When we formulate and manufacture Clorox® products, we keep you and our planet in mind. We conduct environmental safety assessments to help ensure our products will be safe for the environment when used as directed. These evaluations include such things as biodegradation and bioaccumulation, and impact on septic systems, aquatic life, birds, and other wildlife. We're also constantly working on more efficient, sustainable solutions for our product packaging that include using recyclable or compostable materials.
For instance, it might surprise you to know that the lifecycle of our namesake Clorox® bleach, one of the world's most effective and inexpensive disinfectants, starts and ends with sodium chloride, common table salt. Brita® filters provide great-tasting water without the plastic waste from bottled water. New stronger Glad® trash bags are made in a way that uses five million pounds less plastic per year compared to our former trash bags. Burt's Bees® earth-friendly products have set a high bar in natural personal care. The Kingsford® Products Manufacturing Company is an industry leader in environmental controls and sustainability for charcoal manufacturing.
For more information on the environmental sustainability of our product portfolio, please click on the links below:
Clorox® Bleach: Some Surprising Information
Salt of the Earth
If clean has a smell, it's the iconic scent of bleach. Its barely detectable aroma announces the towel is ready to use. Its lingering scent on a white robe offers assurance you can wrap yourself in.
With so much power in one bottle of bleach, some worry about its environmental impact. But the simple fact is: Bleach starts as salt and water and ends as salt and water. Household bleach contains no free chlorine, and it essentially breaks down into salt and water during or quickly after use.
In 2011, Clorox completed its transition of all U.S. bleach manufacturing operations from using chlorine to high-strength bleach as a raw material. The transportation of chlorine has now been eliminated from our end-to-end U.S. supply chain. High-strength bleach is a water-based solution of concentrated sodium hypochlorite that we dilute down to specific levels for household and industry use. This decision was driven by our commitment to strengthen our operations and add another layer of security to our operations.
In 2012, we converted our namesake Clorox Bleach product to a 33 percent more concentrated formula. This has helped reduce the overall carbon footprint associated with the lifecycle consumption of bleach. The end product is a more convenient consumer product that is also better for the environment.
The Bleach Cycle
The bleach cycle - from production to household use to disposal down the drain - is simple. It begins and ends with sodium chloride, common table salt. We call it the salt-to-salt cycle.
Clorox® regular bleach production: A 6.0 percent solution of sodium hypochlorite is combined with water.
Product use: Clorox® regular bleach, registered with the EPA as a disinfectant, reacts with soils and stains, making them easy to remove, and helps kill 99.99 percent of bacteria and viruses. The result is improved cleaning and whitening and quick, effective and economical disinfecting.
Return to salt: After household use, when disposed of down the drain, 95 percent to 98 percent of household bleach rapidly breaks down into salt and water. The remaining by-products are largely removed through the wastewater treatment process of most cities and water districts. No dioxins are formed. No by-products with the ability to build up over time in organisms are formed.
A Heritage of Safeguarding Health
Since it was introduced in 1913, Clorox® regular bleach has had a long history of use in places where killing germs is critical: in hospitals, nursing homes, child-care centers, schools and restaurants. During World War I, in the days before penicillin, the lives of wounded soldiers were saved by the antibacterial properties of bleach. In the 1960s, when the first Apollo flights were heading into space, NASA used Clorox® brand bleach to decontaminate the capsules returning from orbit.
Confidence in the efficacy and impact of disinfecting bleach is why the world's leading public health agencies - the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - recommend the use of bleach for controlling the spread of pathogens that can cause infections and other health threats.
Bleach is one of the most widely available, affordable disinfectants on earth, and the role it plays in public health continues to be critical.
Bleach in school kitchens: As part of a healthy routine in school kitchens, the School Food Safety Network recommends the use of bleach for food-contact surface preparation areas to help reduce the potential for cross-contamination of food and the spread of Salmonella, E. coli and other bacteria that can make kids sick.
Bleach usage for hospital-acquired infections: Each year, an estimated 1.7 million Americans contract infections while hospitalized. As many as 90,000 die. To help combat the problem, Clorox has partnered with the Association of Professionals in Infection Control on Protect Our Patients, a program to raise awareness of the steps hospital staff, patients and families can take to help protect patients in the hospital and at home. Hand washing is critical; so is disinfecting surfaces to help prevent the spread of hospital-acquired infections and other illnesses.
Lending a hand: The Clorox Company Foundation has been donating Clorox® regular bleach to help purify water during times of disaster.