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The Switch to Green Cleaning and Environmentally Safe Product

Cleaning the house is not something that many people like to do. The yellow gloves come out, along with several cleaning products, and the scrubbing starts. These cleaning products could consist of bleach, and a scented floor and bathroom cleaner. All are effective cleaning products, but they are also extremely dangerous. Many of these products have warning labels that describe them as toxic, flammable, and may even cause sickness or death. Not to mention, these chemicals are also hazardous to the environment. As society becomes more aware of these dangers, there is a growing movement to shift towards environmentally safe or “green” cleaning products. Using green cleaning products is healthier for people, safer for the environment, and are more cost-efficient.

Health Dangers of household cleaning products

To prove that green cleaning products are better for people’s health, the dangers of conventional cleaning products must be shown.  Many of these products are known to contain chemicals that harm the human body. Ann Evans (2005) states that these chemicals are associated with cancer, harm to kidneys and other organs, and cause issues with the nervous system (para. 8). Also, product labels do not say anything about the “dangers associated with prolonged or long-term usage” (Evans, 2005, para. 6). This is quite shocking as Evans suggests that consumers are unaware that there could be serious long-term effects with continued use of these products. Evans (2005) says cleaning products like glass, bathroom, and all-purpose cleaners are all known to contain chemicals that are hazardous to the human body (para. 17, 20, 23). There are serious health risks associated with these cleaning products that the public is not being made aware of.

Environmentally  Friendly  Cleaning  Products

When  reflecting  upon  the  reason  for  the  shift  towards  environmentally  friendly  cleaning  products, there  are  several  things  to  consider. Are  more  people  concerned  about  the  environment? Or are  people  who  have  previously  been  concerned  about  the  environment  becoming  more  proactive? Or  is  it  a  combination  of  both? Could  this  shift  be  bolstered  by  the  wider  variety  of  eco-friendly  cleaning  products  now  available? Or  is  it  something  else  entirely?

Are  more  people  becoming  concerned  about  the  environment? A  Pew  Research  study  performed  in  2016  showed  that  almost  three  quarters  of  Americans  believe  that  the  US  should  “do  whatever  it  takes  to  protect  the  environment” (Anderson, 2017). According  to  a  Gallop  Poll (2016), concern  about  global  warming  has  continued  to  increase. Revkin (2019) speculates  that  the  increase  in  natural  disasters  may  have  sparked  an  interest  in  environmental  protection  in  people  who  otherwise  wouldn’t  pay  attention. It  is  obvious  that  more  and  more  Americans  are  becoming  concerned  with  environmental  issues. This  could  partially  be  the  reason  for  the  shift  towards  environmentally  friendly  cleaning  products.

Perhaps  there  is  another  reason  for  the  shift  towards  environmentally  friendly  cleaning  products. Perhaps  people  who  have  always  been  concerned  about  the  environment  are  just  becoming  more  pro-active. As  Revkin (2019) points  out, there  is  a  huge  gap  between  awareness  and  action. Perhaps  that  gap  is  narrowing. Reasons  for  this  should  be  considered.

Education  may  play  a  role  in   the  increased  interest  in  environmental  protection.

Going Green: Why Consumers are Choosing Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

What motivates people to “clean green?” On the surface, the answer might seem obvious: people want to do their part to help the planet. However, there are several compelling factors that have enticed more consumers to use eco-friendly cleaning products. Shockingly, a positive attitude towards green cleaning products is only a small part of the equation. For consumers to use green products, a positive attitude towards the products must be combined with a fair perceived cost (Moser, 2015). Perceived cost does not just refer to the actual price of the item; it also includes personal costs like extra time and energy to find and use these products compared to non-green ones. This balance of positive perception versus perceived cost is complicated by consumer belief in the product claim (Tucker, Rifon, Lee, & Reese, 2013, p. 9). Product claim is what a product is advertised to do. In the case of green cleaning products, they are advertised to be less harmful to the environment than other cleaning products, while still getting the job done. Belief in product claim is an important factor for consumers when considering if a product is worthwhile (Tucker et al., 2013, p. 9). Therefore, I argue that consumers transition to eco-friendly cleaning because they see it as worth the cost, due to greater accessibility, overall satisfaction with the product performance, and belief in product claims.

