The Swiffer

There’s a product on the market called the Swiffer. It’s a plastic mop-like contraption that is designed to replace the good old fashion mop. The Swiffer comes with a box of disposable, plastic-wrapped, chemical-soaked pieces of paper that’s guaranteed to get your floor cleaner than if using a traditional mop, but with less effort. At first this may seem like a great idea, but these chemical-soaked pieces of paper go straight from the floor to the local area landfill, where the chemicals leech into the ground. Yet, the designer of the Swiffer published a piece in Businessweek magazine about how he is all for the greening of the planet and this device is his way of contributing to that cause. He says: Cleaning the floor with an old-fashioned mop and detergent is a messy and unpleasant job that uses many gallons of hot water and great amounts of detergent every week in millions of homes around the world. The water, the energy needed to heat that water, and the environmental impact of dumping the detergent into the waste stream are terribly costly, and all for a job no one likes doing anyway.

Okay, he claims to be for the greening of the planet, but he did fail to mention that those millions of homes around the world, who would likely buy this product, will require the continual purchase of these toxic chemical sheets that are for the landfill -- sheets so toxic, that they should not be used on unfinished, oiled, or waxed wooden boards, non-sealed tiles or carpeted floors, because the chemicals will damage these surfaces. In my opinion, this is hardly a sustainable design solution.

Click here to learn more about the Swiffer.

Click here to read the Businessweek article.

Mike Taylor

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