Hayley Dixon

The Benefits of Using Eco Cleaning Products in your Home Office

Guest Blog – Perfect Clean Limited

home office, pc screen on desk

Are you keeping your home office clean? If you’ve been using traditional cleaning products to clean your office, you may be doing more harm than good. Eco-friendly cleaning products boast an abundance of benefits, including being kinder to the environment. If you haven’t made the switch yet, here are a few reasons why you may want to consider using eco-friendly office cleaning products to keep your workspace spotless.

They are better for your health

Eco-friendly cleaning products use natural or plant-based ingredients which are less harmful to yourself and the environment. The majority of commercial cleaning products contain toxic ingredients, such as volatile organic compounds and ammonia, which have been shown to irritate the respiratory system, eyes and throat, as well as causing headaches. In contrast, eco-friendly products are less harsh, meaning you won’t be exposed to chemicals that could make you feel unwell.

There is less waste produced

Eco-friendly cleaning supplies are designed to last longer than traditional cleaning products. Additionally, they use recycled plastic packaging to be kinder to the environment. Being able to recycle packaging and produce less waste means you’re not relying on the single-use plastics of some commercial cleaning products. Every year, around 8 million tons of plastic enters our oceans, affecting the lives of marine animals. By using eco-friendly items, you are contributing to making the planet a better place.

They are cost-effective

Many people assume that eco-friendly cleaning products are expensive. However, they are actually competitively priced, and some products tend to be even cheaper than traditional commercial cleaning products. As eco-friendly products last longer, you don’t need to use as much. That means you save money on your cleaning purchases. 

They are highly efficient

If you find yourself buffing streaks left by your glass cleaner or stains that haven’t been removed by your multi-surface cleaner, it may not be your cleaning technique that is the problem. Many cleaning products are just not as effective as they should be, leaving you with more work to do than you’d originally hoped for. On the other hand, eco-friendly solutions are highly effective in cleaning multiple surfaces.

They enhance indoor air quality

Using less harsh chemicals in your cleaning supplies means you have improved indoor air quality. Toxic chemicals from regular cleaning products are dangerous to inhale, generating higher levels of indoor pollution. Not only that, but they also have a strong unpleasant smell, especially if you’re using bleach or ammonia. Most eco-friendly products use the aroma of essential oils to leave a gentle, pleasing scent on your surfaces and in the air.

They protect surfaces

If you’ve noticed your stainless steel appearing dull and cloudy or your leather desk chair starting to peel, it’s likely due to the use of harsh chemical cleaners. With continued use, toxic chemicals can start to degrade the protective covering of your household items. If you want to keep your belongings looking as good as new, use eco-friendly products which are gentler when cleaning your surfaces.

They are better for the environment

Naturally, eco-friendly cleaning products are better for the environment. There are fewer harmful by-products in the seas and the atmosphere. Plus, you can create a healthier home for your family. Eco-friendly packaging also decreases your carbon footprint as it reduces the consumption of resources.

They boost productivity

By keeping your home office clean and tidy, you’re able to improve your productivity. Let’s face it, trying to work in a cluttered, dirty environment is distracting. With regular cleaning, you can keep your concentration and focus high. Plus, you won’t be distracted by the unpleasant aroma of harsh chemicals. Instead, you can work in a space that has been cleaned with natural ingredients which smell more pleasing.

Make the switch to eco-friendly cleaning products – Eco-friendly cleaning products are highly beneficial to the environment and your health. Contemplate making the switch to more natural cleaning products with less harsh chemicals and you’ll find that green cleaning is just as effective, if not more than traditional cleaning products.

About The Author: Perfect Clean is a professional cleaning company based in Edinburgh. With highly experienced professionals they have the capacity to offer affordable and high quality commercial and industrial cleaning services. They are passionate and committed to keeping everyone safe with their exemplary health and safety practices.

A Day in the Life of a Squeeky Cleaner!

By Charley Moxham

Squeeky cleaning products were inspired by the want for our cleaners to use organic, natural and non-toxic products – better for people, pets and planet! Charley takes us through a day in the life of a Squeeky Cleaner, tells us why she loves working for Squeeky and the impact being a Squeeky has had on her purchasing habits…!

