Let's be honest here: everyone is "green" these days. Marketers have co-opted that word to sell us everything from clothing to cleaning supplies, and they've managed to obscure the word's real intention in doing so.
Through deceptive packaging and vague claims, large companies are after well-intentioned consumer dollars. It's buyer beware when looking for truly eco-friendly cleaning supplies, and unfortunately diligent label-reading and research seems to be the best way to really keep toxic chemicals out of our homes.
In fact, it's this
Below are a couple of cleaning products that I've run across recently that strike me as greenwashed, but we want to hear from you! If we want to stand up to corporations, we need to communicate and stay informed. In the comments, we'd love if you'd tell us about phony "green" claims that you've seen!
Someone recently was telling me about this dish soap, and my kneejerk reaction was not to trust a huge chemical company like Palmolive. Still, I thought it was worth at least looking into, right? My first move is always to read the ingredients. Unfortunately, the Eco+ bottle doesn't list ingredients! That set off some alarm bells for sure.
A little digging turned up some more less than stellar information on the stuff. It apparantly contains chlorine bleach, which is harmful for folks with health problems like emphysema and asthma.
It also seems that companies can make claims like "phosphate free," which Palmolve's Eco+ touts on its label, without much to back them up. There is no third party, either governmental or private, verifying that claim.
Nice try, Holy Cow, but the Organic Consumers Association has totally busted your misleading label. Along with touting that it's biodegradable and ammonia free, the bottle contains a ripoff of the USDA organic seal.
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Have you run across any blatant greenwashing from a cleaning product company? I'm a little wary of Clorox Greenworks but had a hard time finding any specifics about what is in those products. Many folks argue that a company can't call itself green just by launching a green line, when it maintains production of so many toxic chemicals. What do you think?
I'm also uncertain about Method. They do list ingredients on the bottle, but they seem sort of vague to me. Does anyone know more about Method products that cares to share? Is it green or greenwashed?
The FTC has a handy document on sorting out "green" marketing claims. You might also check out the Seven Sins of Greenwashing. Both have helpful hints for spotting manipulative marketing and keeping greenwashed products out of your home.
If you're looking for companies that make green cleaning supplies, you might check out Seventh Generation or Ecover. Of course, the best way to ensure that your cleaning products are really green is probably to make your own!