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How Do I Know if a Cleaning Product Is “Green?”
The good news is that environmental groups, state legislators, the EPA, and the cleaning products industry are all working together to improve the products that you use every day.   Although Green Cleaning has only been fashionable for the last decade or so, we have been working on developing more environmentally-sound cleaning products for more than 50 years.

The cleaning products industry has understood the importance of biodegradable cleaning products since the 1950s.  In the 1970s, the industry removed all CFCs from aerosols.  In the 1990s, products became more concentrated (“ultras”) which reduced packaging.  Cleaning products have been getting “greener” through innovation and continuous improvement – long before the “green” movement was even around!

Green Cleaning – It’s Not Just Black & White

Years ago, “green” was simply what you got when you mixed yellow and blue.  Today, however, the word “green” can mean “environmentally friendly.”  “Green” products are lining store shelves, and the Internet is abuzz with tips for green living and step-by-step instructions for making your own “earth-friendly” household cleaning products.  But does homemade always mean “green”?  Is green always safer?  The amount of information out there can be overwhelming. 

To most of us, the idea of green cleaning means using products that are better for the environment.  But better than what?  And what makes a product “good” for the environment?

So what exactly does it mean to be green?  Does “green” mean considered safe for humans and animals?  Does it mean that a product is made from plants and not petroleum?  Biodegradable? Less packaging? Recyclable? 

Yes, green can means all of those things.   But green must also mean “effective.”  A cleaning product that does not clean well is not good for the environment.  Producing and packaging a useless cleaning product is a waste of time and energy, which is very “un-green.”

If you want to buy cleaning products that are environmentally friendly, you need to understand and be able to evaluate claims on a label. “Green” certification criteria are generally available online by the certifiers.

So what is “Green Cleaning?”

Green Cleaning is the commitment to make, use, and dispose of cleaners with people and the environment in mind.  You are making your world a little greener when you use a cleaning product that is safe and effective, and you follow all product instructions and dispose of the product properly.