Study Highlights Over-reliance on Household Chemicals

A research project led by the Regional Waste Management Office (RWMO) for Limerick Clare Kerry has found that householders are over reliant on hazardous chemicals when it comes to routine cleaning, gardening and DIY activities. The project involved 23 households in Castletroy View Estate in Limerick City.

The project also featured a series of workshops for residents to raise awareness about the proper use and disposal of household chemicals to protect the environment.

The purpose of the project, which was funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), was to examine the amount of chemicals families purchase. By working closely with householders, the project team was able to discover more about shopping habits and the subsequent production of household hazardous waste.

“Of most interest to the project team was the sheer volume of products in use. We discovered that most of the householders purchased different products for cleaning different rooms – such as a separate cleaners for the bathroom and kitchen even though the cleaning capability of the products purchasing is very similar if not identical in many cases,” explains Limerick City’s Environmental Awareness Officer Sinead McDonnell.

She adds: “Whilst taking part in the survey, householders also found that they had purchased many products over the previous year or longer but hardly used them. So a great tip for all of us to emerge from the project is if you want to save money, don’t rush out and buy a new cleaning product – root around you may already have a product under your sink that will do the job.”

A number of householders who participated in the pilot project took up the challenge of cleaning using more traditional products such as soda crystals, baking soda, salt and lemons.

Sinead McDonnell continues: “Cleaning using more traditional products is cheap, effective and better for the environment and your heath. This project has shown that we need to improve awareness of alternatives to the many unnecessary chemicals that we use on a daily basis.”

Regional Waste Prevention Coordinator, Pauline McDonogh comments: “The pilot project conducted in Limerick City is a great example of how we can take simple steps in our everyday lives that will help protect the environment for generations to come. The householders in Castletroy View used the RWMO Guide to Household Hazardous Waste as a learning tool on how to clean with fewer chemicals. The guide can be viewed and downloaded on the Manage Waste website. In the guide you will find over 20 uses listed for using soda crystals. So if you have tried out other uses for soda crystals or natural products get in touch so we can update our guide.”

The Castletroy View Household Hazardous Waste video and project, which was supported by Limerick City Council, may be viewed on

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