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Sustainability, What Does This Mean for the Cleaning Industry

Updated: Jan 10, 2022

Sustainability. That is the latest buzzword. We hear that we need to be more responsible as a business or individual over our actions and how we treat the planet. But how can we, in the cleaning industry, turn sustainability from a buzzword into real-world action?

Facility managers, operations managers, cleaning managers and even caretakers will have new sustainability targets passed down from the top as the Government looks to businesses to lead the way in improving the current climate crisis.

But as COP 26 fades into the background, what does being more sustainable genuinely mean for the average person or business? How can we help in the 'Race to Zero', and what changes can we make to help get there?

This article will explore how we in the cleaning industry, as distributors, and you as the buyer, can reduce carbon emissions, save water, and reduce wastage through some simple changes.

Reduce Water Use and Chemicals

Facilities, businesses, and households have become over-reliant on harsh chemicals when cleaning, contributing to water pollution. Over-use and incorrect disposal of chemicals alongside poor training have ultimately increased polluted water sources and groundwater. Now, these water sources are becoming less effective at sustaining their ecosystems.

Target 6.3 from the Sustainable Development Goal 6 states: "By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimising release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally."

So what can we do to help?

Switch to no chemicals or low chemical solutions.

For example, Tersano is a chemical-free company. Their system produces Stabilized Aqueous Ozone (SAO®) on-demand using only cold tap water and Oxygen. SAO works by attacking organic matter, breaking it down into smaller particles and suspending it in solution—a reaction called oxidation. SAO sanitises for up to 24 hours. At this point, it can be used as a general cleaner for six days. After which, it reverts to water and Oxygen with zero impact on the planet and waterways.

What if you need chemicals to do the task? Then choose more effective single-dose cleaners like i-dose from i-team. Each pod provides the exact cleaning solution for your job, reducing chemical waste back into the environment.

Greenspeed's Probio range of cleaners uses 100% natural micro-organisms. Once the product has been used and re-enters the environment, it actively contributes to water cleaning and maintaining a natural microbial balance. Furthermore, Greenspeed uses sugarcane-based plastic packaging, meaning it is 100% recyclable.

Greenspeed is also Cradle to Cradle Certified™. The certification programme assessment is based on five pillars: use of non-toxic materials, design with reusable or degradable materials, use of renewable energy, responsible water use and socially responsible production.

Training is also essential to reducing chemical and water waste. Cleaning teams should regularly receive proper instruction and best practice refreshers with their chosen cleaning products. Suitable training will minimise waste, save money on over-ordering and ultimately lead to less harmful toxins being put back into the environment.

Reduce waste

We've all been guilty at some stage of throwing away single-use plastics or not recycling items correctly. While we've come a long way in recognising the negative impacts of this, between 2000 and 2017, our global "Material Footprint" has still increased by a whopping 70%. You can reduce this by switching to a solution that involves refill rather than landfill.

Target 12.5, under "Responsible Consumption and Production" from the Sustainable Development Goals, states: "By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse."

Where can we help?

Choose products that actively promote a recycle or reuse policy.

Let's take a look at Soap2o. Their products do not use any single-use plastics—dispensers and bottles are made from porcelain, meaning they are 100% reusable. The dissolvable soap sachets save space over regular hand soap, reducing transport costs by up to 90% and minimising shelf space by up to 92%. These products are also not tested on animals and are vegan friendly.

Touching again on Greenspeed's Sprenkler and Hydra ranges, you can wash their microfibre mop heads up to 600 times, which is an exceptionally long in-service life, reducing the time between re-ordering these consumable items. Their Re-belle microfibre cloths are 100% recycled and 100% recyclable, giving them a second life after use for zero waste.

Northwood is a manufacturer of professional paper hygiene products. They aim to reduce waste to zero. Their paper is made from 100% recycled product and entirely breaks down after 9 seconds in water, reducing blockages. And high capacity dispensers, which are designed to use 100% of the roll, mean fewer visits by janitorial staff, less maintenance and zero paper wastage. They also have massive vertical integration with raw material supply, tissue and towel manufacturing, and storage and transportation in the UK, reducing their carbon footprint.

In Conclusion

We can take clear steps to reduce our overall impact on the planet. Whether that's choosing products made in the UK or trailing chemical-free cleaning techniques, you can make simple and effective choices to your cleaning regime that will not negatively impact your bottom line but positively impact the world around you.

Sometimes you may need a little guidance and advice on the best products to use for your goals. So for support on how your organisation can benefit from more sustainably conscious cleaning products and alternatives, please reach out to Lucy Whitehouse at

View our sustainable range of products


About Killis

Founded in 1964, Killis are one of the UK's largest distributors of cleaning machines and janitorial supplies. We continually strive to offer the latest in innovative cleaning equipment and solutions as part of our aim to revolutionise the cleaning industry.


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