Nordic Update: Focus on Sustainable Cleaning During Innovation Day in Helsinki

Categories: EMEA

By Petri Rekola | November 11, 2019 << Back to Articles

The very first cleaning industry innovation day in Helsinki, Finland, was held on September 18 (Puhtausalan innovaatiopäivä), organised by SSTL – the Finnish Association of Cleaning Technology. The topics for the day were the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, small battery machines, cleaning chemicals, and new manual tools.

The main event was a panel discussion about the sustainability-focused topic “cleaning without chemicals”. The guest speaker was highly respected cleaning industry researcher Tuula Suontamo PhD. This is a very hot topic here in the Nordic region and, as it is still very new, it divides many peoples’ opinions.

From a global perspective, Nordic countries have been on the frontlines in regard to cleaning innovations with new innovative products, methods, or cleaning chemicals coming out of our region. Thus, this innovation day has attracted a wide audience of cleaning industry professionals and proven to be a huge success.

Yet, there was still a lot of confusion among the participants, as the actual changes in cleaning procedures were not discussed by the panel. Instead, the discussion was mainly focused around test results and did not go deep enough into fully non-chemical cleaning processes.

Some comments from the audience highlighted the importance of the laundering process of mops or cloths—you need clean cleaning equipment to get clean results. Also, it is not possible to change to chemical-free cleaning if mops, cloths, and other products have already been used in combination with chemicals as those cannot be fully removed during laundry. Thus, many questions about the switch to chemical-free cleaning abound, while few facts exist.

The conclusion of the very first innovation day was that we still need chemicals but not in the vast amounts and places in which they are used today. This is because we can more easily combine smaller, battery-operated machines to be part of manual cleaning today, creating more effective cleaning procedures in the process.

More information about more sustainable cleaning processes, including chemical-free options, is still needed but this innovation day was a good start.      

About the Author.

Petri Rekola is a member of the ISSA European Council representing the Nordic region.