Are Zep cleaning products biodegradable?

This blog post will answer the question, “Are zep cleaning products biodegradable” and cover topics like the biodegradability of zep cleaning products and frequently asked questions related to the topic.

Are Zep cleaning products biodegradable?

No, zep cleaning products are not biodegradable. First and foremost, their packaging is made of plastic and metal that cannot decompose. 

Are Zep cleaning solutions environmentally friendly?

The majority of Zep items come in unsustainable metal and plastic packaging. Both of these elements are non-renewable and obtained by mining, a practice that produces a lot of pollution.

Establishing the mine, this procedure may harm the land’s structure, contaminate the air, soil, & water, and lead to rock and soil instability.

Some of the components in Zep cleaning products, as was previously noted, are poisonous to aquatic & plant life.

How Toxic Are Zep Cleaning Products?

Some Zep cleaning supplies could be poisonous. Each product has a variable amount of toxicity since it employs various components, and other products may not even be poisonous at all.

Zep cleaning solutions often include harmful substances including bleach, methylisothiazolinone, benzalkonium chloride, and others.

If you want to stay away from harmful items, you must study the warning labels and ingredients list.

Do Zep Cleaning Products Degrade Into Nature?

The majority of Zep cleaning products cannot be degraded. First and foremost, packaging made of plastic and metal cannot decompose. Zep asserts that its biodegradable Concentrated Tuff Green & Shell Shock hand cleaners.

Walnut shells, which are renewable and biodegradable, are used in the soy-based hand cleanser. Some Zep products, including the two, already listed, have the Green Link emblem on their packaging.

Remember that this does not imply that the product’s biodegradability or environmental friendliness has been independently verified. In other words, it complied with Zep’s own sustainability requirements.

In their pure form, certain chemicals could be biodegradable, however, Zep items often have a variety of components. As a result, they cannot be distinguished from non-biodegradable substances and cannot decompose.

Additionally, some of these biodegradable substances degrade slowly or only under specified conditions. Diisopropanolamine, for instance, degrades slowly but is biodegradable.

Although theoretically biodegradable, methylisothiazolinone takes a long time to break down since it is poisonous to microorganisms. In the process of biodegradation, bacteria are crucial.

Edetate sodium is capable of biodegradation in a lab environment. It is regarded as a persistent chemical since it degrades in the environment very slowly.

According to research, certain forms of fungus may destroy chloroxylenol by more than 70%. Although benzalkonium chlorides may also biodegrade, it’s not good for the environment to let bleach out into the open.

Can you compost Zep’s cleaning products?

Zep cleaning supplies cannot be composted due to the packaging’s usage of metal and plastic. Additionally, the products themselves may leave harmful residues behind.

As was previously indicated, you cannot distinguish between compostable and biodegradable substances and those that are not.

Can Zep cleaning supplies be recycled?

Depending on the kind of plastic used in its construction, the packaging may be recyclable. However, the cleaning supplies themselves cannot be recycled.

They often utilize black plastic packaging, therefore some of it may not be suited for home composting bins.

It is more difficult to sort & process because the dark color prevents ordinary recycling systems’ sorting equipment from detecting it.

In this situation, a few drop-off plastic recycling centers may be able to break down the Zep bottles, but these facilities are not available to everyone.

Although Zep metal bottles may not be appropriate for your household recycling bin, metal can be recycled endlessly. You may need to ship it to a separate metal recycling center instead.

How Should Zep Cleaning Products Be Disposed Of?

The Zep cleaning product cannot be thrown away or poured down the drain if it is not completely empty.

These items are regarded as hazardous waste because, as was already indicated, they may contaminate waterways and endanger marine life.

Therefore, the product must be sent to a toxic waste disposal facility. You must adhere to the directions on the box since each product is produced from a different kind of packing.

Remember that even while the bottle itself could be OK for recycling, the spray nozzle might not be or your local recycling center might not take it.

Make sure the bottle is spotless before using the Zep packaging that may be recycled. You recycle bin may get contaminated by the product, which would prevent recycling of the complete contents.

Contamination may significantly lower the amount of recyclable garbage that is actually recycled, with less than 9% of all plastic produced in the US in 2018 being recycled.

Sustainability of Zep Cleaning Products

Overall, Zep cleaning solutions do not seem to be sustainable, despite the company’s efforts to operate more responsibly.

Both plastic & metal are non-renewable and have substantial carbon footprints; the manufacture of plastic contributes 4.5% and 10%, respectively, to global greenhouse gas emissions.

They thus make unsustainable packaging decisions. Additionally, as was already noted, many of their products include substances like bleach that might damage the environment. Many of their items are neither compostable nor biodegradable.

Zep Cleaning Product Alternatives

3 alternatives to zep cleaning products are listed below:

  • Cleaners based on saponin
  • Citrus Juice
  • Apple Cider Vinegar

I will now elaborate on these.

Cleaners based on saponin

A frequent component of soap is saponin. It is renewable and based on plants. There are worries that saponin is harmful, particularly synthetic saponin.

According to research, quillaja saponin is not toxic enough to be deemed detrimental to people or the environment, and natural saponin is less harmful than manufactured saponin.

Citrus Juice

Lemons are organic, biodegradable, and renewable. Lemons have antimicrobial qualities as well.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Additionally natural, regenerative, and possessing antimicrobial qualities is apple cider vinegar.

Are Zep Cleaning Products Produced in a Sustainable Manner?

Zep plans to reduce its environmental impact, according to the company website. They have promised to follow environmental and safety requirements and limit their pollution, water use, and carbon impact.

