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Q&A with Ecoworks Marine

Updated: Aug 3, 2020

'Preserve the living seas...'

The eye watering statistics about the impacts we have on our oceans as well as the constant stark reminders throughout our social news feeds, should now leave little room for denial. Especially within yachting, quite simply the industry is reliant upon the health of our oceans and without them the industry would cease to exist. On a daily basis products the industry are literally pouring products into our oceans, so it is our responsibility as an industry to know that the products we are using are favourable to the health of our oceans.

This is where Ecoworks Marine come in, we spoke to Angus about their eco friendly cleaning solutions which they provide for every yacht department and are available in many stockists around the world.

We love your initiative at Seastainable, can you give us an insight into how the idea behind Ecoworks Marine was born?

Ecoworks Marine was created back in 2015. I have spent many years in the marine industry from Dinghy Coaching to working on Marina's and and in Boatyards then leading into the SuperYacht industry. Using many hazardous products and practices along the way. My father, Scott has been producing, along with 2 very clever bio chemists, sustainable products for the land based facilities market over the past 20 years constantly developing all the way through. I was familiar with ingredient names and had an inherent interest. It soon became clear that truly sustainable marine products didn’t really exist in the yachting industry and we decided we wanted to do something about it. We now have my brother Fraser onboard so it's very much a family affair.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of greenwashing and “eco” friendly products out there, can you explain how your products are legitimately eco friendly and the sustainable initiatives you have implemented within Ecoworks Marine?

There is a lot of Greenwashing, many products claim "eco" but essentially are using many raw materials found in everyday cleaners at somewhat weaker levels in order to validate their claim. This also can mean less effective cleaning results. Our products use only the best and most secure natural ingredients available to produce a range that performs exceptionally well and with the minimum stress on the fauna and flora of our oceans and rivers. We use a careful selection of appropriate raw materials based on their individual criteria which allows us to satisfy all our goals in terms of product performance, economics and a lower environmental footprint. We use blends of surfactants and raw materials that are more favourable in terms of aquatic toxicity, sustainability and biodegradability. Many raw materials found in everyday cleaners include Formaldehyde, Palm oil and Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (found in all standard santisers) and many more. A watch list of raw materials which we will never use can be found on our ingredients page as well as a list of the alternatives that we do use.

How do you ensure that your products adhere to sustainability whilst being just as, if not, more, effective than non-eco cleaning products?

We use very different raw materials to actually do the cleaning than the standard cleaner. Our Bio Chemists have worked extremely hard to find the right blends of non-hazardous bacterias and enzymes to essentially eat dirt from a surface rather than burn dirt from a surface. To back up these blends of bacterias and enzymes you have to accompany them with other non hazardous raw materials. If we were to use standard ingredients like Formaldehyde, Benzotriazole and its derivatives and Chlorine-based agents we would kill the bacterias making them and the product useless. Our bodies are made up of millions of bacterias that keep us clean and healthy, we take the same concept into our cleaning products.

The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the negative impacts we are having on our environments, as nature began to re heal itself throughout our global lockdowns. When it comes to this ‘new normal,’ have you seen an increase in demand for people wanting to make better, eco friendly choices?

Yes we have and also from very different industries, through the pandemic like many businesses we have adapted and presented our products to a whole array of different markets. Many customers we have seen over the past few months have been anything from a Surf School, Sailing School to Hotels based in remote and environmentally sensitive areas. It was great to see so many of these industries take time to investigate which would be the best sanitiser to both adhere to guidelines set by government and their associated governing bodies and also to adhere to their own business goals of taking care of their operating environment.

Making better eco-friendly choices can also lead to other benefits and not just the environment. A study in 2018 showed that bleach-based cleaning products can be as damaging to the lungs as smoking a pack of cigarettes every day. With the study that followed 6000 people over 20 years showed significant health problems after long term use of the products. These products have also been linked to short-term effects on asthma and cancer. Many products are also high on the pH scale if you are not aware of this you could be using something very damaging to materials such as paint and fabrics. Traditional cleaners tend to mask odours too, The bacteria in our products break down the organic material causing the odour and digest it, therefore completely eliminating the source of the odour, rather than masking it. See our 5 reasons to make the switch blog here

Cleanliness and hygiene standards in the yachting industry have always been high, the Covid-19 pandemic has provided an opportunity to reassess these procedures and to put in place new, additional procedures. We certainly hope these will be thought through within a sustainable framework, how have these new cleaning procedures impacted Ecoworks Marine?

Our sanitiser product has now completely overtaken our previous top sellers proving that the level of cleanliness expectations is now far higher. Moving forward, this will most certainly be the case within commercial properties. Our sanitiser is tested and approved to EN14476 as defined in EN 14476:2013 + A2:2019, valid against all enveloped coronaviruses and it's this level of testing of products that we could see more of. I do think some protocols have left some crew a bit lost as to knowing which sanitisers to purchase. Looking into the many sanitisers available, it can be quite a minefield and rightly confusing if you're not sure what you are looking for. It's important to look for the standards as defined by our sanitiser. Alcohol based sanitisers and how much alcohol is in them is giving people the opinion that only an alcohol based sanitiser will sanitise. Attention is only given to alcohol sanitisers as these are the ones used in hand sanitation and a hand sanitiser has to be at least 70% proof, to be effective. Some products are only 60% and this isn't good enough. There are many ways of effective sanitisation, alcohol is one, high levels of sodium chloride is another but is very harmful to both the environment and the user. Ecoworks natural sanitiser is another and this performs in terms of sanitisation to regulatory standards, longevity of effect and safety. It outperforms in terms of sanitisation, a surface will stay sanitised for longer, it's safe for the user and healthier to the environment. This is why we've seen a big shift within many other industries looking for safe surface sanitisers over traditional chemical ones and a large increase in orders from not just boats.

We know that some yacht crew can be hesitant to change as they have 'favourites' and 'tried and tested' products, so Angus provided us with some crew testimonials.

"I make sure I use Ecoworks Marine products in the engine room, like the degreaser, which is a great degreaser, Ecoworks Marine products definitely meet all criteria I look for in a cleaning product and it really does work, I am very impressed." Will Slagter,  Chief Engineer

“I was involved in a new build and wanted to use eco friendly products in the interior. The laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, all purpose cleaner and washroom & toilet cleaner were all great! Was particularly happy with the laundry detergent as it's quite difficult to find eco friendly detergent that washes well. And all come in large 5L container so minimal waste. Would highly recommend all Ecoworks products! And the team are super helpful and friendly! A company that I will gladly support again!” Leanne Meadows, Chief Stewardess

"Ecoworks Teak Deck Cleaner: With a drive towards an Eco friendly boat we were naturally drawn towards The Ecoworks Marine products. After Using the Teak Deck Cleaner product for only a matter of months we have been extremely impressed with its capabilities and performance in comparison to similar products. I would recommend Ecoworks Marine Teak Deck Cleaner to anyone with an ecofriendly outlook who doesn't want to impede the quality of the products they use."Theo, Mate Engineer, SY Nefertiti

Get in touch with Angus from Ecoworks Marine today to make your product switches!

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