Make sure it's Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) certified - Why?
Until recently and even at present time, most cleaning companies cleaned for appearance which is what their clients were looking for. However, more and more home owners are concerned with the chemicals that are used in their homes and are looking for better alternatives. Green cleaning is not only cost effective, but it is better for a home’s indoor air quality and making it better environment for families.
But with so many products on the market these days, how do you know which ones are truly "Green"? Here are some suggestions on what to look for when choosing green cleaning products:
Is the product certified? Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) is Australia's only independent, not-for-profit, multi-sector Eco-labeling program and is the only Australian member with GENICES recognition from the Global Eco-labeling Network (GEN).
Is the product non-toxic? Look for products that are non-toxic to humans and aquatic life.
Is the product biodegradable? Biodegradable means that it can be broken down by microbial action. The longer it takes to break down, the more harmful it is to the environment. Check the label to see if it says it's biodegradable.
Is the product concentrated or ready-to-use? Ready-to-use cleaners are composed of 90% water, which means extra energy and packaging went into making this product. And extra packaging means extra solid waste ending up in our landfills. Concentrated product however, uses very little water and less packaging, which is much more environmentally friendly. It also cuts down on weight, which means less cost associated with the fuel needed to transport product to its final destination.
Does the product work in cold water? Using cold water saves energy, whereas the need for using hot water with the chemical uses more energy.
Does the product contain chlorine bleach? The waste water after using a product containing chlorine bleach can react with other chemicals, which can be toxic.
Is the product derived from petroleum? Petroleum-based solvents are made from non-renewable resources, they are flammable, and can be toxic when inhaled. It's better to use solvents derived from pine oil or citrus because they're considered renewable resources.
Is the product an aerosol? Aerosol bottles can be dangerous if punctured, as they may produce an uncontrolled spray, which can put you at risk of exposure.
Is the product neutral in pH? Neutral pH products are safer for the environment and end user. Acidic or alkaline products can burn if accidentally spilled on your skin. A pH of 7.0 is considered neutral.
EDTA and NTA. Avoid purchasing products that contain these ingredients. Instead look for alternatives such as sodium citrate, sodium bicarbonate, sodium carbonate or sodium silicate.
VOC Concentration. Look for products that have a VOC concentration of no more than 10% of weight of the product when diluted for use as directed.
Is the packaging made from recycled products? Many containers and cardboard boxes are made from "post consumer" materials.
Once you've decided to make the switch to green cleaning products, use this as your guide for making the right choices.