The substances utilized in several of their products, nevertheless, raise some questions.

  • Colors FD&C
  • Glycerin
  • Benzalkonium Chloride
  • Sodium Hypochlorite
  • Chloroxylenol
  • Butyl
  • Methyl Glucose
  • Amine Oxide
  • EDTA (tetrasodium)
  • Methylisothiazolinone
  • Cetrimonium Bromide 
  • Diisopropanolamine
  • Sodium Hydroxide

I will now elaborate on these.

Colors FD&C

FD&C are artificial dyes. These colors are produced from non-renewable coal tar. These colors are regarded as safe by the FDA.

However, studies on coal-tar-based pavements have shown that coal tar is bad for marine life and could potentially be a cancer risk for humans.


Glycerin is relatively renewable since it may be found in plant or animal lipids.

Glycerin synthesis, however, requires a lot of energy, and as the majority of the energy grid still utilizes non-renewable electrical sources, this results in pollution.

Benzalkonium Chloride

A component used as an antiseptic is benzalkonium chloride. According to research, it may stifle the development of algae and is harmful when exposed to aquatic settings.

Average algal growth is not hazardous to the environment, despite the fact that algae blooms may be destructive. For marine life, algae serve as a food supply. It can collect carbon dioxide and be utilized as a sustainable energy source.

Sodium Hypochlorite

One kind of chlorine bleach is sodium hypochlorite.

This bleach may readily get into water sources, harming any aquatic life that comes into touch with it, including plankton, which provides food for fish and has the ability to turn carbon dioxide into oxygen.


Another disinfectant with a chlorine basis is chloroxylenol. Wastewater treatment facilities are a simple way for it to enter the environment. Water and soil quality may be harmed by environmental exposure.


Synthetic rubber comes in the form of butyl. Butyl rubber stoppers may leak harmful substances, according to research.

These could interfere with aerobic methane oxidation incubations adversely. The equilibrium of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is maintained by this process, which is carried out by bacteria.

Methyl Glucose

Methyl glucose, which is used to provide moisture to goods, is often obtained from plant-based sources. Despite studies showing it was not hazardous to microorganisms or animals, it is not unheard of for it to irritate human skin.

The European Chemicals Agency, however, considers it detrimental to marine life.

Amine Oxide

Because it swiftly dissolves via the sewage system & wastewater treatment systems, amine oxide is not thought to be detrimental in aquatic settings.

That does not mean, however, that it is not hazardous; studies revealed that certain bacteria were susceptible to this substance.

EDTA (tetrasodium)

Tetrasodium EDTA, a disinfectant, is not thought to be detrimental to non-target species in the environment, according to the EPA. Its potential to mobilize heavy metals, which may contribute to water contamination, is a source of worry.

Consumption of heavy metals by humans via water or fish has been associated with an increased risk of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, neurological damage, and poor renal function.


Preservative methylisothiazolinone is used. It is very hazardous to marine life in natural waters and may lead to water pollution. It is also a typical allergen in people.

Cetrimonium Bromide 

Antiseptic cetrimonium bromide is used.

According to research, this material should be handled as a pollutant since it may have a detrimental effect on plant health, including germination rates, growth, chlorophyll content, and other factors.


Diisopropanolamine (DIPA) is often utilized in goods as an emulsifier. There is minimal evidence that diisopropanolamine, which is biodegradable, is bad for the environment.

Sodium Hydroxide

The EPA allows the use of sodium hydroxide in insecticides and does not believe that it will have a negative impact on either persons or the environment.

Some environmental organizations, however, classify this molecule as a water contaminant. Freshwater fish that are exposed to it may suffer severe damage or perhaps pass away.


In this post, we discussed the biodegradability of zep cleaning products, the sustainability of zep products, and greener alternatives to zep cleaning products.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs), “Are zep cleaning products biodegradable?”

Is Zep friendly to the environment?

Since all of the chemicals in Zep Concentrated Tuff Green are biodegradable and decompose into minerals, water, & carbon dioxide, it is an ecologically beneficial product. Environmentally friendly surfactants are also included in this product.

Is Zep a reliable product?

Cleaning your toilet, kitchen, or any other area in your home is easy with Zep All Purpose Cleaner. This cleaner/degreaser is simple to dilute and will last for months or years when used for basic home cleaning.

How should ZEP degreaser be disposed of?

To carry the container to a home hazardous trash collection facility, wrap it in a newspaper or similar absorbent material and store it in a cardboard box. Alternatively, you may wait for a nearby domestic hazardous waste collection day.

Green cleaning products: what are they?

Green cleaning solutions are made with safe, non-toxic, and biodegradable components, as opposed to traditional cleaning products. 

In addition to lowering air and water pollution, eco-friendly cleaning supplies also contribute to the battle against ozone depletion, climate change, and ozone depletion.

What distinguishes ecologically friendly cleaning products from non-toxic ones?

Eco-friendly goods don’t necessarily need to be comprised entirely of natural ingredients; just because an item was created artificially doesn’t guarantee that it won’t hurt the environment. 

On the other hand, natural cleaning solutions usually won’t hurt the environment, although that isn’t a guarantee.

A high alkaline cleaner: What is it?

In contrast to the cleaners at the other end of the range, which are very acidic, high-alkaline cleaners are highly alkaline in nature. 

The pH values of liquids used as cleaning chemicals, such as bleach, ammonia, or even lemon juice, are measured by alkalinity and acidity.


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