It is likely that consumers are transitioning towards eco-friendly products as the overall costs decrease. Although people commonly believe green products are more expensive, this isn’t the case: researchers have found no significant difference in price between green cleaning products and other cleaning products (Espinosa, Everson & Geiger, 2011, p 12). Further, as green products become more readily available, the time and energy costs of obtaining these products also decrease. When these decreases in cost are combined with the benefit of helping the environment, these products become much more appealing to consumers.

The Superiority of Green Cleaning Products over Regular Cleaning Products

Due to the increased awareness and demand from an ecologically-minded population, there has been an explosion of green cleaning products into the market. The traditional cleaning products have been linked to some illnesses such as respiratory complications as well as environmental degradation (Barbarossa & Pastore, 2015). As such, green cleaning products are seen as a relatively safe alternative. Although the application of these products has been criticized as a marketing gimmick, there is conclusive evidence to show that the benefits to the environment and the health of individuals far outweigh those of chemical cleaners.

The composition of the products ensures that they are healthier for human beings and the environment. Further, these products are safer for the workers in the industries where they are manufactured. Traditional cleaning agents pose safety risks to those who handle them, especially from chemical burns to the eyes or the skin. Barbarossa & Pastore (2015) argue that manufacturers lose an average of $25 million every year from lost time and workers compensation as a result of these injuries. Green cleaning products address the health and safety concerns of the workers. To be certified green, the products must have the requisite safety and health labels with training being available to ensure that the workers use the products safely.

However, critics argue that bio-based products are likely to cause more harm to the environment than conventional products. Research shows that these products damage the ozone layer thereby leading to climate change. There also lacks sufficient evidence on the health effects of the chemicals that are used in the manufacture of green products. Bearth et al. (2017) posit that this lack of data and reliable studies on their health and environmental benefits shows that the use of the products is based on politics and sentiments.

Overall, the benefits that accrue from using the eco-friendly products outweigh any doubt that may exist about their effectiveness. Since virtually every product that human beings buy potentially harms the environment either during the production, use or disposal, it is essential to consider those that minimize the adverse effects. The usage of eco-friendly cleaning products is a step in the right direction towards environmental conservation and safeguarding of people’s health.

References

Barbarossa, C., & Pastore, A. (2015). Why environmentally conscious consumers do not

Purchase green products: a cognitive mapping approach. Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, 18(2), 188-209.

Bearth, A., Miesler, L., & Siegrist, M. (2017). Consumers’ risk perception of household cleaning and washing products. Risk analysis, 37(4), 647-660.

Espinoza, T., Everson, I., & Geiger, C., 2011. The Real Costs of Institutional “Green” Cleaning.

(Master’s thesis). Retrieved from Research Gate.

Moser, A. K., 2015. Executive summary of “Thinking green, buying green? Drivers of pro-

environmental purchasing behaviour.” Journal of Consumer Marketing, 32, p. 167-175.  

            doi: 10.1108/JCM-05-2015-030

Tucker, E. M., Rifon, N. J., Lee, E. M., & Reece, B. B., 2012. Consumer receptivity to green

ads: A test of green claim types and the role of individual consumer characteristics for green ad response. Journal of Advertising, 41, p. 9-23.

doi: 10.2753/JOA0091-3367410401

Anderson, M. (2017, April 20). For  Earth  Day, here’s  how  Americans  view  environmental  issues. Retrieved  from  https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/04/20/for-earth-day-heres-how-americans-view-environmental-issues/

Revkin, A. (2019, January 24). Most Americans now worry about climate change—and want to fix it,  Retrieved  from  https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/01/climate-change-awareness-polls-show-rising-concern-for-global-warming/

Saad, L., Jones, J.M. (2016, March 16). US  concern  about  global  warming  at  Eight-year  high. Retrieved  from  https://news.gallup.com/poll/190010/concern-global-warming-eight-year-high.aspx

 

 

The Reason for More Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

Humans often have a huge impact on the environment whether it’s positive or not. For the past few decades or so, there has been more of a negative impact causing noticeable environmental changes. These changes has brought on warmer weather, mass extinction of animals and even polluted air. The actions of humans changing the natural environment system has made it even more difficult to tackle the inequalities of health (McMichael, Friel, Nyong & Corvalan 2008). In sight of this, many businesses, most notably the cleaning industry have decided to “go green.” The shift toward environmentally friendly cleaning products helps to lower pollution, ultimately causing restoration to health.

