Eco-friendly cleaning products for businesses

With so many options out there, finding the best eco-friendly products for your business might seem overwhelming. Read on for our list of the most effective, eco-friendly cleaning products.

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Now that we’re cleaning our workplaces more frequently and thoroughly than ever, it’s all the more important to consider the impacts that our products might have on the environment. In this article, we take a look at the most effective, eco-friendly cleaning products for your business. 

What makes a cleaning product eco-friendly?

An eco-friendly cleaning product will usually have at least two of the following characteristics: 

  • Non-toxic: they don’t contain harsh chemicals like sodium hydroxide or chlorine, which can pose a risk to our own health and may end up damaging aquatic life in ocean or river ecosystems.
  • Biodegradable: they often contain natural and organic ingredients instead of toxic chemicals. This means that they will biodegrade within a short period of time and they won’t harm the environment in the long-term.
  • Plastic-free packaging: many eco-friendly cleaning brands have opted for biodegradable alternatives to plastic packaging, like cardboard or sugarcane.
  • Reusable, recycled and/or recyclable packaging: in 2015, Britain produced 2.26 million tonnes of plastic packaging waste. Reusing or recycling your cleaning products is an easy way to limit the waste that your business produces and to reduce your carbon footprint. 

Are eco-friendly cleaning products just as effective as mainstream options?

They definitely can be! Products made from non-toxic, natural ingredients can provide a spotless clean without posing a risk to the environment. However, some products might not be able to disinfect surfaces of viruses. It’s a good idea to take a look at the list of ingredients of any product and keep an eye out for hydrogen peroxide, thymol and quaternary ammonium compounds. These are effective disinfectants and are less harmful to the environment than harsher ingredients like bleach and alcohol.

How much will switching to eco-friendly cleaning products reduce my carbon footprint? 

All of the eco-friendly products listed below use recycled, recyclable, reusable or plastic-free packaging. Single-use plastic has a heavy carbon footprint because it has a very short lifespan. As it ends up in the landfill so quickly, it fuels our need to constantly produce new plastic. Plastic production accounts for 85% of its total carbon footprint! The carbon footprints of both recycled and reusable packaging are much lighter because their lives are much longer than single-use plastic and they don’t encourage the production of new plastic at the same rate. 

Packaging typeCO2 per kgEquivalent in miles driven
Single-use plastic1.63kg4 miles
Recycled plastic1.24kg3.8 miles
Reusable plastic0.33kg1 mile

Though it’s hard to know how much the non-toxicity of eco-friendly products limits their carbon footprint, it’s still worth making the switch to non- or low-toxic products. Toxic chemicals, like bleach, often end up polluting oceans, rivers or streams. They then cause air and water pollution, enter the food chain, and threaten animal species.

Which eco-friendly cleaning products are best for my business? 

With so many options out there, finding the best eco-friendly products for your business might seem overwhelming. Read on for our list of the most effective, eco-friendly cleaning products.

For kitchens & cafes

Degreasing surface spray

Ocean Saver Kitchen Degreaser Starter Kit

Price: £5 for a reusable 750ml bottle and two degreasing EcoDrops. 

Is it non-toxic? Yes.

Is it biodegradable? Yes. 

Is the packaging plastic-free? No, as the bottle is made from plastic.

Is the packaging reusable and/or recyclable? Yes, the bottle is both reusable and recyclable.

Is it a disinfectant? Yes. 

Clean Living Kitchen Cleaner and Degreaser Starter Pack 

Price: £8.99 for a reusable 300ml aluminium container, microfiber cloth and one cleaning and degreasing sachet. Refills start at £1.99.

Is it non-toxic? Yes.

Is it biodegradable? Yes.

Is the packaging plastic-free? No, as the sachet is made from plastic.

Is the packaging reusable and/or recyclable? The aluminium container and microfiber cloth are reusable and recyclable. The sachet is not reusable or recyclable.

Is it a disinfectant? No.

Washing up liquid

Bio-D Fragrance Free Washing Up Liquid

Price: £10.45 for 5 litre bottle.

Is it non-toxic? Yes. 

Is it biodegradable? Yes.

