Improving the environmental sustainability of a cleaning process needs consideration of all the important impacts across the life cycle, 不仅仅是耗材和设备, 而是整个过程的运作.
资源如材料, energy and water are used at many different stages of the “life cycle” of the cleaning process. 废物和排放可以在不同的地方产生, for example from disposables and packaging as solid waste or spent cleaning solutions disposed of to drain.
Improving sustainability means finding ways of making an overall improvement across this whole life cycle. 例如, devising a cleaning product that took less energy to manufacture would make no sense if it needed twice as much to transport and use.
与人们的预期相反, most environmental impacts of cleaning processes arise or are determined ultimately when the product is used. This is where most energy is used and where product use is controlled. The user thus has a crucial role in minimizing environmental impact, but improving the sustainability of cleaning is ultimately a team game in which everyone in the design, 供应链和使用链起着至关重要的作用.
Significant impacts across the cleaning life cycle can be evaluated using “life cycle analysis” (LCA). LCA studies build up highly detailed inventories of all the impacts, and can be used to compare alternative technologies and approaches. 点击这里 作为这种比较的一个例子.
对产品进行改进时, processes and equipment it’s often impractical to keep repeating such analyses in detail. 但一旦了解了主要的影响, ways can frequently be found of reducing certain impacts without significantly increasing others, 所以有一个明显的净改善.
一般, the most important environmental impacts of a modern cleaning process relate to the consumption of the following resources:
- 能源 to heat water or power machines during the cleaning process as well as to manufacture and transport consumables such as cleaning products and tools
- 水, for cleaning and rinsing and also for manufacture of consumables
- 原材料 to make consumables – ingredients and materials for cleaning products and tools, 以及他们的包装
The generation of waste and emissions can be an important impact at various points in the life cycle. Waste that goes to landfill can be a major environmental impact, and efforts are made to reduce or eliminate this by minimizing waste generation and by recycling. The most significant emission is generally carbon dioxide (CO2) to air which impacts on climate change, though most CO2 is a by-product of energy generation and is automatically reduced when energy use is minimized.
When manufacture and use operations are properly managed, 正确设计产品和工艺, there should be no significant impact from emissions of materials to water from the manufacturing plant, 或用于排放成品. Even though most substances are hazardous (toxic to aquatic life for example), there will be no harmful effect provided the quantities emitted do not lead to unsafe levels in the water. This is routinely assured by proper environmental management in production facilities, 良好的产品和工艺设计, and by correct use and disposal according to instructions by the user.
Although most cleaning processes give rise to the same list of impacts, the importance of each varies widely from process to process.
The dominant impact in mechanical ware-washing for example is energy use during the cleaning process to heat water and run machinery. 手工构建清洁, 与此形成鲜明对比的是, is less energy-intensive and raw materials for products and packaging can be major impacts, though the latter can be minimized by using concentrated products and appropriate dosing equipment.