(PRWEB) March 22, 2012
While some Nebraskans may be aware that bio-based household cleaning products are on the market, few probably know that a Nebraska company is a leading manufacturer of these environmentally friendly products.
In fact, Don Eby’s The Clean Environment Company, of Omaha, was one of the first to pioneer the development and production of these “green” products in the early 1990s, primarily based on soy derivatives. Since then, they have become one of the leading suppliers of bio-based cleaning products to over 50 national and state parks, including Yellowstone and Yosemite, as well as many state parks and resorts across the country.
Cleaning products traditionally have been manufactured with the use of chemicals and petroleum derivatives, which raise concerns about their undesirable side effects. The use of chemicals in traditional cleaning products can be potentially harmful, especially in areas where food is prepared. The use of petroleum derivatives in traditional products also increases our ever-growing dependency on foreign oil. However, the incorporation of bio-based products offers proven, immediate solutions to both issues.
The USDA defines bio-based products as being composed in whole or in significant part of biological ingredients, including renewable domestic agricultural materials.
By the early 1990s, a need for cleaning products that were healthier for the environment was emerging. Eby recognized this opportunity and jumped on it.
Eby founded his company in Lincoln in 1992 after he sold his interests in another Lincoln business. “I wanted to start a business of my own and was looking around for a good opportunity. A friend of mine told me about Greg Weiner, a chemist in Missouri who was doing exciting work in the development of healthier, more user-friendly cleaning products. I liked what he was doing, so I invited him to join my business venture.” Eby moved the company to Omaha in 2004.
“We were one of the first companies in the nation to get into the bio-based cleaning products field. Things really took off for us in 1995, when the City of Santa Monica, California, mandated the use of ‘green’ products in their municipal facilities. After testing the products of several companies, ours proved the best available and they contracted with us.”
Soon after Santa Monica’s move to bio-based cleaners, Yellowstone National Park became the first federal agency to test and implement green products.
In the early 1990s, Yellowstone had launched an initiative called the “Greening of Yellowstone,” to address the park’s commitment to preserve and protect Yellowstone for future generations.
“Our first step was to inventory and categorize all cleaning and janitorial products used to maintain park facilities,” says Jim Evanoff, Yellowstone’s environmental protection specialist. “We were alarmed at the toxicity levels of the cleaning products we were using, so we developed strict, new criteria for all future product purchases that would help us meet our green procurement goals.”
Yellowstone began implementing bio-based products at that time, including those from The Clean Environment Company. “As the world’s first National Park and the flagship of the National Park Service, Yellowstone always strives to do the right thing for the environment and help set standards for the other parks,” Evanoff says. “As a result, over 40 other national parks now use bio-based cleaning products.”
In addition to the national and state parks across the country, Eby’s company supplies products to the City of Seattle, the City of San Francisco, the State of Colorado and many other city and state agencies around the country. They also supply products to such federal government agencies as the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration.
Currently, about 20 percent of the company’s business is with national parks, which use his products for cleaning offices, visitor centers and restrooms. In Yellowstone, for example, some areas are disinfected up to four times a day.
“We also provide these products to hotels, lodges, concession stands and other facilities in the parks,” Eby says, “and we are getting into relationships with some national hotel chains to provide them with our products, as well.”
These cleaning products have played a big role in helping Yellowstone achieve success in its environmental programs by moving away from corrosives, aerosols and petroleum- based products.
“We’ve achieved zero toxicity in the cleaning products we use,” Evanoff says, “and I’ve seen heightened morale among our janitorial staff, because they can be confident the products they use are safe. And we’re also sending the message to the over three million annual visitors that environmentally friendly products should be used wherever possible.”
Eby says his company’s cleaner formulas replace harsh chemicals and petroleum derivatives with components made from sustainable resources, such as soybeans and others, including cotton, corn, coconuts and oranges. About half of The Clean Environment Company’s products contain soy derivatives.
Currently, The Clean Environment Company makes cleaning products under “The Natural” brand in many different categories, including: all-purpose cleaners; laundry detergents; natural solvent cleaners; hand and dish washing detergents; basic tub and tile cleaners; heavy-duty degreasers for industrial use; shampoos (both human and pet); wood conditioners; oven cleaners; super-citrus all-purpose cleaners; car washes; and carpet extraction cleaners.
The company has worked hard to be an environmental steward. “We practice good environmental standards in our manufacturing process, including the use of recyclable materials in all of our containers,” Eby says.
There’s a lot of room for growth in this business, Eby says. “Use of ‘green’ products tends to be most concentrated on the East and West coasts, where dense populations make the use of hazardous materials all the more prominent.”
In addition to cleaning products made by The Clean Environment Company, soy derivatives are being used increasingly in diverse areas such as auto care, building products, candles, fuels and paint strippers, furniture, and many more.
Not only is the use of bio-based materials in products as common as household cleaners environmentally friendly, but it also diminishes U.S. dependence on foreign oil. According to the Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB), if every household in the U.S. replaced a single box of 48 oz. powered laundry detergent with a bioproduct alternative, Americans would save 96,000 barrels of oil per year – enough to heat and cool well over 5,000 homes.
“These soy-based products can replace petroleum-based materials with environmentally-friendly products and resources,” says NSB Executive Director, Victor Bohuslavsky. “It’s better for the environment and better for Nebraska because Nebraska- grown soybeans can be used to produce these alternative products. In turn, this strengthens Nebraska’s farm economy.”
Soybeans are important to Nebraska. Nebraska farmers harvested over five million acres of soybeans in 2010—a $3 billion market. While most soybeans are used for livestock feed, the market continues to grow for soy-based bioproducts, like The Clean Environment Company’s cleaning products.
That’s good news for the Nebraska economy and our environment.
For more information about such bio-based products as household and commercial cleaners and other alternative products, visit nebraskasoybeans.org
Contact: Drew Guiney