Why are environmental cleanup products so environmentally unfriendly?

Accidents happen. I spilled my coffee yesterday morning, all over the countertop and down the sides. I reached for the paper towel without a second thought: it was right there, and I knew it would do a reasonable job. I was onto my third piece when I realized I should have picked up a cloth instead. These days, we all know disposable paper towels are not a responsible choice. They’re not even as absorbent as cloths. Yet, for me, it’s a habit born out of convenience, and I think there’s a similar problem going on in our industries.

The key objectives of cleaning up industrial spills are safety and responsibility – so why do businesses rely on potentially hazardous and non-sustainable spill remediation solutions? Take clay-based products, for example: they end up in landfill and they can release dust containing silica, which is an inhalation hazard for humans. Synthetic products, on the other hand, might be engineered to cut down on nuisance dust, but they’re made from non-renewable sources.

Familiarity is, of course, a big factor in choosing a cleanup product for spills. But just because you’ve always done things one way, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a better one (Exhibit A: my coffee mishap). When it comes to spill remediation, I think there’s definitely a better way of doing things. And that starts with an organic, natural product.

Industries and businesses are realizing that cleaning up spills with non-renewable synthetic products rather defeats the point, and they’re starting to look more closely at natural organic solutions for spill remediation as alternatives to both clay and synthetics. Many natural organic solutions are non-toxic, sustainable, and biodegradable. One material generating particular interest at the moment is flax shives. These are the woody splinters left over after the fibers used in specialty papers have been extracted from renewable flax straw – and they happen to be ultra-absorbent.

A new product for an old problem

Using flax shives for spill cleanup makes a lot of sense, which is why BioLoxx™ by Filtrexx is so interesting. It’s 100% natural, made from a sustainable resource that would otherwise go to waste: farmers often burn flax straw as an unwanted byproduct of flax seed production. By buying the straw from farmers and making useful products from it, we support the circular economy and cut their CO2 emissions along the way.


The sustainability benefits don’t end there. Because it’s much more absorbent than other options, the same BioLoxx™ can often be used for more than one spill – so it’s like choosing a cloth over a paper towel! What’s more, when it does need to be disposed of, it doesn’t have to be sent to landfill: instead, it can be incinerated (per local, state, and federal regulations), eliminating future environmental liability.

As well as bringing environmental advantages, BioLoxx™ improves worker safety. It resists ignition prior to use, which can be a problem with other natural organic products, and, unlike some clay options, flax shives don’t generate potentially hazardous dust. Moreover, flax shives weigh much less than clay, cutting down on labor and reducing injuries for workers.

For me, it all boils down to one question: why use more of a non-renewable product when you can use less of a renewable one? Whichever way you look at it, the choice seems clear. So, it’s time to break the habits of a lifetime: after all, there’s nothing to lose – and plenty to gain!

Want to know more about our BioLoxx™ product line? Comment below or learn more about BioLoxx here.

Dennis Dickey is a Business Development Manager at SWM International, with global experience in sales, marketing, corporate and product development, placement, packaging, image, and profitability. He believes that as the environment changes and better products become available it is essential to look at a better way to operate. Dennis is passionate about the sustainable products from SWM and Filtrexx that help their clients save money while also being green.


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