Home' Inclean : INCLEAN Spt-Oct 2015 Contents 28 INCLEAN September/October 2015
There may also be a perception that green chemicals are mild or
weak, however Agar doesn’t believe this to be correct, stating it has
formulated green detergents that are “very effective”.
What have you found to be the main barriers to using green
chemicals? Why do people complain they don’t work?
Before people have even tried green chemicals, the frst obstacle has
been the price. “When green chemicals frst appeared they came with
a price premium due either to the more costly ingredients and higher
concentrations of same being used, or commercial opportunism,”
The second obstacle revolves around effectiveness. “In the past,
some have had the perception that green chemicals are ‘soft’ and
won’t get the job done like the traditional products that have proven
themselves. And it’s true that early on, by replacing traditional and
effective ingredients with less environmentally harmful alternatives,
performance may have been adversely affected,” admits Agar.
“Some green chemical formulators simply focussed on reducing
environmental impact with little consideration given to performance.”
Diversey’s Curran makes an important point regarding the overall
consequence in the professional market. “It is highly unlikely to be
able to clean a building in its entirety with eco-certifed products –
dishwasher products and disinfectants in the kitchen, foor polishes
and strippers etc,” she points out. “Secondly, as the products tend
to be more dilute, there would be increased storage, ordering/
invoicing and, arguably, manual handling requirements. From an
environmental perspective, there tends to be a greater transportation
and waste impact.
“Furthermore, there is a misconception that the chemistry of an eco-
labelled product is somehow better for the environment than a super-
concentrate – many in-use solutions of our super-concentrate products
would satisfy the requirements for eco-certifcation,” Curran adds.
Do you think the attitude towards green chemicals is
changing and they are being more accepted or not?
Diversey’s Curran comments that “the increase in environmental
awareness has resulted in not only a growth in ‘green’ products
but also the claims associated with them. Some of these claims are
accurate but do not necessarily consider the wider environmental
or sustainability impact,” she says. “Other claims, while well-
intentioned, may be misleading and/or infringe laws or ‘codes of
conduct’ on such claims. Furthermore, as independent have shown,
there are other environmental claims that are, frankly, inaccurate
and/or designed to mislead the consumer. These claims are often
referred to a ‘greenwashing’.”
Agar is adamant that the awareness is defnitely changing. “In some
cases property managers are insisting on the use of green chemicals,
so cleaning service providers have no choice to accept them in
those cases,” states Agar. “This has forced the cleaners to use green
chemicals and in the process observe them in action and realise that
they can be effective. With the existence of standards and independent
certifcation of green products, customers now have confdence that
a green chemical can really be green, and this has also led to wider
acceptance of green products.”
Curran admits that it may come across that she is disparaging
about green products, but she ensures she’s not. “What defnes
‘green’ is extremely complex, differs from person to person, situation
to situation, can have unintended or unrecognised consequences
and impacts,” she explains. “What makes a product ‘green’ is not
necessarily what is in the bottle, but more about what the product
does – reducing water, energy, waste, transportation and so on. How
customers judge ‘green’ may need to be different.”
Complaint Two: 'HEPA filters reduce the
suction of vacuum cleaners'
In regards to HEPA fltration, INCLEAN approached Cleanstar
director, Lisa Michalson, and Pacvac’s research and development
department to ask them the hard questions.
Is it true that HEPA flters reduce the suction of vacuum
cleaners? What do people need to avoid and/or look for
when purchasing vacuums with HEPA fltration?
“Generally speaking, anything that reduces airfow will reduce
suction. HEPA flters can be located at the ‘exhaust’ end of a
vacuum cleaner. They maintain suction reasonably well,” explains
Michalson. “Some vacuum cleaners have a HEPA flter located ‘pre-
motor’such as back packs. There are actually a few different grades
of HEPA which isn’t a widely known fact. H14 flters to a fner
(smaller particulate) than H10 does.”
As for the considerations when purchasing a vacuum, Michalson
says it should be matched to the application and environment being
vacuumed. “If HEPA fltration is a requirement, it would be wise to
purchase HEPA flter that can be easily cleaned/washed,” she reveals.
“They are expensive to replace, so cleaning them is advisable, both
from a cost perspective and it is good for you equipment too.”
Pacvac’s research team share a similar view. “The most important
thing for people to consider when purchasing a vacuum with
HEPA fltration is the grade of HEPA fltration, the design of the
machine to cater for specifc environments and the manufacturer’s
recommendations regarding the type of environment appropriate for
the specifc machine,” it states. “In some circumstances, especially
when fne dust is concerned, the suitability of HEPA fltration within
a machine is highly dependent on the machine’s design in conjunction
with the HEPA fltration and its ability to cater for vacuuming in an
What are the most important things cleaners need to
do to make sure their vacuum cleaners work properly
with HEPA fltration?
Michalson views this answer as a no-brainer. “In a nutshell keep
them clean and unclogged and make sure the dust canister/flter is
emptied,” she notes. “They are more effective when kept clean. From
a maintenance perspective, the vacuum cleaner breathes better, the
motor runs cooler and overall suction performance is better.” Pacvac
agrees with its comment; “as with any form of flters it is crucial to
ensure the flters are kept in optimum condition by cleaning them
after every working day and replacing the flters when required.”
Do you think the attitude toward HEPA fltration is
changing and is it being requested more often?
Pacvac has seen a “noticeable increase” in the level of demand for
HEPA fltration systems, however it believes many users are yet to
completely understand why and when HEPA fltration is suitable.
Cleanstar’s Michalson offers a bit more insight as she believes
HEPA flters are becoming more popular as they gain broader
recognition. “This is not to say that conventional flters aren’t
effective. Over a period of years, bag-less technology has become
quite prominent with a result that flters needed to get better with
the absence of a bag,” she explains.
“Environmental consciousness has also become more of a
consideration, and therefore the more dust a vacuum cleaner retains,
the better the job, the better the environment,” concludes Michalson.
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