Courtesy iStock

Human and Environmental Health Problems

The decline in both human and environmental health is the sole purpose of natural cleaning products. Pollution has contributed to a majority of these health declines, by way of harsh chemicals. Various countries across the globe have begun to realize this threat and worked towards minimizing this harmful impact on the environment (Joshi & Rahman, 2015). Society’s heavy use of chemically infused products has found its way into the air that we breathe, the water that we drink, and has affected our food source. For example, chlorine is used in many cleaning products such as bleach. These types of products are often used in sinks or toilets and goes down into the drain pipe, ultimately leading into the ocean. Animals that live in the ocean end up becoming contaminated by these chemicals and when consumed affects the health of an individual. These very same harmful chemicals are also found in the soil and water supply which can cause plants to die and create poisoned waters. Environmentally-friendly cleaning products are ideal because of their low toxicity and organic value ( United States Environmental Protection Agency).

Going Green

Citizens of the United States should focus on “going green” and taking responsibility for the environment. Society would be healthier if everyone ate plant-based, organic, gluten-free, and preferably vegan foods. Drinking green tea instead of coffee and consuming more water each day is better for the human body. The percentage of obesity in America would greatly reduce if each person focused more on physical exercise at least three times a week. See a pattern with each of these statements? There is no denying that America is obsessed with health, wellness, and eco-friendly living. Therefore, the shift towards purchasing environmentally friendly cleaning products falls into this “health obsession” category. Why is this? Some may argue that society is more educated than ever due to readily-available research online, and a higher college attendance overall. While that may be true, one prominent reason stands out above all: Environmentally friendly cleaning products are a popular trend in America right now due to two, key reasons: 1) Based on the idea behind social psychology, it is common nature for most people to “follow the crowd.” 2) Clever marketing tactics sway people in the direction of a supposedly healthier brand.

The strong influence that people have on one another is a huge factor when considering why more and more people are purchasing environmentally friendly cleaning products. According to a Psychology Today article, the concept of group polarization may pose an explanation for this popular trend. Group polarization means that “a group of likeminded people reinforce one another’s viewpoints” (Henderson, 2017). In other words, putting people together in a group is likely to strengthen one opinion over another. Like the “If I jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?” question, it is proven that humans will rely on others when deciding what to do, think, or say. According to psychologist, Robert Cialdini, “Whether the question is what to

do with an empty popcorn box in a movie theater, how fast to drive on a certain stretch of highway, or how to eat the chicken at a dinner party, the actions of those around us will be important in defining the answer” (Henderson, 2017).

What are the Reasons for the Shift towards More Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products?

Personal norms as internal motivation. (Krewski, 2005)

found that the carcinogenic properties of most conventional cleaning materials were three times higher than when compared to environmentally friendly products; it is posited that this is most likely due to the raised levels of Aluminium within the conventional cleaning materials (12).
(Manoguerra 1992) also found that the second most common reason for the mortality of children under the age of five is poisoning via household cleaning materials – whilst most environmentally friendly cleaning supplies are non-toxic, and thus not hazardous to children (114).

Environmental impact as external motivation. (Arey 2003)

found that the phosphorus, nitrogen and ammonia found in traditional cleaning supplies was contributing to the destruction of the ozone layer, as well as potentially causing respiratory problems in those who have repeated exposure to these compounds (8). Not only are we slowly destroying our ozone layer, but (Wood 2012) also found that the amount of chemical waste produced in the manufacturing of traditional cleaning products (roughly 40 000 garbage trucks full per annum) was contributing to the contamination of water sources, such as underground water tables (43).

The reasons for the shift. (Oltra 2004)

states that, according to her studies, the only marketing strategy which shows significant advantages is marketing environmentally friendly cleaning products using human health risks as a motivation factor (23). (Oltra 2004) found that environmental motivation, such as damage to the ozone layer or concerns pertaining to pollution, did not hold much weight with many consumers (56).

