We all like a clean home but at what cost to our environment.
Here are three questions to consider before the next purchase of a cleaning product.
1. What is it made from?
Many of the ingredients in most cleaning products can contribute to water and air pollution, for example,
- Phosphates are toxic to fish.
- Chlorine can react with other minerals to create dangerous toxins that linger for years.
- Phthalates found in most fragrances are shown to cause severe reproductive and developmental disruptions.
- Volatile Organic Compounds such as Ammonia, Nitrogen and Phosphorous can be air pollutants and dangerous water contaminants.
- Methylisothiazolinone is highly toxic to freshwater and marine organisms.
- 1,4-Dioxane can be an animal carcinogen.
- Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPES) are highly toxic to aquatic life.
To help you decipher the list of ingredients, use the resources listed at the end. The Chemical Maze app is excellent as a carry-with-you guide for most chemicals.
2. How is it packaged?
Lightweight, efficient, sustainable packaging leads to less waste.
- Glass or paper, not plastic packaging
- Concentrates because they require less packaging
- Products that require you to bring your own container
- Bulk purchases
3. Is it a local product?
Ask this question to determine the environmental cost of the miles that it has travelled to get to our door. Fewer transport miles mean fewer carbon emissions.
In summary, reducing the environmental impact of cleaning products is better for the earth and for us. Fortunately, there are now many more environmentally conscious products to choose from. If not in your area, then look up a DIY cleaner online. Often these are also the cheapest option.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
The Environmental Working Group (EWG)
The Chemical Maze App