Today many yacht owners, management and crews are seeking to reduce the pollutant effect of their vessels in order to help preserve the environment in which they operate. They know, unless that environment is protected their industry would become commercially unviable.
There are many marine cleaning brands on the market claiming to be “eco friendly” but few truly are and they generally consist of the same harsh chemicals, diluted to validate their claim but they don’t produce the desired results in comparison to their harsher chemical cousins and so confidence in all “eco” products is effected.
However Ecoworks Marine, Preserve the Living Seas ® range of 14 yacht and marine cleaning products are the exception. They offer a full range of interior, exterior and engineering liquid cleaners that have been carefully bio chemically formulated to ensure that their performance is as effective and in many instances better than the harsher, standard boat cleaning products. Ecoworks have replaced the undesirable chemicals with naturally derived ingredients more favourable to the marine environment that are safer, non-hazardous and have non-irritant profiles.
In traditional chemical cleaners there are a number of ingredients that are potentially harmful to human health, the environment and the surfaces on which they have been targeted to work. They generally clean by burning the dirt off using very high or very low pH acidic or alkaline solutions that over time gradually degrade the surface.
Ecoworks Marine ethos is to use simple natural ingredients that perform well and do not harm or degrade the surface on which they are used. Through careful selection of appropriate raw materials, based on their individual criteria, it allows them to satisfy all goals in terms of performance, price and a lower environmental footprint.
The most important point is to select only eco-friendly ingredients from the outset, in terms of hazard profile and aquatic toxicity. They replace undesirable ingredients wherever possible with eco-solvents, plant and fermentation extracts, naturally derived sustainable surfactants (soaps) and naturally occurring non-hazardous bacteria and enzymes. This ensures cleaning products that are not only less hazardous to the environment but safer for the end user as well.
The introduction of the Detergent Regulations (EC) No 648/2004 and MARPOL Annex 5 (International Maritime Organisation’s regulation pollution benchmark) has ensured that surfactants pass a more stringent “ultimate” biodegradability test. Special industrial or institutional surfactants that do not fulfil the criterion of ultimate biodegradability within the given time period, must pass the test for “primary” biodegradability (>80% within the given period). However, this accounts for a very small proportion of surfactants that are used in more specialist applications. Thus, claiming a product is “eco-friendly” or “green” on account of its biodegradability is somewhat misleading, as essentially all surfactants used in detergent formulations should satisfy the biodegradability criteria as laid down in the Detergent Regulations. Biodegradability is thus a standard requirement and not a standalone property which makes a product environmentally or eco-friendly.
Many of the 14 Ecoworks products contain bacteria and/or free enzymes. Some manufacturers claim that a product is eco-friendly if it has been formulated with just microbes and enzyme. Whilst there is most definitely a place for biotechnology in cleaning products, this on its own does not make a product eco-friendly. Consideration has to be given to every ingredient in a formulation.
Scott Johnston, CEO of Ecoworks Marine, stated, “many products on the market that contain bacteria have unsuitable enzyme abilities for the job they are designed to do, or contain very low numbers of bacteria. However, Ecoworks Marine carry out extensive testing on a panel of bacterial strains to ensure they are ideally suited to each task and product type. Each product contains a laboratory quality controlled bacterial specification which is considered appropriate for each application. Our bacteria and enzymes work in synergy with the cleaning components to truly optimise cleaning performance and odour control”.
At Ecoworks Marine, bacteria used in products that come into contact with food areas, have been extensively tested so that they do not produce enteric or emetic toxins, hence they can be used in complete safety in the galley. However in the range there is also a spray sanitiser to use to sterilise such food preparation surfaces.
The full range consists of four exterior products ranging from from boat wash to a teak deck cleaner. There are seven interior products including, an all surface cleaner through to laundry and a galley sanitiser. Also three specific products for the engine room and bilge including, a grey water tank additive and waste pipe cleaner.
Teneale Stead, Chief Stewardess of MY Chiqui says, “Converting the boat to become eco friendly has been easier than I imagined. With the ‘Preserve The Living Seas’ range it’s easy, they clean brilliantly, smell lovely and are MARPOL compliant, what more could you ask for! Their range caters for the whole boat making it very convenient to order, not to mention a great value for money!”
In summary, using sustainable ingredients wherever possible demonstrates Ecoworks Marine’s environmental commitment. It makes sense to select ingredients that perform well, without the necessity of harmful components and to use only naturally occurring bacteria and enzymes. The use of surfactant blends and ingredients that are more environmentally favourable in terms of aquatic toxicity, sustainability and biodegradability is the philosophy Ecoworks Marine operates by to formulate their products and also uses in all their operations.