There is a misconception about biodegradable soap. Many people with good intentions use biodegradable soap to clean their garbage cans and thinking that it is environmentally friendly, will allow the waste water to flow freely down the gutter. Biodegradable soaps should be used over other soaps; but they still need to be used at least 200 feet from any water source, including our storm drains. Using a biodegradable soap doesn’t reduce its immediate environmental impact, it just means that the soap will biodegrade over time. All soaps, including biodegradable ones, will contaminate our lakes, streams and ocean.

What does biodegradable mean? By definition it means capable of being decomposed by biological agents like bacteria. Materials are usually deemed biodegradable if they break down to at least 90% H2O, CO2 and biomass within 6 months.

Biodegradable soap is NOT biodegradable when it ends up in a waterway.  It will degrade over time, but it require soil for it to breakdown properly. The soapy wash water used by a single household will easily biodegrade in a backyard. However, the same soap if allowed to enter the storm drain, along with the soap used by a million or more Orange County residents, would result in waves of soapsuds on our beaches, simply because more soap would be going into the waterway than it has microorganisms to biodegrade.

Biodegradable soap can also have a cumulative impact. In particular, their ingredients can accelerate the growth of plants. This can upset the natural balance in our coastal waters and lead to excessive plant growth and a decrease in dissolved oxygen.

For those who choose to wash their trash cans on their property, the wash water should be disposed of directly into the grass or gravel. The disposal site should be at least 200 feet from the gutter so it does not end up going down the storm drain and into the ocean.

OC Clean A Can uses only biodegradable products and we are cognisant that even biodegradable detergents can harm the environment. The mobile cleaning trucks used by OC Clean A Can  are designed so that the water it uses is contained within the washing compartment and does not enter our waterways.



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