Going green with cleaning products

100 percent biodegradable

Sponge wipes from Vileda and Wettex are designed to break up after use without any residue. The manufacturing process is based on sustainable principles.

A responsible lifestyle to protect our natural world and achieve international environmental goals is just as vital as innovative technologies and products. All over the globe, consumer awareness is increasing. Today, more and more people try to reduce waste at home and buy environmentally friendly products, such as cleaning aids.

Only water-based paints are used in production.

Freudenberg has represented innovation and quality in household cleaning products ever since the first window cloth was produced in 1948. All the products are continuously improved, particularly when it comes to sustainability. One example: Freudenberg sells 200 million sponge wipes of the Vileda and Wettex brands each year, all of which are 100 percent biodegradable.  When the sponge wipes are used up, they can simply be thrown on the compost heap in the backyard. They will break down completely within eight to eleven weeks, as they are made from cellulose and cotton.

Until then, they can be washed many times at 60 degrees in the washing machine and reused without losing their high absorbency. One sponge wipe alone can replace up to 15 kitchen rolls. “Our customers give us very positive feedback on the durability of the wipes. Our products therefore also contribute to environmental protection, especially compared to single use alternatives,” says Steffi Reuther, Director Regional Marketing for sponge wipes at the Freudenberg Home and Cleaning Solutions Business Group.

Freudenberg sells 200 million biodegradable sponge wipes per year.

Sustainable raw materials

As early as the product development stage, Freudenberg’s experts contribute their material and manufacturing process knowhow. “We constantly strive to improve the sustainability of our products, from the raw material procurement to the disposal,” says Reuther. For example, the cellulose that makes the cloths absorbent is made of wood from responsibly managed forests just a few hundred kilometers from the production site in Norrköping, Sweden. “Only vehicles with bio-fuel from renewable sources are used for transportation,” says site manager Eva Lindell. This also applies to the forklift trucks and other vehicles at the site. The cotton making the fabric stable and resistant, is made from recycled spun waste. And only water-based paints are used in the production of the sponge cloths.

Recycled materials are used for packaging.

CO2 reduced

Over the past five years, Freudenberg has reduced its annual CO2 footprint at the site from over 17,000 tons to some 600 tons. A switch to electrical energy generated entirely from water, wind and solar power has helped. New roof insulation reduces the necessary district heating in the maintenance hall. LPG liquid gas has replaced fuel oil in the air purification system’s burner. “We have also improved efficiency in the manufacturing process,” says Lindell.

One example: The pores of the sponge cloths which absorb liquid, are made using Glauber’s salt, which is introduced into the fabric during the production process, crystallized with cooling, melted and then washed out again. The salt is 100 percent recycled saving some 1000 tons of the raw material every year. Since 2015, the amount of industrial waste has been reduced by about 40 percent. And a new wastewater treatment plant is expected to bring further environmental benefits in the future.


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