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The Environmental Impact of Disinfectant Usage

The Environmental Impact of Disinfectant Usage
07 July 2020

The cleaning and FM sectors are being urged not to over-rely on disinfectants that risk a negative impact on the environment.

InnuScience, a commercial cleaning manufacturer is instead emphasising on effective cleaning using high performing detergents rather than relying on disinfectants.

The biotech company is advocating a cleaning regime called “Justified Disinfection” which encourages disinfecting only where and when it is useful and relevant.


What is “Justified Disinfection?”


Steve Teasdale, the Co-Founder and Vice President of Scientific Affairs at InnuScience, explained: “Justified Disinfection is the principle that effective cleaning with high-quality detergents across all non-critical touch surfaces is as effective, if not more so, than the widespread systematic or abusive use of disinfectants.

“There is also a need to continue to look after our environment. This has been at our heart since we began”.

InnuScience warns that regular and widespread use of disinfectants does not provide a clean surface as “disinfectants do not clean per se, promoting the development of bacteria”, and recommends they should only be used on critical high-frequency touch surfaces.

The company suggests effective regular cleaning is most appropriate for all non-critical surfaces such as floors, urinals, ceilings and most walls as these are areas that are not typically touched and do not represent “a real biological risk to health”. 


Environmental Waste and CSR


"There is a big challenge facing offices reopening, and this goes beyond space planning and social distancing. Companies must play their part in slowing the spread of communicable diseases in areas of high contact, whilst at the same time not compromise their Corporate Social Responsibility aims." 

–Dr Rachel Dick

Associate, Rider Levett Bucknall


As FMs look to reassure their buildings’ visitors of their high hygiene standards, it can’t be ignored that increasing use of any cleaning chemical will inevitably have an environmental impact. Certain disinfectants have been linked to acute and chronic health issues, residues of disinfectants washed down the drain may trigger the growth of disinfectant-resistant microbes and an over-reliance on single-use plastic packaging remains a problem

Dr Rachel Dick, Associate at Rider Levett Bucknall and TWinFM Editorial Advisory Board member, commented that her clients were becoming increasingly concerned with balancing their environmental responsibilities with keeping their buildings safe:

"There is a big challenge facing offices reopening, and this goes beyond space planning and social distancing. Companies must play their part in slowing the spread of communicable diseases in areas of high contact, whilst at the same time not compromise their Corporate Social Responsibility aims. 

This can be achieved in the form of selecting products which do not cause harm to the environment. This is a conversation I'm having with many of my clients currently, both within the public and private sector. Businesses are very concerned about ensuring the workspace is operational, but they also want to meet and achieve their environmental commitments." 

Picture: A photograph of a plastic spray trigger bottle

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 07 July 2020


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