Charley M quotation

Most days I arrive at the office around 8:45 ready to start my first clean at 9:15. Being a Squeeky cleaner is great as we have such a variety of clients , so every day is different and there is never a dull moment! I clean narrow boats twice a week and houses or offices on the other three days. When it comes to cleaning the narrow boats it is a thorough clean of all areas including cleaning under sofas, inside of cupboards and making up of beds. For house and office cleans, the customer may only want certain things cleaned, for example I do a house where it is just bathrooms and floors, so we really can accommodate whatever our customers want from us!  

Six Squeeky life bottles on worktop.

All of my regular customers seem to really like our Squeeky products and all except a couple of clients ask for us to use them in their houses. There is one comment that stays in my head to this day! We carried out a first clean and the lady sent a review saying the house looked so sparkly she thought she would have to wear sunglasses to look at her bath! You can’t really get better praise than that!

Because all of our products are natural, vegan and also come in refillable bottles, becoming a Squeeky cleaner has opened my eyes a little and made me more aware of the impact I have on the environment so I have tried to make some small changes in the things that I buy. I now try to use reusable sandwich bags instead of plastic ones which aren’t widely recycled, I’ve switched from plastic milk bottles to glass ones and have purchased two bamboo travel mugs so that I can take drinks with me on the go instead of having to buy more single use plastic bottles!

If you’d like Charley to come and clean for you, give us a call on 01249 479202. Our Squeeky products are available online or if you are local you can visit us in Emery Gate Shopping Centre in Chippenham.

Spring Competition

Spring is finally here after what feels like a really long winter thanks to lockdown and to celebrate we are giving away a bundle of our eco friendly garden goodies worth £48 in our Spring Competition! You’ll get:

Bamboo Rockery Fork, Bamboo Trowel, Squeeky Path and Patio Cleaner (great for all external hard flooring) Natural Latex Rubber Gloves, Compostable Bin Bags and last but not least, a bag of beebombs full of gorgeous wildflower seeds!

All you have to do to enter is:

1. Follow Squeeky Shop on Facebook or Instagram (www.facebook.com/squeekyshop or @squeekyathome)

2. Post a photo you’ve taken on the Spring Competition post, with a spring theme – it could be your garden, your favourite flower or plant, lambs frolicking or just a photo of something that makes you smile at this time of year.

3. Tag a green-fingered friend who you think might appreciate winning this as well (or one that could use some help in the garden!) and share the post.

3. That’s it! Post by midnight on the 3rd May and we will pick our favourite photo and announce the winner on the 4th!

Greenwashing

Or is it…?

‘Eco’, ‘organic’, ‘natural’, ‘carbon footprint’, ‘sustainable’, ‘green’ – these are all frequently used buzzwords to describe products or services that are good for the environment in one way or another. Perhaps they’re plastic free, made from natural ingredients or materials, or perhaps they have a zero carbon footprint and are not contributing to climate change. Or perhaps, they’re saying these things but aren’t really – otherwise known as greenwashing.

Greenwashing is defined as:

behaviour or activities that make people believe that a company is doing more to protect the environment than it really is

In other words, just because a company claims that it’s product or service is ‘green’ or ‘eco friendly’, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should take their word for it. There are many businesses out there that use the above buzzwords and we think these fall into three categories:

Six Squeeky life bottles on worktop.

1. Those companies that are genuinely ‘green’, whose products/services will stand up to scrutiny and are truly plastic free, made from sustainable materials or ingredients, don’t use any harmful chemicals and are cruelty free (mentioning no names, ahem…)

2. Those companies that are typically not known for producing eco-friendly products, or claim to be ‘green’, but have a large customer base and can afford to break into the market by launching a product or product range that does tick some of the above boxes. So the company themselves is not really an eco business but they’re using their position to try and produce alternatives. An example of this is L’Oreal, who launched a range of plastic-free shampoo bars in November 2020. They are packaged in 100% recyclable FSC certified cardboard and contain 94% plant based ingredients. According to a study of the life-cycle of the shampoo bar, their environmental impact is 25% less than a traditional liquid shampoo. Although it’s not perfect, it’s a step in the right direction.

3. Those companies that have marketed themselves as a genuinely ‘green’ company, seem to be doing all the right things, but when you get down to the nitty gritty you realise that they aren’t as committed to saving the planet as it first appeared. It’s been in the news and social media lately but we’re going to go there again – Faith In Nature.

