You know those one-use mop options now on the market – the ones that let you clean the floor and throw away the evidence? Sure, they may be extremely convenient, but they could be costing you a lot more in cleaning costs than you might think, and they’re certainly not healthy for the planet. Let’s discuss why you should consider getting a more eco-friendly mop, features to look for, and what products currently exist on the market.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
The environmental impact of regular mops
Here are a few reasons why conventional mops are bad for the environment:
- Plastic consumption: Most conventional mop handles are made from plastic, and producing them requires non-renewable resources and adds to carbon emissions. Plus, once plastic mop handles get replaced (which happens as often as once per month, according to some estimates), they often end up in landfills or the ocean. Getting rid of plastics through landfills is unsustainable and causes further damage to our planet.
- Deforestation: Most disposable mop products are made of paper fibers, which means you require the cutting of natural forests to support your cleaning habits. Forests have tremendous value to our ecosystems as they make oxygen, filter the air, regulate climate, protect soil, provide habitat for more than 90% of all land-dwelling species, and more.
- Toxic chemicals: Turning trees into disposable paper cleaning products is not easy. In fact, it takes a lot of toxic chemicals like methanol, chlorine dioxide, formaldehyde, and toluene to process wood pulp into paper products and the process results in vast quantities of carbon emissions. Plus, if it’s whitened paper, the process also requires the use of more chemicals such as hydrochloric acid (bleach). These chemicals are then flushed into our waterways, mixing with organic compounds and forming dioxins.
Features that make a mop eco-friendly
Search for these characteristics when shopping for an environmentally friendly mop:
- Microfiber or cotton pads: Microfiber padded mops are popping up all over the place and are excellent options for their ability to pick up fine particles and disinfect in the process (they’re even approved for use in hospitals by the EPA). Plus, they are washable, durable, and cheap. Cotton mop pads, on the other hand, have high absorbency and can be just as sustainable if grown organically or regeneratively.
- Eco-friendly mop handle: Ensure that the handle of your mop is made from eco-friendly, sustainable materials like bamboo, FSC-certified wood, or recycled plastic, all of which should also be recyclable. Spend a little more and choose durable materials that will last a long time so that you don’t have to replace your mop every year.
- Separable mop head and handle: Be sure that the mop head can be separated from the mop handle so that if one or the other breaks, you can recycle the offending piece but continue using the one that still works.
- Reusable and washable: Choose mop pads that can be machine-washed and reused as this can reduce the environmental impact compared to disposable mop heads. While washing also uses energy and resources, as long as you’re not running a full machine wash cycle for a single microfiber pad, it’s overall still a more eco-friendly approach compared to the disposable alternatives.
- Clear environmental policy: What’s the point of buying a recycled plastic mop if it’s produced by a company with a poor environmental record? Companies truly committed to sustainable business practices use renewable energy in production, limit waste, and take steps to reduce their carbon emissions. Always look for trusted eco-certifications such as Certified B-Corp.
- Eco-friendly packaging and shipping: Give priority to companies that use recycled or biodegradable packaging for their mops and that utilize carbon-neutral shipping methods. Once again, keep an eye out for certifications such as Certified B-Corp or the EU’s Ecolabel. Locality is also important here as many of the benefits of eco-friendly mops are lost if they have to be shipped from across the world on container ships that burn dirty bunker fuel.
Eco-friendly mops we recommend
Mighty Mop (Full Circle Home)
The first mop that ticks all the boxes highlighted above is the Mighty Mop from Full Circle Home. It has a washable and replaceable microfiber mop head, a bamboo handle, and a mop head attachment made from recycled plastic. And, the company is also a certified B-Corp, which is one, if not the meaningful certifications when it comes to the sustainability efforts of companies.
Price: $29.99 (Full Circle Home)
Superior Mop (Norwex)
The Superior Mop is a bit more fancy-schmancy than the preceding mop, with its’ telescopic, adjustable handle. But, what’s important is that it uses microfiber pads made from 50%+ recycled materials, and Norwex, the Norwegian company behind the product, takes their their sustainability efforts seriously.
Price: $120.99 (Norwex)
Open-End Cotton Mop (Filmop)
Filmop is an Italian company with a strong line-up of durable, high-quality cleaning products. Designed for professional EVS technicians and janitors, their EU Ecolabel-certified regenerative cotton mops are one of the best eco-friendly mops out there. If you’re leaning towards a more traditional cotton mop but want to stay eco-friendly, this might be the mop you’re looking for.
Price: Check (Filmop)