Green Cleaning

Greening Your Spring Cleaning

 

Call it the cleaning cupboard’s dirty little secret: many household cleaning products contain a variety of toxic chemicals that can harm your family’s health.  These come in the form of carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, organ toxicants, reproductive and developmental disruptors, neurotoxins, and respiratory hazards. There are over 17,000 petrochemicals available for home use, most of which have not been tested for exposure to human health and the environment. Chemical exposure is increasingly linked to chronic illnesses including asthma, allergies, cancer, obesity, and reproductive harm. These chemicals enter our bodies via the air we breathe, through our skin, and through the water we drink.

In addition to the hazards associated with human health, one must also consider the dangers to our environment. The chemicals in our cleaning products are released into the environment through evaporation of volatile compounds into the air and also by escaping down the drain as a residual product. Once the chemicals enter our water, they can have adverse effects on water quality and aquatic life. We all live downstream!

What can you do as a consumer?

Read Labels

Cleaning product manufacturers are not legally required to disclose ingredients on their packaging, but thankfully, there are a handful of companies that believe in full ingredient disclosure. Choosing to support these companies with your hard-earned dollars is a vote for consumer transparency. Seventh Generation offers this handy guide to the Top 12 Chemicals of Concern to avoid in cleaning products. Familiarizing yourself with this list will ensure that you know what to look for when scanning labels. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) also offers handy resources to help you avoid toxic petrochemicals in household products.  If you’re interested in a particular cleaning product that does not list its ingredients, check their website or try contacting the product manufacturer. This extra step takes some time and effort, but the more we practice it, the more manufacturers become aware that ingredient transparency is a priority.

Skip the Antibacterials and Antimicrobials

To borrow a line from Sandor Katz, “the problem with killing 99.9 percent of bacteria is that most of them protect us from the few that can make us sick”. An FDA advisory committee study found that using antibacterial soaps provides no benefits over plain soap and water and can actually bring more harm than good, due to chemicals like Triclosan. Triclosan is linked to liver and inhalation toxicity and has been shown to disrupt hormone balance and thyroid function. Additionally, Triclosan and other antibacterial ingredients may encourage bacterial resistance to antibiotics.

Make Your Own

Another creative solution is to consider making your own cleaning products at home. This option is extremely budget-friendly and surprisingly simple. For example, vinegar diluted with a bit of water makes an excellent glass and surface cleaner. Making a paste of baking soda and water yields a fabulous scouring scrub. It’s important to note that “clean” does not have a particular scent; however, if you enjoy natural fragrances in your cleaning products, Aura Cacia offers an array of home care essential oils and recipes for DIY household cleaning products that are delightful to the senses.

Take Action

Thanks in part to a robust Come Clean campaign spearheaded by Seventh Generation, there’s a bill up for debate known as the Cleaning Product Right to Know Act (H.R. 5205), which requires manufacturers of both consumer household and industrial cleaning products to disclose all intentionally added ingredients on their product labels and websites. Take action by telling your representatives that you value chemical labeling transparency.

Products to look for at the Co-op

You’ll find an array of non-toxic, petrochemical-free household cleaning products at the Co-op. Look for brands like Vermont Soap, Seventh Generation, Ecover, and Earth Friendly Products. You’ll find many of these brands featured in our Member Deals spotlight and in weekly sales throughout April and May.

Spotlight on Earth Friendly Products/ECOS

Happy Earth Day!! In honor of Mother Earth, it’s a perfect time to green up your Spring cleaning routine with Earth Friendly Products & ECOS! They’re featured in our Member Deals Spotlight this week and all of their products are 20% off for member-owners from April 20th – 26th. Read on to learn more about this family owned and operated company offering safe, effective cleaning products for people and the planet for nearly 50 years.

Their Story:

Earth Friendly Products, makers of the ECOS line of cleaning products, has been a family owned and operated business since 1967. Their team is made up of mothers, fathers, chemists, visionaries and pioneers who passionately uphold the idea that everyone should have access to delightful, affordable cleaning products.

Making ECOS products in their four carbon-neutral plants has enabled the company to keep prices low and quality high, shattering the myth that buying “green” has to be expensive.

Formulated with pure, thoughtful science and manufactured using Zero-Waste guidelines, ECOS is made in facilities powered by renewable energy. Created with mindful ingredients that are safer for people and the planet, ECOS is the delightfully Plantlicious™ way to protect your family and home.

Their Promise:

“We promise to make green cleaning a reality for all by using sustainable practices that protect people and the planet. By formulating products from the goodness of plants in facilities powered by 100% renewable energy, we empower a natural clean at a price you can afford. Made with love from the inside out, we hope you’ll experience the difference in each bottle of ECOS™”

Why Choose ECOS/Earth Friendly Products?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spotlight on Seventh Generation

Are you gearing up for some spring cleaning? Keep it green with Seventh Generation! They’re basking in the glow of the Co-op Spotlight this week and member-owners can enjoy 20% off their full line of products from March 23rd – 29th. Read on to learn more about their energy efficient practices, socially responsible business model, and impressive efforts to bring labeling transparency to the cleaning product industry:

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For 28 years, Seventh Generation has been creating powerful plant-based solutions for your home & family. From their very first days as a company back in 1998, they have been on a mission to inspire a consumer revolution that nurtures the health of the next seven generations. They aspire to:

  • nurture nature
  • transform commerce with honesty, responsibility, and radical transparency
  • enhance health through education, activism, and innovation
  • build communities advancing social justice and equality to unleash human potential.

As a mission-driven B-Corps business, Seventh Generation aims to pioneer a more mindful way of doing business. They developed a plan known as the Path to 2020  and began by examining their impacts as a business and considering the principles that matter to them as a company:  responsible sourcing; using materials from plants, not petroleum; ensuring the health of our planet and the people on it; having an engaged, motivated workforce; and caring for our community. To track their progress toward these goals and present them with total transparency, they post an annual Corporate Consciousness Report, which we invite you to check out.

Come Clean

Did you know that the law does not require ingredient disclosure on cleaning product labels? It’s time to tell the industry to come clean!  Seventh Generation firmly believes that you have the right to know what is in the products you buy, which is why they helped launch the #comeclean campaign. Through this campaign, they aim to air the cleaning industry’s dirty laundry. They support state and federal legislation to require manufacturers of both consumer household and industrial cleaning products to disclose all intentionally added ingredients, including fragrance components, on their product labels and on their websites.  Food and personal care products are currently required to have content labels, but there are no regulations in place for the ingredient labeling of household cleaning products – especially for the fragrances that scent those products. Chemicals of concern can hide behind the term “fragrance” in ingredient lists on your cleaning products – chemicals that have been linked to serious health effects including allergies, asthma, cancer, and reproductive harm. Want to take action? Visit their webpage for the latest updates on these critical pieces of legislation and find out what you can do to get involved.

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