Is the packaging plastic-free? No, the bottle is made from recycled plastic.

Is the packaging reusable and/or recyclable? The bottle is recyclable. 

Bower Fragrance Free Washing Up Liquid Refill

Price: £2.99 for 1 litre refill pouch.

Is it non-toxic? Yes.

Is it biodegradable? Yes.

Is the packaging plastic-free? No, the pouch is made from plastic.

Is the packaging reusable and/or recyclable? Yes. Once you have finished with the pouch, you can send it back to Bower and they will reuse it.

Dishwasher tablets and rinse aid

Smol Dishwasher Tablets

Price: Smol offers subscription services at £4.60 per 30 tablets, with a free trial including 9 tablets. Tablets will be delivered directly to you as often as you need them.

Is it non-toxic? Yes.

Is it biodegradable? Yes.

Is the packaging plastic-free? Yes, and, compared with other dishwasher tablets, each pack saves 60g of plastic

Is the packaging reusable and/or recyclable? The packaging is recyclable. 

Ecover Classic Dishwasher Tablets 

Price: £6 for 25 tablets.

Is it non-toxic? No.

Is it biodegradable? Yes.

Is the packaging plastic-free? Not entirely, as the tablet wrapper is made from plastic, but the box is made from recycled cardboard.

Is the packaging reusable and/or recyclable? The cardboard box is recyclable, but the plastic tablet wrapper is not recyclable or reusable.

Ecozone Rinse Aid

Price: £2.99 for a 500ml bottle. 

Is it non-toxic? Yes.

Is it biodegradable? Yes.

Is the packaging plastic-free? No.

Is the packaging reusable and/or recyclable? The bottle is recyclable.

Oven cleaner

Dirtbusters Bio Oven Cleaner

Price: £33.29 for a 5 litre bottle.

Is it non-toxic? Yes.

Is it biodegradable? Yes.

Is the packaging plastic-free? No.

Is the packaging reusable and/or recyclable? The bottle is recyclable. 

Ecover Oven and Hob Cleaner

Price: £4 for a 500ml bottle. 

Is it non-toxic? Yes.

Is it biodegradable? Yes.

Is the packaging plastic-free? Yes.

Is the packaging reusable and/or recyclable? The bottle is recyclable.

Coffee machine cleaner

Ecozone Coffee Machine Cleaner and Descaler

Price: £4.99 for a 500ml bottle. 

Is it non-toxic? Yes.

Is it biodegradable? Yes.

Is the packaging plastic-free? No.

Is the packaging reusable and/or recyclable? The bottle is recyclable. 

For offices

Desk wipes

Ecozone Anti-Bacterial Multi-Surface Wipes

Price: £2.49 for a pack of 40 wipes. 

Is it non-toxic? Yes.

Is it biodegradable? Yes.

Is the packaging plastic-free? No.

Is the packaging reusable and/or recyclable? The packaging is made from LLDPE, which is recyclable at some locations. To check that it is recycled in your area, contact your local council.

Is it a disinfectant? Yes. 

Screen cleaner

Ecomoist Screen Cleaners

Price: £7.15 for a 100ml bottle and towel and £8 for a 500ml refill bottle. 

Is it non-toxic? Yes.

Is it biodegradable? Yes. 

Is the packaging plastic-free? Yes. 

Is the packaging reusable and/or recyclable? The bottle is recyclable and can also be refilled and reused.

Is it a disinfectant? No. 

Ecomoist Screen Wipes

Price: £6.50 for a pack of 100 wipes. 

Is it non-toxic? Yes. 

Is it biodegradable? Yes.

Is the packaging plastic-free? No.

Is the packaging reusable and/or recyclable? The container is recyclable.

Is it a disinfectant? No.

Whiteboard cleaner

Dirtbusters Whiteboard Cleaner

Price: £7.20 for a 250ml bottle.

Is it non-toxic? Yes.

Is it biodegradable? Yes. 

Is the packaging plastic-free? No.

Is the packaging reusable and/or recyclable? The bottle is recyclable. 

Is it a disinfectant? No.

Hand sanitiser

Bramley Hand Sanitiser Gel

Price: £14 for a 250ml bottle.

