5 October 2015
A.I.S.E., the International Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance Products, launched the ‘A.I.S.E. Charter for Sustainable Cleaning’ in Europe in 2005 to promote sustainability in the cleaning and maintenance products industry. This Charter is a proactive programme for translating the concept of sustainable innovation into reality and actions. Per product category, life cycle assessments (LCA) are used to set sustainability criteria that are ambitious, but also achievable by all market players.
This paper presents and discusses LCAs of six household detergent product categories conducted for the Charter, i.e.: manual dishwashing detergents, powder and tablet laundry detergents, window glass trigger spray cleaners, bathroom trigger spray cleaners, acid toilet cleaners, and bleach toilet cleaners. Relevant impact categories are identified, as well as the life cycle stages with the largest contribution to the environmental impact.
It was concluded that the variables that mainly drive the results (i.e. the environmental hotspots) for manual dishwashing detergents and laundry detergents were the water temperature, water consumption (for manual dishwashing detergents), product dosage (for laundry detergents), and the choice and amount of surfactant. By contrast, for bathroom trigger sprays, acid and bleach toilet cleaners, the driving factors were plastic packaging, transportation to retailer, and specific ingredients. Additionally, the type of surfactant was important for bleach toilet cleaners. For window glass trigger sprays, the driving factors were the plastic packaging and the type of surfactant, and the other ingredients were of less importance. A.I.S.E. used the results of the studies to establish sustainability criteria, the so-called ‘Charter Advanced Sustainability Profiles’, which led to improvements in the marketplace.