Sustainable Living | Apr 22, 2019 11:31:05 AM
Green business practices might be an obvious choice now, but that wasn’t the case in the cleaning industry when we first started 15 years years ago.
Our vision of a cleaning industry that had a minimal environmental impact is what drove our business to grow into what it is today. It is also what continues to push us to improve.
Our Vision is to promote health and protect the environment by providing alternative choices in the cleaning industry.
It was concern for the next generation that sparked the vision for AspenClean. Our company founders, Alicia and Chris started to question what sort of impact cleaning with chemicals would have on the health of their young kids.
Independent research confirmed Alicia’s suspicion that bleach is not safe for cleaning around small children. Reports by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) have shown that chloroform, which is commonly released as a fume from chlorine bleach can cause respiratory irritation and asthma.
Further research revealed the negative impact that the production of conventional cleaning products, as well as the use of these cleaning products in the home, could have on our environment.
Unfortunately, the cleaning industry at the time did not provide any suitable alternatives - so they created one.
Hygienic living space is important for good health, and chemical innovation has helped us rid our homes of germs that pose a threat. But somewhere along the way, the cleaning pendulum swung too far into the toxic sphere and the chemicals designed to keep our homes healthy were causing more harm to us and our natural environment.
The natural world is already filled with chemicals. The EWG’s Tap Water Database compiled 28 million water records and collected samples from nearly 50000 water utilities, serving 280 million people through all states of the United States of America. They found more than 250 chemicals all across America’s drinking water, with more than 160 contaminants on which the federal government hasn’t set any limits for.
The widespread use and production of synthetic chemicals in the cleaning industry only adds to the problem. Chemicals like Triclosan are used in cleaning products as antibacterials, despite being recognized as a hazard to both humans and the environment. The EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning reports moderate concern for developmental and reproductive toxicity to humans. Furthermore, as an antibacterial, Triclosan can disrupt the balance of ecosystems by killing algae - a key part of the aquatic food chain.
The EWG has also found evidence to show that Methylisothiazolinone (a synthetic preservative) is highly toxic to aquatic environments and is a known toxicant and allergen in humans. The continued use of Methylisothiazolinone is particularly troublesome because there are effective natural alternatives.
The reason why cleaning companies don’t use natural alternatives is because these ingredients are more expensive and it puts more demand on the production process. This is because natural preservatives are more vulnerable to pathogens, bacteria and yeast so more care and cleanliness must be observed during manufacturing.
But the fact is that it is possible, and for the past 15 years, AspenClean has been devoted to seeking out natural alternatives that have a minimal environmental impact.
In the case of preservatives like Methylisothiazolinone, our products use Aspen Bark as a natural alternative despite production challenges. Keeping AspenClean products natural is a pillar of our business, so when the time came to formulate products to be used in the natural cleaning service for consumers, only the finest natural ingredients were considered.
Instead of synthetic chemicals, our natural cleaning products contain ingredients such as Organic Grapefruit Oil for its antibacterial properties and chicory root for a natural shine in our dishwasher packs. All of our ingredients are biodegradable within 28 days and are septic safe to have minimal impact on the environment.
But we don’t only consider the impact that our finished products have on the environment. We also take the environmental impact of our manufacturing, sourcing and processes into consideration.
Ecocert is an internationally recognized certification that guarantees the genuine practice of environmental respect throughout the formulation and manufacturing of a product. It was important for AspenClean to comply with the high-standards that Ecocert set, not only as a commitment to the environment, but third-party certifications are also a way to show the integrity of our products to consumers.
As part of our Ecocert certification, our products display a full list of ingredients on the label (something that is not a legal requirement for cleaning products in North America), are manufactured in a chemical free environment and are made from the finest natural ingredients including organic essential oils.
Our mission to lower our impact on the earth, of course, extends to the protection of animals. Not only are our products pet safe, but they are Leaping Bunny approved which ensures that AspenClean products or suppliers do not conduct animal testing.
From the onset, the vision for AspenClean has been to promote health and protect the environment by providing alternative choices in the cleaning industry. Plastic waste is now one of the biggest environmental challenges that we face today.
The United Nations Environment Programme reported that 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic has been made to date. Of that, 6.3 billion has already become waste and if we don’t change our consumption patterns, 12 billion tonnes of plastic will become litter in landfills or the environment by 2050.
For AspenClean, taking action on plastic waste is a logical step towards our corporate value of sustainability. This is why our products are bottled in 100% recycled plastic. Many companies have set 100% PCR packaging targets for the future. This is fantastic news for the industry as higher demand for PCR might help alleviate cost and availability challenges. But we wanted to act now.
We also refill our cleaners rather than use new bottles in our home cleaning service. This stops up to 50,000 of bottles from becoming waste. Our microfiber cloths and sponges are also washed and reused daily to avoid excess waste.
Our modern lives constantly put pressure on our earth and as a socially and environmentally responsible business, we are constantly looking for ways to continue to lighten our ecological footprint. We hope to integrate more PCR in the packaging of future products and are working towards creating refillable options for consumers as well as ‘by-the-gallon- offerings for local businesses.
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