Sirius specializes in providing biodegradable compounds used to make detergents, cosmetics, and hygiene products. While legislation introduced by REACH and local governments limits the use of chemicals that are toxic to the environment, we’ve realized that this is not enough. Harmless chemicals that cannot be broken down can also adversely affect the environment; for instance, plastic water bottles may not actually poison the environment, but animals can eat them, mistaking them for food—and end up dying. Along similar veins, chemicals can persist in the environment, in the surface water or in soil particles or as dust, and these can cause problems for the environment, as well as our own health and safety.
Branched and Linear Surfactants
Chemicals are mostly degraded by bacteria. Bacteria use enzymes to attack the complex chains of surfactant molecules, and surfactant molecules therefore need to “fit” with the enzymes in order to be biodegradable. Branched molecules do not readily fit with the enzymes needed to degrade surfactants, and so persist in the environment much longer than straight-chain surfactants, so even though branched molecules work better in hard water, most surfactants used in Europe are linear molecules.
But designing a good detergent also requires an awareness of what consumers’ expectations are. Foaming remains, however incorrectly, associated with cleansing power.
Britens AOS, also a strong anionic linear surfactant, is one such high-foaming surfactant based on olefin. This makes it milder for sensitive skin, and also means that it degrades in a matter of days instead of weeks.
The Britens APG line of products, which are based on sugar and palm oil, are completely sustainable and biodegradable as well.
Britens ABS in Sirius’s product lineup is a strong anionic linear surfactant, the sodium salt of LABSA (Linear Alkyl Benzene Sulphonic Acid). In this form, it is safer to handle and easy to blend. However, it is comprised of benzene and alkyl groups which are derived from distilled oil, so its sources are non-sustainable. Benzene is also a known carcinogen—the fact that it slows degradation is a comparatively minor issue in comparison.
The Sirius Effect
Sirius makes it easy for you to be environmentally conscious without sacrificing product quality. When you have the best of both worlds, it’s such a little thing to help save our own.