According to the study of Picket-Baker & Ozaki (2008) entitled, “Pro-environmental Products: Marketing Influence on Consumer Purchase Decision”, there is a significant relationship between marketer’s decision and effects of environmental friendly cleaning products. The study emphasized that there is wide shift of preferences among consumers towards pro-environment products than normal cleaning product. Though consumers are not highly equipped how to identify pro-environment products, they still buy it more despite of the marketing strategy of normal cleaning products claiming to be effective. Consumers nowadays are more concerned how the cleaning materials they use affect the environment.

It is a common knowledge currently among household workers that cleaning products that are not environment friendly are 3x toxic than pro-environment products (Environmental Protection Agency, 2018). Thus, such products can lead to serious illness like Cancer. Environmental Protection Agency also states that non-environmental friendly products are also hazardous to outdoor air.

To support this idea, www.organicconsumers.org (n.d.) implicates that some all-purpose cleaners contain sudsing agents, diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA) which trigger Nitrites. Nitrites are preservative or contaminant that produces Nitrosamines, a Carcinogen that penetrate human skin. These toxins are heavily found in cleaning products. In addition to that, Fumes from Ammonia present in some cleaners and Sodium Hydroxide (Bleach) can lead to Respiratory Irritation.

Another investigation by Environmental Working Group within 2000 Cleaning Supplies in America has found a correlation between the specified substances to serious health problems. Some of their findings are as follows: a) Fumes present in cleaning products may induce Asthma; b) Common Cleaning ingredients can be laced with the Carcinogenic Impurity 1-4 dioxane. Such substance is found to release low levels of Cancer causing Formaldehyde.

Another risk factor that supports this idea is that children born by women who were exposed to cleaning jobs have birth defects (New York State Department of Health, 2010). Some cleansers too can cause to less severe allergies.

Due to this emerging health concerns, Pro-environment Cleaning Products is now highly preferred by consumers in the recent market research.

References

M Belis-Bergouignan, V Oltra, M Saint Jean (2004). Trajectories towards clean technology: an in-depth examination of customer tendencies. Journal of Research in Personality, 22, 22-57. doi:10.1016/0032-026X.56.6.985.x.

R Atkinson, J Arey (2003). Volatile Organic Compounds and their usage in industrial cleaning materials. American Chemical Society, 103, 5 – 12. doi: 10.1021/cr0206420.

T Litovitz, A Manoguerra (1992). Comparison of Pediatric Poisoning Hazards: An Analysis of 3.8 Million Exposure Incidents. American Association of Poison Control Centers 57, 100-121. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0404.1986.tb04635.x.

D Krewski, J Lubin (2005). Residential radon and risk of lung cancer: a combined analysis of 7 North American case-control studies. McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment 4, 4-12. doi: 0.1145/2783446.2783609.

J Pascoe, D Wood (2012). The Lifelong Effects of Early Childhood Adversity and Toxic Stress. The committee on psychosocial aspects of child and family health, committee on early childhood, adoption, and dependent care, and section on developmental and behavioral pediatrics 27, 39 – 43. doi: 10.1037/rmh0000008.

Pickett-Baker, J., & Ozaki, R. (2008). Pro-environmental products: marketing influence on consumer purchase decision. Journal of consumer marketing25(5), 281-293.

Indoor Air Quality. (2018, July 16). Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/report-environment/indoor-air-quality

How Toxic Are Your Household Cleaning Supplies? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/how-toxic-are-your-household-cleaning-supplies

Environmental Working Group (n.d.). Cleaning Supplies and Your Health. Retrieved from https://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/content/cleaners_and_health

Cleaning Supplies and Household Chemicals. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/indoor/indoor-air-pollutants/cleaning-supplies-household-chem.html

Henderson, R. (2017, May 24). The Science Behind Why People Follow the Crowd. Retrieved April 28, 2019, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/after-service/201705/the-science-behind-why-people-follow-the-crowd

