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The Rise of Green Cleaning: Why Consumers are Choosing Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

As more and more people become environmentally conscious, more products appear on store shelves claiming to be “green,” “eco-friendly,” or “natural,” including household cleaning products like laundry detergent and disinfectant spray. American consumers are increasingly leaning towards “going green,” with many wanting healthier, safer, and more environmentally friendly choices in their products they use at home.

The market for eco-friendly cleaning products has surged in recent years, from total retail sales of $303 million in 2007 to $640 million in 2011, according to a report by Packaged Facts (2015). There was a dip in growth from 2010 to 2014 during the recession, suggesting that most consumers are not willing to pay for more expensive products even if they are more eco-friendly. For the most part, green cleaning still attracts a niche consumer, accounting for about 3% of the total household cleaner and laundry product market. But the fact remains that the market for eco-friendly products continues to rise. This paper examines market research conducted by Packaged Facts to understand why consumers want these products, what this type of consumer looks like, and how we can predict the market share for eco-friendly and green cleaning products is expected to grow in the coming years.

Literature Review

In a Packaged Facts (2015) market report entitled Green Household Cleaning Products in the U.S., 3rd Edition, a detailed analysis of eco-friendly cleaning products covers market size and growth, predictions and market forecast, a look at consumer habits, product trends, and competition. The consumer is ultimately the most important part of this equation since green cleaning falls under a small niche, albeit the market is still growing over time.

References

P. (2015, March 15). Green Household Cleaning and Laundry Products in the U.S., 3rd Edition. Retrieved February 6, 2019, from https://www.packagedfacts.com/Green-Household-Cleaning-8825323/
Packaged Facts. (2015, April 30). Report: Growth Opportunities Remain for Green Household Cleaning Products Market [Press release]. Retrieved February 6, 2019, from https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/report-growth-opportunities-remain-for-green-household-cleaning-products-market-300075221.html

A Solution to the Harmful Effects of Standard Cleaners

From sprayed countertops to wiped windows, cleanliness has become a priority in the everyday home.

While apartments have cleaning checks, a clean house is a manifestation of wealth.

It is common courtesy to clean up before guests arrive, and there is more pressure to have a clean house if the guests are of higher status – whether this be a work boss or a rich neighbor.

Home magazines have pages filled with pristine rooms portrayed as the ideal.

With cleaning a priority, cleaning products are a necessity, and as cleaning products are now ubiquitous, their impact on people and the environment has become clear.

People are choosing environmentally friendly cleaning products because it is healthful to them, others, and the environment.

Personal Safety

Cleaning products can be harmful to the user, which is why people are turning towards more eco-friendly options.

The harms of cleaning products can be as benign as eye or throat irritation, while others can cause cancer (American Lung Association, 2019).

Common household cleaners like Windex have Ammonium Hydroxide and Ethanolamine. According to the GHS, Ammonium Hydroxide is harmful if swallowed, causes severe skin burns and eye damage, and is very toxic to aquatic life.

Stated precautions include washing exposed skin thoroughly after handling, avoiding release into the environment, calling poison control if swallowed, and keeping the chemical locked away (LabChem, 2013). Ethanolamine is arguably worse as it targets the liver, heart, and lungs, has oral, inhalation, and dermal toxicity, and is a skin corrosive (Sigma-Aldrich, 2013).

Both chemicals not only are harmful to humans, but they also have extreme effects on aquatic animals, which makes these chemicals an environmental concern as well. Other, more eco-friendly, general household cleaners use natural ingredients to produce the same…

References

“Attitude All Purpose Eco Cleaner Cleaner Rating. ” EWG Tap Water Database, Environmental
Working Group, 2019, www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/3429-AttitudeAllPurposeEcoCleaner.

“Cleaning Supplies and Household Chemicals. ” American Lung Association, American Lung Association, 2019, www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/indoor/indoor-air-pollutants/cleaning-supplies-household-chem.html.

“ETHANOLAMINE | Substance. ” EWG Tap Water Database, Environmental Working Group, 2019, www.ewg.org/guides/substances/2073-ETHANOLAMINE.

LabChem, “Ammonium Hydroxide, 28-30% w/w,” 1. 2, 06/26/2013

Sigma-Aldrich; 4. 10; Sigma-Aldrich: Saint Louis MO, 7/2/2013, http://www.uccaribe.edu/research/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Ethanolamine. pdf (2/7/2019)

“Windex Advanced Glass & Multi-Surface Cleaner Cleaner Rating. ” EWG Tap Water Database, Environmental
Working Group, 2019, www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/1418-WindexAdvancedGlassMultiSurfaceCleaner.