Defining Sustainable Sanitation Products

There’s a lot of talk these days about the importance of using “sustainable” or “green” sanitation products for food processing. While sustainability is important, we’ve found that efficacy and cost are still the key considerations when selecting sanitation products. Products have to effectively clean and sanitize the processing environment in the most cost effective manner possible. Of course sustainable or environmental issues do play a role, mainly in the form of outside regulatory guidelines such as those related to wastewater.

One question that often arises is “what is a green or environmentally friendly cleaning or sanitation product?” We define this as a product that breaks down readily during the wastewater treatment process or one that leaves no toxic residues in the environment.

This would include products that are free from environmentally harmful components such as 2-butoxy ethanol or nonylphenol ethoxylates. Environmentally friendly sanitizers include peroxyacetic acid (PAA).

Birko’s product range is 100% free of 2-butoxy ethanol and diethanolamine (DEA) –– both potential carcinogens. We have also eliminated nonylphenol ethoxylates from all products since these reportedly function as estrogen analogs in the environment and have caused gender ambiguity in fish and aquatic amphibians.

We also offer a range of sodium free sanitation and process chemicals for customers who need to eliminate or reduce salt in their wastewater. Birko’s products are shipped as a concentrated formula to minimize shipping volume. Many of our larger customers use Birko’s blend-on site formulation and dispensing systems, which further reduces the volume of product that has to be shipped.

Elis Owens, Ph.D., Director, Technical Services, Birko, can be reached at [email protected], 303-289-1090.