Each year, America Recycles Day on Nov. 15 serves as an important reminder to understand and implement best practices that protect our planet. The “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” concept is increasingly pressing as the issue of post-consumer waste worsens around the globe. Thankfully, facility managers can take steps to help the environment as cleaning product manufacturers work to repurpose waste into useful tools and innovative solutions.
Waste Levels are Worrisome
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, 11.2 million tons of textile waste ended up in landfills in 2017. The drastic increase in textile waste in recent years is partially due to the fact that people are purchasing higher volumes of clothing, and that the average number of times a piece of clothing is worn before being discarded has decreased 36% in the last 15 years.
Textile waste isn’t the only concern. Annually, 8 million tons of plastic enters the ocean, adding to the estimated 150 million tons already found in marine environments. Fish and other creatures living in oceans, lakes and rivers often ingest these plastics or become entangled in them, causing wildlife injuries and deaths. Plastic pollution also negatively impacts marine habitats because it disrupts ecosystems by allowing invasive species to hitch a ride on this plentiful debris.
There are many other types of post-consumer waste. For example, the rapid development of new technology coupled with frequently changing consumer tastes has led to the rise of electronic waste, or waste generated from discarded electronics like laptops, mobile phones and televisions. In 2019, the world generated a record 53.6 tons of e-waste.
Recycling Benefits the Cleaning Industry
Facility managers who understand the importance of recycling set their cleaning programs up for success. For example, consider the volume of cleaning products used daily around the world. Once plastic containers are empty, it is essential to keep them out of landfills and wildlife habitats. Oftentimes, facilities simply repurchase chemicals in new bottles rather than reusing emptied bottles. In these cases, the next best thing to reusing is recycling these containers.
But on-site recycling is not the only step that organizations can take to make their cleaning operations greener. Innovation is enabling manufacturers to develop cleaning tools that repurpose waste – a true win-win for facilities and the environment. For instance, facility managers can opt for mop heads constructed from 100% post-industrial apparel scraps. This involves a proprietary process that chops and processes scrap garments into sliver, the precursor to mop fibers. Spinning and twisting creates a multi-ply material that facilitates the production of absorbent mop heads.
Mop heads made from textile waste help eliminate the greenhouse gas impacts, agrochemical and water consumption and habitat disruption associated with extracting virgin materials for cotton and synthetic textile production. They also promote circularity (the continual use of resources) within the apparel sector. Meanwhile, facilities can select brushes and brooms made from repurposed plastic waste. Plastic bottles and bottle caps are transformed into use.
Going a Step Further
Organizations that truly value sustainability will appreciate that tools made from repurposed waste can also offer other benefits. For example, ABCO’s Natura Yarn mops constructed from textile waste are the first and only Green Seal certified line of mops and dustmops. Additionally, innovative Brik-Pak™ packaging reduces the amount of cardboard and plastic needed to package these mops by up to 70% when compared to standard packaging. Thus, facility managers can feel validated that the right sustainable cleaning tools can lessen the impact of post-consumer waste, minimize transportation emissions and deliver exceptional cleaning results.
Incorporating sustainable cleaning tools is an easy way to improve your environmental footprint and showcase your dedication to improving the planet. Learn more about products like the Natura Yarn range of mops, brushes and brooms at www.abcoproducts.com or contact us at (888) 694-2226.