„Europeans spent 5800 billion HUF on household cleaning- and laundry products in 2004 (this year the Hungarian national budget was 5333 m Ft) and the production and demand levels for innovative, faster, and „harsher” cleaning solutions are on the rise.” (Everyday Guide – Earth Day Foundation)
When we consider where cleaning and proper hygiene practices are the most important, most of us would say that in the facilities that provide food services. For this reason, these establishments must comply with very strict rules (the relevant Guide is 285 pages). Proper hygiene practices should of course be supported, since this guarantees that the food is prepared in a clean environment, and this way it does not get contaminated. Unfortunately in practice, the most widely used cleaning products contain chloride and ammonia, together with many other harmful ingredients, which – although comply with legal regulations and appropriate for hygiene purposes -, do not take into consideration the long-term environmental and health damaging effects.
There are however many environmental-friendly cleaning products available on the market as well, which guarantee cleanness just as much as the regularly used cleaning products, but the slow poisoning of the staff could be avoided. The effect of these products is slower and they generally require more care. According to LCAs prepared in the subject, the most harmful environmental impact of the cleaning products is the inappropriate disposal of the packaging materials. Since these belong to the hazardous waste category even when they are empty, their proper collection and disposal is important. The harshest chemicals that restaurants use are to keep away animals (such as rodents). These chemicals often contain neurotoxins – which harm not only the animals – even if there are more and more environmental-friendly products available on the market, and there are also contractors who provide environmentally friendly pest-control services. The restaurant business requires trust: people put their lives into the hands of the facility operator and the chef, even when they know nothing about how the establishment works. Members of the Heroes of Responsible Dining Network work on reducing the use of harmful chemicals as much as they can, thus take a big step towards a healthier, more sustainable, and more environmentally friendly operation.
A big THANK YOU goes out for Katalin Hall for translating the original site!
Green Restaurant Association: Cleaning green
Conscious customers’s book and Everyday guide Science in the Box: LCA of cleaning products