Why Disinfectants Used in Hospital Housekeeping Aren't "Green"
It is often said that you cannot "go green" in a hospital because of the amount of disinfectants that are used. In the “green” world, disinfectants are not given that label because they kill organisms and bacteria and they do not differentiate between good and bad bacteria.
In my former life, I sold chemicals. I prided myself on the ability to explain a chemical technically and describe the theory about why it was made to do the job it was marketed it to do. (This is my nerd speech.)
My first job was for a chemical manufacturer and I spent ten years learning how to manufacture, provide quality control, and develop the process in which the chemicals were made. When I began to sell and consult with sales on how to best position products, I provided added value because of my knowledge of their chemical makeup.
The people who choose what products qualify as “green” products, are people like me. Nerds in the chemistry world. “Green” has now become a marketing tool for chemical companies to sell their products to a market with a desire to decrease their carbon footprint. The industry, in some ways, has taken advantage of a desire to be environmentally friendly.
Don’t let the so called “experts” tell you that disinfectants aren’t green, and here is why:
- Disinfectants kill harmful bacteria that cause infections and illness in human beings
- Disinfectants kill bacteria that can reduce indoor air quality
- Disinfectants kill bacteria that create bad odors
So let’s think about what is “green.” At OctoClean, we believe in using the term “cleaning for health”. Cleaning for health means healthy people and a healthy environment.
Disinfectants will not receive a “green seal” because they are intended to “kill” organisms and bacteria. This is not considered “eco-friendly” even when disinfectants are killing harmful organisms and bacteria that can lead to poor health. Before disinfectants are wrongly vilified, it’s important to consider how harmful bacteria can be to people, in hospitals for example, who generally have weakened immune systems. While many individuals can fight off a small exposure to harmful bacteria, individuals with already weakened immune systems cannot.
Disinfectants may never get the glorious distinction of a “green seal,” but they are very much an important part of cleaning for a healthy environment. It might be sometime before we see “smart disinfectants” that can distinguish between good and bad bacteria. Until then, the use of disinfectants improves and protects the quality of human life.
When you are deciding what chemicals to choose for your building, remember that just because disinfectants don’t have the “green seal,” they are an important part of cleaning for health.