacy should not be the only criteria for disinfection selection: it is part of a much larger picture.
“We do still recommend frequent cleaning as the first point of controlling the spread of germs, with sanitising and disinfecting used as a belt braces approach. We just want people in the industry to ensure that however they choose to clean, they use our philosophy of Cleaner, Leaner, Greener.”
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