Faith In Nature market themselves as ‘natural’, ‘organic’ and ‘ethical’ and even their very name would suggest that their products are wholly natural. Delving deeper though, one of the ingredients they use is Polysorbate 20 – this is a detergent and an emulsifier, used to help water and oil mix and is not a certified organic ingredient. A study by the Soil Association states that ‘We are not suggesting that the inclusion of any of these ingredients in the products listed means that they are not safe for use in the products where we found them. However, we do think it could be misleading to include these ingredients in products which claim to be organic, when they would not be permitted in an organically certified product.

Another concern is that they use palm oil in their products. Faith In Nature have said that they don’t directly use palm oil in their products, rather some of the ingredients they use are manufactured using palm oil as the base – to us this just sounds a little like passing the buck – and that those ingredients that are derived from palm oil are sourced from sustainable and certified palm oil plantations. Ethical Consumer have rated them in the middle for their palm oil policies so they’re not the worst of the worst – but there is no need to use palm oil or derivatives – plenty of suppliers produce shampoo and other hair and skincare products without it.

We also hear from some of the shops that supply them, that where they have previously taken back their containers to wash and reuse, they are now grinding these down to be recycled. They’re still claiming this is a ‘closed loop’ system and that by doing this they are not ‘adding any virgin plastic to the supply chain’ but we think this sounds like a cost-cutting exercise. Plastic can only be recycled a handful of times before it is no longer usable and at this point it either has to go to landfill or virgin plastic needs to be added to prolong its life – so reusing seems like the much more environmentally sound option.

What really bugs us though? They’ve made their name through supplying to small independents, who have supported their business model of refills and pushed their products, but they’re now selling to B&M who are selling their products at a fraction of the price (and refills are not available, so where are all those plastic bottles going to go?) Smaller independent shops can’t compete with those prices – we understand that wholesale works on economies of scale but when we at Squeeky Shop and other small retailers would have to sell products for £5 or £6 to make it worthwhile, it’s demoralising to see that B&M are advertising prices starting at £1.99! We aren’t against brands expanding into mainstream retailers – we’d certainly love it if one of the big supermarkets came knocking for our products – but we wouldn’t do it at the expense of those that have supported us on our journey so far.

Faith In Nature are probably still one of the better options, environmentally, if you’re purchasing from somewhere where their refill is not an option, but it just doesn’t sit well with us that they’re making a lot of claims about caring about the environment that don’t really hold up under scrutiny AND they’ve thrown the little guys under the bus.

Reduce Household Plastic Use

(Single Use) Plastic...Not Fantastic

We promised we would guide you towards a more plastic-free lifestyle by showing you where in your household you can reduce or eliminate your plastic use.

Now, there’s an ideal length that a blog should be so that it’s long enough to be useful and informative but not so long that you fall asleep before you get to the end…..and you’d be surprised at just how many everyday items contain single-use plastic that we could go on for a while (teabags, who knew eh?!) so we’ve rounded up the worst culprits so you don’t get too bored (don’t even get us started on food packaging…that’s a whole other blog post!) We’ve even broken it down by room to make it as easy as possible for you to reduce your plastic waste…. thank us later 😉

Kitchen

The Problem:
An obvious place to start maybe…everyone knows that single use plastic straws are one of the worst offenders, but did you know that more than 1.2 billion metres (745,000 miles!) of cling film is used every year by Brits – that’s enough to wrap the world around its circumference a staggering 30 times! It’s not reusable either as you can’t clean it and it loses its cling after one or two uses.

The Solution: Switch to these vegan wax wraps – they’re 100% natural, reusable and when they do come to the end of their life they can be composted!

The Problem: Ok, so you know there are many manufacturers out there that produce more eco-friendly washing up liquid that won’t harm aquatic life – but the fact is most of these still come in plastic bottles. When 90% of our recycling isn’t actually recycled, the best thing to do is ditch the plastic altogether!

The Solution: You could try this organic washing up soap bar (available in lemon or unscented) or if you prefer a traditional liquid, try our new washing up liquid which comes in a recyclable aluminium bottle – much more planet-friendly!

The Problem: In a similar vein to the above, laundry detergent not only often comes packaged in plastic bottles but many of them contain animal bi-products!

