Carlos Rivadulla got the idea when he was sweeping floors in the army, and now, a few years later and with the help of his brother Juan Rivadulla, the siblings launched the Ecofrego, an eco-friendlier bucket that separates the clean water from the dirty one. It is really quite straightforward and we are surprised this hasn't hit the market until now. A simple tweak to the traditional cleaning bucket can save you water, soap, and work.The Ecofrego has two colanders with two water deposits; one to wring out the mop after dipping it into the clean water, and one for wringing off the dirt after mopping. That way you keep the clean water separate from the used water, and save on water, soap and time as you don't have to change the water so often. It's a bit like using two different buckets, but all in one, and the trick is not to dip the mop into the clean water before wringing it after sweeping. That way the clean water stays 50% cleaner than it would be using just a traditional bucket with one compartment.
What surprised us is that this plastic bucket is locally produced in Spain, just 32 kilometres outside of Barcelona in Lliçà de Vall. Although it says the product is made from a durable and resistant plastic, it is unfortunately virgin plastic, but hopefully recyclable since the brothers hope to sell some 75.000 units in 2010. According to an interview with La Vanguardia, the Rivadullas explain that in Spain, there is a stock of 30 million cleaning buckets and 7 million new ones are sold every year; which is a lot of plastic!
This month, the Ecofrego received the silver Delta'09 Design Award by the Industrial Design for Development of Decorative Arts Association (ADI-FAD), which caused a bit of an uproar since the product is more of an invention than a design. The jury says it received the reward due to "a substantial improvement of an everyday household object that saves the user both water and hard work". We would have liked to see a re-design of the traditional cleaning bucket that took the design part a bit more serious, and especially chose a maybe eco-friendlier material, but this is not a bad start, especially in a country where the good old mop and bucket are still used a lot.
A similar product on the market is the Sistema Embell, which claims to reduce the water consumption by 49%, and the work time by 33% compared to a traditional bucket. Interesting to see that after more than a century, even the humble cleaning bucket can be improved and 'greened'. The Ecofrego is available in Europe for 15€. ::Ecofrego