Biobased Homecare Products

Posted in: biobased

Spending more time at home puts more emphasis on cleaning, so here are ten more innvoative biobased cleaning products.

Whether you’ve taken social distancing measures as an opportunity to get busy with housework, or you need to get your home looking vaguely ship-shaped for when people can visit again, cleaning is always on the agenda, even or especially in current circumstances. We’ve written in the past about the biobased products available for spring cleaning, and now is as good a time as any to revisit the topic.

First up on the list is Boulder Clean’s laundry detergent, a plant-based cleaner that utilises orange oil and enzymes to achieve clean and fresh-smelling clothes without the use of synthetic fragrances or dyes. The detergent also comes packaged in a bottle containing Braskem’s I’m green™ biobased plastic, ensuring a reduction in carbon footprint in both the product and the packaging.

The bioeconomy is not just about utilising plants to produce sustainable products. Waste also acts as an important feedstock for a great many biobased products. Food waste is of particular interest, and Ecover’s new washing up liquid redirects waste ingredients from a Belgian beer manufacturer, making up up to 25% of the product’s formula. The packaging is also made from recycled plastic.

It’s not just the cleaning products: cleaning tools can also be biobased. The recent popularity of bamboo toothbrushes has shown that dental care can be sustainable, and now Walgreens have released flossing tools that are made from a biobased alternative to plastic that is also, like bamboo toothbrushes, compostable. Ordinarily flossing tools are, alongside cotton buds, small pieces of plastic that can quite easily end up in the environment when thrown away, and so Walgreens’ alternative could help assuage this problem.

Sustainability is all about innovation: there is more to reducing emissions that just using biobased ingredients, and there is more to waste reduction than recycling. Tru Earth’s laundry strips are designed to have as little environmental impact as possible. The strips are highly concentrated biobased cleaning agents, which replace powder or capsules. The thin strips mean that they can be packaged in envelopes, reducing emissions from transport due to their light weight and ability to be tightly packed, while also reducing plastic waste by eliminating bottles or tubs from the packaging. It is products like this that demonstrate how there are still important innovations to be made in the pursuit of sustainability.

Another product that thinks “outside the box” is VEO’s cleaner, which eschews more traditional cleaning chemicals in favour of a “probiotic” approach. By stimulating the growth of non-harmful bacteria, VEO claims that its cleaner continues to protect the surfaces it cleans for up to 3 days after application, by allowing the bacteria to biodegrade the dirt on surfaces. This is a novel approach to cleaning with biobased ingredients that comes packaged in a recycled plastic bottle.

Obviously, it’s easy to think that all cleaning products are the similar – most home cleaning products will be a concoction of surfactants, disinfectants, and so on – but there are still plenty of non-typical cleaning applications that can be (and are) biobased. One such application is rust removal, which is of course essential for maintenance of machines and tools. Cortec’s EcoAir rust remover is USDA certified 92% biobased, and works to remove tarnishing from various metals, and has a specially designed spray can which works without polluting chemical propellants.

Here in Yorkshire our water has a relatively high hardness for the UK, which means limescale and soap scum are persistent problems, particularly in bathrooms where surfaces get wet. Method’s shower cleaner utilises biobased lactic acid and other corn-starch-derived ingredients to break down and prevent the buildup of limescale and soap scum, intended to be applied immediately after showering, saving you the job of cleaning later.

Before UK restrictions on outdoor exercise were relaxed, cycling was an important activity for many people to stay fit (and sane) during lockdown. Home bike maintenance is easier than many people expect, and keeping the drive train free of grease and dirt keeps the ride smooth. Thanks to WPL this can be done with a 96% biobased degreaser.

Cleaning extends beyond the removal of dirt, and for many items, upkeep is just as important. Furniture can pick up scuffs and other damage during everyday use, and so polishing is important to keep it looking new. Daddy Van’s furniture polish is derived from beeswax, and has the US BioPreferred certification, meaning the US public sector is encouraged to use it. The company also has a range of furniture care products using hemp oil as the main ingredient.

During social distancing, it is important to keep the windows clean, in order to let as much natural light in (and to stare longingly at the outside world, remembering when you could still frolic in it, and wondering when you will again…). Cleaning glass requires specialised products that don’t leave streaks or residue. Seventh Generation’s glass cleaner is certified by the USDA to be 96% biobased and biodegradable, and does not contain any harmful chemicals.

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This article was written by Bob Horton, Research Analyst at NNFCC.

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