Green housekeeping methods and cleaning products are components of maintaining a green lifestyle. However, did you know that no standards exist for labeling a cleaning product as green? Or that there are no requirements for disclosing all product ingredients? And that unlike food products, the order of ingredients listed doesn’t necessarily represent relative amounts?
“Greenwashing” is the practice of making green claims without verifiable positive effect on the environment.
Avoid cleaning products with vague, generic descriptions that leave room for interpretation. For example:
- “Natural” – May actually include petroleum, toxic, and synthetic substances as some naturally occurring substances are highly toxic.
- “Safe” – Does this mean it’s safe for the environment and human health?
- “Biodegradable” – Is it the product or the package or both that will break down naturally? How long will this take?
- “Eco-friendly” – Does this mean it’s made from plants? Or that it’s recyclable or has less packaging?
Without formal standardization, these organizations are taking matters into their own hands and certifying cleaning and other products claiming to be green:
- Green Seal www.greenseal.org Certifies and tests products.
- EPA- Design for the Environment – www.epa.gov/dfe Recognizes companies that commit to the use of safer ingredients.
Personally, I don’t want to find out that something I was doing to save the environment and be eco-conscious has actually had the opposite effect. I’m taking a closer look at my choices for household cleaning products.