The Solution: We are quite taken by these Tru Earth Laundry Strips! They’re soluble strips that you simply chuck into your machine with your washing – they contain no nasty chemicals or plastic and they come in a small and easy to store cardboard envelope so you’re eliminating both micro-plastics and single use plastics from your laundry routine.

The Problem: As well as being non-recyclable, the lightweight nature of polythene bags means they’re a likely candidate for being blown out of landfill and potentially ending up in the ocean where they wreak havoc on wildlife.

The Solution: A popular product here at Squeeky HQ are these Cotton Produce Bags! You have your reusable bags for the rest of your shopping so why not say no to plastic for your whole shop and use these to bag up your fruit and veg? 

Cotton Produce Bags

Bathroom

The Problem: Dentists advice is to switch your toothbrush every two-three months (yeah, we forget too!) but assuming you do stick to this, that innocent looking implement in your bathroom is responsible for 600 million kilograms of plastic waste every year. They’re not recyclable due to their size; they get stuck easily in recycling machinery.

The Solution: Switch to a bamboo toothbrush and make your teeth cleaning routine planet friendly! While you’re at it…ditch those toothpaste tubes too and try something different like these toothtabs! Aside from being nasty and plastic, traditional toothpaste contains a large volume of water – so you’re paying for extra shipping and the planet is paying for extra transport emissions!

The Problem: We’ve touched on the fact that many household products come in plastic bottles – globally we consume more than one million bottles per minute and in the UK alone we use on average 216 hair care bottles per household per year.

The Solution: There’s no longer a need to buy shampoo in plastic bottles, there are many fabulous hair care products now available in soap bar form! These come in a few lovely flavours and you can also shower and shave with them!

The Problem: Another shedder of micro-plastics is that innocently named ‘shower lily’ – the poofy thing you squeeze your soap onto to make it really lather up? It’s not just the plastics with this one – they’re also the perfect breeding ground for bacteria so unless you buy a new one regularly you’re probably not as clean as you think you are! 

The Solution: If you don’t have the time, inclination (or the green fingers!) required to grow your own loofah (yep, that’s a thing!) why not ditch that plastic puff and treat yourself to one of these gorgeous ramie bath puffs instead? It’s 100% compostable once it reaches the end of its life, and it can be machine washed to keep it bacteria-free.

The Problem: Who else sometimes uses wet wipes as part of their beauty routine (don’t be shy, you can admit it!) Those harmless looking wipes that you assume are no more damaging than tissues are actually a disaster waiting to happen if not disposed of correctly. They’re made of polyester and polypropylene (fancy words for plastic!) so they don’t degrade like tissues. 48% of us in the UK admit to flushing them down the toilet and this, among other things, leads to the build-up of delightfully-named ‘fatbergs’ which stop our sewers from working as effectively as they should and costing us millions in clear up operations every year. (If you’re as intrigued as we were to see what these ‘bergs’ look like you can read more here! Just don’t click this link if you’ve recently eaten….

The Solution: Make the switch to these organic, washable makeup pads  instead – they come in a handy little bag to keep them all together in your washing machine and can be used time and time again. 

Rest of Home

You can say no to plastic in other areas of your home too – in the garden, switch from plastic pegs that become brittle in the sun to these gorgeous stainless-steel ones. 

Micro-fibres are a big contributor to the plastic problem and they can be found throughout the home – these coconut cloths are a great alternative to traditional cleaning cloths. All of the scrubbing power, none of the plastic. 

There’s even no reason for your four-legged friends to miss out – now, even your pets can be in on the planet-saving action! From compostable poop bags to bamboo food bowls, reduce their eco pawprint with these goodies!


We hope that’s helped to give you some ideas on how you can make your home a plastic-free haven. We could go on, but we know it can be overwhelming to know where to start – as we always say, saving the planet doesn’t need a few people doing zero-waste perfectly, it needs millions of people doing it imperfectly.

zero waste quote on chalkboard

Sources:

https://www.thenewecologist.com/2019/01/researchers-in-the-uk-create-edible-food-packaging/

Unblocktober.org 

Plastic – prevention is better than cure

A revolution when it was first invented, plastic was sold as a cheap solution to using up natural resources – now,  plastic waste is destroying the very nature it was designed to protect.
 