Joshi, Yatish., & Rahman, Zillur. (2015). Factors Affecting Green Purchase Behaviour and Future Research Directions. Journal of International Strategic Management Review, Volume 3 (1-2), 128-143. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ism.2015.04.001

McMichael, A J., Friel, S., Nyong, A., & Corvalan, C. (2008). Global environmental change and health: impacts, inequalities, and the health sector. Journal of BMJ, Volume 336 (7637), 191-194. Retrieved from https://dx.doi.org/10.1136%2Fbmj.39392.473727.AD

United States Environmental Protection Agency. Greening Your Purchase of Cleaning Products: A Guide For Federal Purchasers. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/greenerproducts/greening-your-purchase-cleaning-products-guide-federal-purchasers

 

 

 

The Worldwide Shift Towards Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products

For the past decade, there has been a sharp rise in the usage of cleaning products that are environmentally friendly. Consumers have become more conscious of their own carbon footprint, as well as how their choices affect both the environment and themselves. Eco friendly brands such as Puracy Natural Dish Soap and Bon Ami Cleaning Powder have gained traction with consumers. A large percentage of the population have become aware of the harm the chemicals found in cleaning products poses to them. The rise in usage and shift towards environmentally friendly cleaning products is due to the general populations rising awareness of global environmental issues and the threat they pose to the global population.

Courtesy iStock

Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

According to the Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (IJOEM), a Gallup survey on climate change awareness was conducted in multiple countries around the world. Climate change awareness was “…found to be 75% in Brazil, 41% in South Africa, 59% in China, and highest awareness was observed in [the] United States that was 94% ” (Pandve, Chawla, Fernandez, Singru, Khismatrao, Pawar, para. 11. 2011). In fact, according to IJOEM, sixty five percent of respondents to a survey stated that “ …lifestyle changes would be most effective in tackling climate change and [to] prevent further changes in climate…75% opined that personal efforts should be made to reduce the climate change ” (Pandve, et al. para.14. 2011). Clearly a large percentage of the global population is well aware of climate change and the danger it poses. Furthermore, this awareness has evidently translated into the everyday consumers choice of purchasing environmentally friendly cleaning products, as well as shopping from corporations who have begun to shift in the same direction. The awareness of climate change has made consumers aware of the fact that their purchases have an impact, not just on their own bodies, but on our precious environment.

Although scientists universally agree that there is strong evidence to support that Climate Change is real, the acceptance of Climate Change has been controversial for over a decade Although the controversy has seemingly stagnated the conversation, in recent years, consumers have begun to acknowledge that Climate Change has moved closer into the spotlight of public concern. Increased awareness of the impact of consumption on the environment conflated with changing attitudes toward “green” behavior has caused consumers to begin switching to a more “green”-oriented consumption pattern (Chen & Chai, 2010; Litvine & Wüstenhagen, 2011).

Across all green product types, green cleaning products have been accepted at a seemingly higher rate. A major driver of this shift could potentially be an artifact of closely related target segments growing. For example, as holistic remedies and chemical-free homes are in higher demand, perhaps the search for chemical-free cleaners will end in a product that happens to also be environmentally-friendly. Another explanation could be the desire to adhere to social norms or the “status quo.” As consumers typically do not adhere to the rational actor paradigm and often succumb to heuristics and biases, the inner-desire to align one’s self with the social norm—especially from social inputs that of great influence to the actor—is very strong (Samuelson & Zeckhauser, 1998).

This paper attempts to address the mechanism underlying the specific shift in consumer attitudes toward green cleaning products. Specifically, it is hypothesized increased desire to consume in a socially responsible pattern, growing overlap of goals with other target segments (e.g. holistic consumers, cost-sensitive consumers, etc.), and social norming / status quo bias have driven the rise of demand for environmentally-responsible cleaning products.

Factors Contributing to the Rise in Use of Environmentally-Friendly Cleaning Products

Climate change and modern society’s effect on the environment have become central issues in the global consciousness.  Indeed, according to the Counsel of Foreign Relations (2009), majorities in each of the 25 nations surveyed believed that climate change is a serious issue.  There are many ways that individuals can modify their behavior to reduce their negative effect on the environment.  One such option chosen by many households is to switch to environmentally-friendly cleaning products.  A general increase in the use of environmentally-conscious cleaning products is attributable to (i) concerns regarding the negative health effects of traditional cleaning products, (ii) an increase in the world population’s concern with the environment, and (iii) legislation enacted to discourage the use of harmful products.

