This article covers the following questions related to 20 Mule Team Borax:
- Is 20 Mule Team Borax biodegradable?
- Is 20 Mule Team Borax natural?
- Is it eco-friendly?
- How to properly dispose of it.
- What are the do’s and don’ts of using 20 Mule Team Borax
Is 20 Mule Team Borax biodegradable?
No, 20 Mule Team is not biodegradable because despite being natural it is inorganic in nature. 20 Mule Team borax is made with a chemical substance named borax which is made of a compound boron
Boron is then added with sodium and oxygen makes sodium borate or more specifically sodium tetraborate.
Is it natural or non-natural?
It is a naturally occurring compound which means that 20 mule team borax is essentially a natural product.
But a few things need to be considered. Firstly, natural doesn’t always mean safe or biodegradable. Borax is a non-biodegradable compound which means that it essentially is inorganic and does not offer any nutrition to decomposers.
Secondly, borax is known to be mildly toxic to children and plants when consumed accidentally, so it is not a safe product as well. There are reports where borax is labelled with cautions like “May affect fertility or unborn baby” so women must be used with absolute care.
Lastly, being natural also means that the production puts very less pressure on the environment which is not the case with borax. As discussed earlier, borax is boron which is naturally found but has to be mined and its mining is a very energy-intensive process and leaves a very big carbon footprint behind.
Is it eco-friendly?
No, it can’t be considered an eco-friendly product since there are a number of problems some of which have been discussed earlier.
You see, eco-friendliness is a broad term which encompasses not only the properties of the product in question but also studies it from the scratch with questions like, how is it made? Is the process eco-friendly? Is it sustainable? Are the raw materials used natural and replaceable? Is there any hidden effect that’s not highlighted?
In the context of borax these questions are really important so let’s get the record straight. Firstly, the raw materials are not replaceable, boron is a scarce substance and mining is not easy.
Not only is it not replaceable as much to be used cheaply as a detergent but mining also has a high impact on the environment which leaves a very high carbon footprint plus the boron dust from mines has a very high negative impact on the health of workers.
Secondly, boron in order to be converted to borax powder is mixed with oxygen and sodium which forms sodium borate. Sodium borate is not a harmful chemical as such that it can be used as a detergent but since it has proven negative impacts on children and plants so it is definitely not safe for marine life.
Thirdly, since there are more eco-friendly options such as biodegradable soaps available on the market which are made of natural biodegradable substances and are safe for every kind of use then it is not understand
What type of waste is it and how to disperse it?
Since it is essentially borax, so every regulation applied to the handling of borax has to be applied to 20 Mule Team Borax. It means that it is not a health hazard as such but is harmful to certain types of organisms. It must not be thrown directly in a waterway as it is harmful to aquatic life and it is a well-established fact.
It must be carefully deposited in a garbage can preferably far from a house and the disposal must be done in accordance with local laws as some cities have different laws for certain products like borax which may include that borax be directed to a waste management facility rather than a garbage can.
Can it be reused, repurposed, and recycled?
Yes, 20 Mule Team Borax can easily be reused, repurposed, and recycled. It has been often used to create borax crystals which can be put as decorative pieces. It can be reused for cleaning by adding a little more borax in the same water.
Borax water is often reused as a herbicide and a pesticide but the question of its effects on plants has not been extensively studied. Borax can’t be recycled as a whole (Or, it can be actually! But the process is so energy intensive that it is cheaper and more efficient to form new borax.
However, some of the raw materials in borax such as boron can be recycled and separated from borax to be used for other purposes and boron has many other uses as well. In recent studies, borax has been observed to improve the quality of the brick when borax waste was added during production.
What are the dos and don’ts with 20 mule team borax? (5 don’ts)
- Mix it with warm water to improve saturation
- Dispose of it properly in a garbage can or preferably send it to a waste management facility
- Use less amount of borax when diluting.
- Can be used as a cleaner for all purposes but children and pregnant women should be kept away while using it.
- Always wear gloves while using 20 Mule Team Borax
- Do not mix with any sort of weak or strong acid.
- Do not throw it down the drain.
- Do not get children near it.
- Do not use powder on the lawn.
- Do not touch directly, use gloves
20 Mule Team Borax is a good product but it is not eco-friendly considering the raw materials that it uses and the ways they are acquired.
It must be kept and used with extreme care and must not be thrown down the drain as it is harmful to aquatic life. Considering other more eco-friendly and biodegradable cleaning products are available in the market so they are used preferably
- Is Borax really as green as it seems? Retrieved from https://www.networx.com/article/is-borax-really-as-green-as-it-seems
- Getting to the bottom of 20 Mule Team Borax: Is it safe or not Retrieved from https://www.naturesarmy.com.au/getting-to-the-bottom-of-borax-is-it-safe-for-cleaning-or-not/#:~:text=Borax%2C%20whilst%20being%20a%20natural,prolonged%20exposure%20on%20the%20skin.
- Scerbinski, J. S. (1991). Consumers and the Environment: A focus on five products. The Journal of Business Strategy, 12(5), 44.
- Curtis, A. B., & Williams, L. H. (1990). Borates offer effective protection with less hazard to the environment. Southern Region, USDA Forest Service.
- How green are boron-based cleaners? Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-green-are-boron-cleansers/
- Safety Information of using 20 Mule Team Borax. Retrieved from https://www.20muleteamlaundry.com/safety-information/