What’s the issue?
The strength and durability of plastic is now working against us; every single piece of plastic ever made is still in existence, taking anywhere from 20 to 500 years or more to decompose, and thanks to today’s throwaway culture, 40% of plastic produced is single use. This means that that straw that you use for half an hour, or that plastic carrier bag you use for five minutes, is going to be around a lot longer than you are. And an estimated 8 million tonnes of this plastic ends up in the ocean.
 
But why does this matter?
It’s then inevitably ingested by marine life; according to Greenpeace.org, ‘up to 9 out of 10 seabirds, 1 in 3 sea turtles and more than half of whale and dolphin species have ingested plastic.’ If they’re not ingesting it – they’re getting tangled in it – it’s estimated by the Worldwide Fund For Nature that 100,000 marine creatures die as a result of plastic pollution each year.

 

On land it’s a similar story, with animals such as cows, deer, raccoon, land birds and even elephants found to have died as a result of plastic blockages in their stomachs or from suffocation. Plastic can also adversley affect human health too – it breaks down into tiny particles called microplastics which contaminate our soil and enter our waterways. A study by The University of Newcastle estimates that we may be consuming as much as 5 grams per week each of microplastics – that’s the weight of a credit card!
 
But wait, I recycle my plastic – is this not working
In a nutshell, no. Of the 8.3 billion tonnes that have been produced, only about 9% has actually been recycled and 12% incinerated; the other 79% is either in landfill or in the environment.
 
What else is being done?
Companies across the globe are coming up with alternative uses for our plastic waste.
 
In Kawasaki, Japan, technology companies have put their heads together to try and solve the area’s plastic pollution problems. This resulted in the world’s first ‘Hydrogen Hotel’ being opened in 2018. 195 tonnes of waste plastics are recycled per day, turned into hydrogen (we’re simplifying a complex process here!) which in turn is converted to heat and power to provide 30% of the hotel’s energy needs.  They even use waste from the hotel itself such as toothbrushes and haircombs to convert to hydrogen – a process which produces no CO2 pollution, further bolstering the initiative’s environmental credentials.
 
This could be implemented in other projects and other locations across the world; with it becoming more difficult for countries to export their plastic waste (and quite rightly so) countries will need to find solutions to the increasing plastic problem.
Developing countries are among the most affected by plastic pollution – they want and need products such as food, medical supplies and other items that come with plastic packaging, but they don’t have the technology available to dispose of the waste which means that it is either buried or burned, both of which have environmental implications of their own. 
 
In Indonesia, the University of North Sumatra has developed a plastic and sawdust composite, which locks plastic into a stable form and stops it leaching into soil or blowing away – some of the hazards of landfill. Like in Kawasaki, using plastic waste to create these ‘safe sinks’, as they are known, could be a local solution to a local problem. Further testing is needed to determine whether it is safe enough – flammability could be an issue for example, and it is potentially still susceptible to termites, but these plastic and natural material composites could be used as a sustainable building product for constructing new homes, fencing, a replacement for plastic decking etc – the possibilities are endless. 
 
What’s the end game?
So, whilst there are some great initiatives around the globe to come up with methods of reusing our plastic in a way that causes no further harm to the environment, the fact of the matter is that the only real way to end this problem is to stop using plastic altogether. More needs to be done to lobby against the giant corporations that produce this plastic; we’ve all been brainwashed into thinking that the plastic problem is down to the consumer but we’re just buying what’s readily available and convenient!
 
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t all do our bit though; one of my favourite quotes is ‘zero waste doesn’t need a few people doing it perfectly, it needs millions of people doing it imperfectly’…instead of feeling like you won’t make a difference, every time you make a plastic-free choice, imagine that a million others are doing the same.

 

You’re probably already familiar with our brilliant range of organic, vegan and plastic-free cleaning products, but stay tuned for our next blog which will help you do a  ‘plastic audit’ on your home!
 

Small Changes = Big Impact.

 

 

Sources
https://www.sciencehistory.org/the-history-and-future-of-plastics

https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/key-facts-about-plastic-pollution/

https://www.wwf.org.au/news/blogs/plastic-in-our-oceans-is-killing-marine-mammals

https://www.toshiba-clip.com/en/detail/8409

https://www.keele.ac.uk/discover/news/2020/september/plastics-research/biodegradable-materials-pollution.php