Did You Know…?
The average sink has a flow rate of 2.2 gallons per minute. A factory or manufacturing worker will wash their hands an average of 1,153 times every year, or roughly 4-5 times per day. Each time a worker washes his or her hands, he or she is using roughly 3-4 gallons of water per wash. That is equivalent to approximately 3,459 gallons of water per year, per worker.
There are approximately 26 million industrial workers in North America. (BLS Census and StatsCan)
According to the updated 2009 Industrial Water Use Survey by StatsCan, approximately 75% of water used in heavy industry (including petroleum and coal, manufacturing, processing, etc) is discharged into surface water, and up to 38% of the total volume is discharged without receiving even primary treatment.
Why Does It Matter?
If 26 million industrial workers each use approximately 3,400 gallons of water to wash their hands, that means that about 90 billion gallons of water are used solely for hand washing in industrial North America. A little over one quarter of that is returned to surface water bodies with no treatment. That’s equivalent to:
- The amount of water flowing over Niagara Falls for almost 5 hours straight, or
- The amount of water flowing through the Mississippi River near New Orleans for 80 hours straight, or
- The amount of water in approximately 92,000 SeaWorld-sized aquariums
Now imagine that all of that water is filled with the harsh solvents, sands, pumice, industrial skin contaminants, grease, and oil that are washed down the drain every time a worker washes his or her hands with a traditional industrial hand cleaner.
That is an extreme example. No one fills up aquariums with industrial water run-off.
But the overall effect can be immense. One change we can make that would actually make a tangible difference is switching to cleaning products that are biodegradable and environmentally-certified by third-party organizations. These products are designed to significantly reduce or eliminate the environmental impact not just of the cleaners themselves, but of the contaminants you are using them for.
Yes, WORX All-Natural Hand Cleaner fits that requirement. To be honest, we’re one of a handful of certified hand cleaners under the internationally-respected industrial standards.
Don’t just take our word for it. Visit the environmental-certification bodies – we are certified by EcoLogo and Green Seal, for example – to see what your options are. Make sure you’re comfortable that the standards are in line with your environmental policies and initiatives before making a decision. Speak with your suppliers to determine who has the best options to suit your needs. Consider all potential cleaning products when looking into biodegradability and environmental responsibility.
Just one small change – like a hand cleaner, used approximately 1,100 times per year per employee – can make an excellent start in reducing water impact in industry.