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More sustainable cleaning through exciting collaboration

Cleaning with microbiology may sound like an oxymoron—how can bacteria make things clean? Research has shown that it is not just as efficient, but can even be more efficient compared to regular cleaning. Coor’s new collaboration with biotech company Novozymes creates several winners, and the environment is the biggest.

"We are facing an important paradigm shift. Historically, we have used powerful chemicals for cleaning and have been satisfied with spaces that look and smell clean. But we have also become increasingly conscious of the microbiome that surrounds us—everywhere. We are surrounded by microbes in our homes and workplaces. So what happens if instead of using chemicals, we use biology to clean, so that we can clean in an environmentally friendly way?” Clemens Heikaus, Global Head of Microbial Cleaning & Head of Market Team at Novozymes asks.

Novozymes is the world’s largest company in biotech solutions. Simply put, they conduct research into how microbes can be used for various purposes, such as cleaning, and then develop products based on their findings. Even simpler: they develop products that allow friendly bacteria to take care of dirt and bad bacteria.

“Our products are suited to high-traffic environments—spaces that get dirty quickly—like floors and toilets in hospitals or schools. Generally, our friendly bacteria thrive in environments that are slightly damp and dirty, environments with microscopic crevices are perfect,” Clemens Heikaus explains.

While Covid-19 has increased the need for deep cleaning, it should not impact the environment or humans negatively. Last fall, finance site Bloomberg wrote about how we need to stop decontaminating processes in order to achieve healthier environments, and instead increase ventilation and spread friendly bacteria. In various articles and commentary, the New York Times has raised similar ideas about environmentally friendly and gentle cleaning methods—in more ways than one.

“Our products are gentle in several ways. They are obviously gentle towards the environment, but also in terms of the surfaces cleaned and the people that clean or work in the premises where they are used. One of the visions that researchers and manufacturers are working towards is that this kind of cleaning will contribute to a more healthy environment in future, reducing the incidence of asthma and autoimmune disorders because strong chemicals are not used as extensively,” Clemens Heikaus continues.

Within the framework of the collaboration with Novozymes, alongside other major cleaning sector operators, Coor will replace the existing cleaning agents used in certain municipal operations in Gladsax in Denmark. Instead, they will evaluate Novozymes probiotic product Microvia ™ Pro in a trial.

“The microbes ensure longer-lasting cleaning, which goes deeper than a surface clean. The main difference is that the microbes remain active and continue to clean, but in a more gentle way than traditional chemicals,” Clemens Heikaus explains.

He also explains that Novozymes see the collaboration with Coor and other parties as an opportunity to test the products in real life conditions. Novozymes does not intend to keep the results of the trials to itself, they will benefit many people and operators—including Coor.

“Coor and Novozymes share a passion for open innovation, science and groundbreaking collaborations with the aim of solving the climate crisis and achieving the sustainable development goals. The world needs clean hospitals, institutions and workplaces—and Coor wants to be able to deliver efficient cleaning that also respects the environment. We are proud to be on this journey alongside Novozymes towards more sustainable and efficient cleaning services. Probiotic cleaning could be the way forward towards a cleaner and more nature-friendly world,” Annette Vindstrup, Business Unit President Cleaning at Coor Denmark, concludes.

Novozymes

- Global company with its head offices in Denmark
- Just over 6,500 employees
- Developed over 700 products
- Founded in 2000 but dates back to the 1920s

Microbes

A microbe or microorganism is an organism that is so small it cannot be seen. Microbes include bacteria, some fungi, algae and animals—including viruses. Microbes are present in almost all environments on Earth and play an important role in various ecosystems.