Is it non-toxic? Yes.

Is it biodegradable? Yes.

Is the packaging plastic-free? Yes, the bottle is made from sugarcane.

Is the packaging reusable and/or recyclable? The bottle is recyclable.

Is it a disinfectant? Yes.

For cleaning companies 

Multi-purpose surface cleaners

Zoono Microbe Shield Surface Sanitiser Spray

Price: £18.99 for a 500ml bottle.

Is it non-toxic? Yes.

Is it biodegradable? Yes.

Is the packaging plastic-free? No.

Is the packaging reusable and/or recyclable? The bottle is recyclable.

Is it a disinfectant? Yes. 

Clean Living Biological Multi-Purpose Cleaner Starter Pack

Price: £8.99 for a 300ml reusable aluminium bottle, a microfibre cloth and a 30ml cleaning sachet.

Is it non-toxic? Yes.

Is it biodegradable? Yes. 

Is the packaging plastic-free? No, the sachet is made from plastic.

Is the packaging reusable and/or recyclable? The aluminium container and microfiber cloth are reusable and recyclable. The sachet is not reusable or recyclable.

Cleaning cloths, dusters and mops

E-cloth 

Price: £17.50 for a pack of 5 cloths, £20 for a mop and £15 for a floor and wall duster. 

Is it non-toxic? Yes. You don’t need to use chemical cleaning products to clean your surfaces with E-Cloth; water is enough to absorb dust, dirt and grime. 

Is it biodegradable? No.

Is the packaging plastic-free? Yes.

Is the packaging reusable and/or recyclable? The packaging is recyclable.

Bathroom cleaning spray

Method Anti-Bac Bathroom Cleaner

Price: £3 for an 828ml bottle. 

Is it non-toxic? No.

Is it biodegradable? Yes.

Is the packaging plastic-free? No, the bottle is made from recycled plastic.

Is the packaging reusable and/or recyclable? The bottle is recyclable. 

Is it a disinfectant? Yes. 

Toilet cleaner

Ecover Toilet Cleaner

Price: £1.95 for a 750ml bottle. 

Is it non-toxic? Yes.

Is it biodegradable? Yes.

Is the packaging plastic-free? No.

Is the packaging reusable and/or recyclable? The packaging is recyclable. 

Carpet cleaner

Evogen Carpet and Upholstery Shampoo

Price: £52.88 for two 5 litre bottles. 

Is it non-toxic? Yes.

Is it biodegradable? Yes. 

Is the packaging plastic-free? No, the bottle is made from recycled plastic. 

Is the packaging reusable and/or recyclable? The packaging is recyclable.

Evogen Carpet and Upholstery Spot and Stain Remover

Price: £35.56 for six 750ml bottles.

Is it non-toxic? Yes.

Is it biodegradable? Yes.

Is the packaging plastic-free? No, the bottle is made from recycled plastic.

Is the packaging reusable and/or recyclable? The packaging is recyclable. 

Glass and window cleaner 

Method Glass + Surface Cleaner

Price: £4 for an 828ml bottle.

Is it non-toxic? No.

Is it biodegradable? Yes.

Is the packaging plastic-free? No, the bottle is made from recycled plastic.

Is the packaging recyclable and/or reusable? The bottle is recyclable.

Is it a disinfectant? Yes.

Disinfectant sprays

UniBlue Disinfectant

Price: £5 for a 500ml bottle.

Is it non-toxic? Yes.

Is it biodegradable? Yes.

Is the packaging plastic-free? No. 

Is the packaging recyclable and/or reusable? The bottle is recyclable. 

Opting for eco-friendly cleaning alternatives instead of mainstream products is one of the simplest ways to reduce your business’ carbon footprint, and with so many options available, it’s never been easier to make the switch. If you didn’t find what you’re looking for in this article, don’t worry; just make sure that you look for non-toxic, biodegradable products with plastic-free, recycled, recyclable or reusable packaging when your cleaning supplies next run out. You may have to settle for products which fit only one or two of these categories, but this will still help to minimise the negative impacts of your business on the environment. 

Sophie Comninos
Author: Sophie Comninos

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