Household cleaners contributing to growing global plastic waste problem
SunState Labs advocates sustainable option to protect the environment
Single-use plastic spray bottles are contributing to the growing problem of plastic waste buildup in our oceans, which according to a study published in PLOS ONE, has reached over 250,000 tons. (1) Everyday ready-to-use (RTU) household cleaning products, which consist mostly of water with a small amount of active ingredients, are a major factor in plastic waste.
SunState Laboratories (sunstatelabs.com), a pioneering manufacturer of concentrated, environmentally safe cleaning products, advises consumers that they may be unwittingly contributing to the problem by routinely purchasing single-use spray bottles. Not only are discarded plastic bottles harming the environment, but the “use once and throw away” process is extremely costly, wasteful and inefficient.
“Consumers often have good intentions of recycling plastic spray bottles,” says David Shahan, CEO and Chief Innovation Officer of SunState Labs. “But because plastics recycling is so difficult and costly, the items they believe are being recycled often end up in landfills – or floating out in the ocean.”
Based on data collected from 2007 to 2013, and published in PLOS ONE, it is estimated that at least 5.25 trillion particles of plastic litter the world’s oceans, weighing in at approximately 268,940 tons. The makeup of the floating islands of plastic, first identified over 20 years ago, includes discarded fishing nets and shopping bags, as well as untold numbers of plastic bottles, thrown away by consumers. Researchers agree that the first step to cleaning up the oceans is to stop polluting them. (2)
As stated by Shahan, plastic’s durability further exacerbates its environmental impact. “Plastic is designed to be strong and durable, so it does not easily decompose. No one knows for sure how long plastic would take to decompose in nature, but some plastics may take well over 1,000 years,” he says. “Our oceans seem to be taking the greatest toll, with the United Nations Environmental Program estimating 46,000 square feet of plastic litter floating in every square mile of the ocean.” (3)
Slowing the buildup of plastic waste in the oceans will require changes in consumer behavior. Fortunately, one of the most effective solutions to the use-once-and-throw-away process is easy to achieve, by simply reusing the spray bottles already present in many households, said Shahan.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) bolsters SunState Lab’s stance on reusing existing plastic bottles. The EPA supports waste prevention activities, such as reuse, to offset the ever-growing per capita solid waste generation rate in the United States. According to the EPA, the average daily amount of waste generated per person in the U.S. increased nearly 63% from 1960 to 1997, from 2.7 pounds to 4.4 pounds. This figure is much higher than our peers in European nations, such as Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, where per capita waste generation stands at about 2 – 3 pounds per day. (4)
EPA tips for reducing waste include switching to reusable and refillable products, and products with less packaging. SunState Labs’ DAZZ Cleaning Products fulfills these goals, addressing environmental and sustainability issues, cost, and waste in four ways:
1.They promote reuse of existing spray bottles, so consumers can contribute to environmental sustainability.
2.They are less wasteful. Instead of shipping heavy bottles filled mostly with water all over the country, the concentrated tablets allow consumers to add their own tap water, reducing the use of limited resources. Less packaging also equals less waste throughout the process.
3.DAZZ products are concentrated, so they’re less expensive than RTU cleaners. Consumers pay only for the effective ingredients, not for water or plastic spray bottles. Four refill packets cost about the same as one bottle of RTU cleaner.
4.They are safer, with no harmful chemicals, ammonia or bleach.
In independent testing, DAZZ products were shown to clean more effectively than major RTU cleaners, further saving consumers money.
DAZZ products are available in a starter kit, which includes a refillable, reusable spray bottle, or in a box of four refill packets, which includes an identifying label for a reused spray bottle. Once mixed, DAZZ products are safe for all households, including those with children, pets, and people with compromised immune systems or allergies.
(1) “Plastic Pollution in the World’s Oceans: More 5 Trillion Plastic Pieces Weighing over 250,000 Tons Afloat at Sea;” PLOS ONE, December 10, 2014; accessed February 11, 2015. journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111913
(2) “Plastic Waste Builds Up to Record Volume in Oceans;” Digital Journal, December 24, 2014; accessed February 11, 2015. digitaljournal.com/news/environment/world-s-oceans-are-littered-with-plastic-waste/article/421819.
(3) “Plastic Debris in the World’s Oceans;” Greenpeace International; accessed February 12, 2015. unep.org/regionalseas/marinelitter/publications/docs/plastic_ocean_report.pdf
(4) “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Buy Recycled;” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, last updated October 14, 2014; accessed February 11, 2015. epa.gov/region9/waste/solid/reduce.html