Health Concerns Regarding Traditional Cleaning Products

New scientific research has shown that traditional cleaning products may have negative effects on the health of those exposed to the area in which such products are used.  For example, some studies have suggested that traditional cleaning products emit pollutants that can exacerbate or even cause asthma (United States Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], 2017).   Possible offending cleaning agents include bleach, ammonia. chlorine, and common detergents and disinfectants (EPA, 2017).  In addition, the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration reported that over 10,000 emergency room visits in 1986 were attributable to soaps, detergents, and other cleaning compounds (EPA, 2017).  In addition to acute adverse reactions, harmful chemical cleaners can also pose long-term risks.  For example, certain compounds present in common cleaners may seep into the water supply.  Exposed individuals may suffer disruption of their endocrine system (hormone regulation), which can lead to children with birth defects (EPA, 2018).

Shifting to Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products

While the benefits of environmentally friendly cleaning products to the planet are frequently discussed, what is sometimes overlooked is how good they can be for consumers directly.  Contrary to popular belief, eco-friendly cleaning products are often more cost effective for consumers than some name brand products.  Green cleaning supplies are also safer to use around the house.  Perhaps the most important benefit, however, is the benefit to the consumer’s personal health.  Overall, environmentally friendly household cleaning products are a smarter choice for the average shopper.

While recent studies suggest that consumers are more willing to pay the extra cost of eco-friendly products (Biswas & Roy, 2016), it is important to look at just what the cost difference really is.  Work done out of the University of British Columbia shows that while the common perception is that the more ecologically responsible products are more expensive, the difference is relatively insignificant.  The average cost per 100 ml of non-green cleaning products was surprisingly found to be only $0.04 higher than the average cost per 100 ml of green products (Chang, Jang, Au & Li, 2015).  This cost difference could be further reduced, however, by looking beyond just store bought products.

Many effective cleaning products can be made using household supplies such as vinegar, bleach, or hydrogen peroxide that many people already have on hand.  When this is taken into account, the cost of ecologically dangerous cleaning supplies can actually surpass the cost of non-green products.  When looking at the minor difference in costs between the two types of store bought cleaners, and factoring in that similar products can be affordably made at home, it is easy to see how a switch to green household cleaners can be economically advantageous.

The Harmful Effects of Cleaning Products on the Environment

Being in a cleanly space is incredibly important for ones physical and mental health.  Most know the importance in being sanitary to promote wellbeing and prevent sickness, but not everyone considers the effect being clean has on one’s mental state.  Cleaning and organization “helps us feel better about ourselves, it keeps us productive and it may very well keep us physically fit” (Ryback 2016).  While there are clear advantages to being clean, such as the aforementioned ones, it would behoove us to be more meticulous when it comes to choosing the products used in the process of this cleaning.  Our society has made it far too easy for us to reach for the simple, yet often times more damaging, option.  There are countless ways in which this can be seen, from fast food all the way to cleaning products, it is far too justifiable for someone to reach for the cheaper, heavily packaged item over one that may be more environmentally friendly.  The over consumption of single use products along with the harmful chemicals are detrimental to the earth.  There are several steps every person can take to create more environmentally friendly habits.

One can easily go out of their way to ensure they are lowering their use of plastic and single use products.  It does not come as a surprise to anyone that plastic is bad for the environment; however, many do not understand the ramifications plastic and single use cleaning products truly have on the earth.  Not only is there an unwarranted amount of excess packaging, but there is also lots materials required to produce these products.  According to the company Durafresh (2016), people are using 110 million trees and 130 million gallons of water every year due to the immense number of paper towels being used.  Over the course of ten years, this will be equivalent to over 1.1 billion trees and 1.3 billion gallons of water.  These materials could have had a far better use, causing this to have a monumental effect on the environment.

References

Durafresh. (2016, June 07). The environmental impact of paper towels. Retrieved from http://durafreshcloth.com/881-2/

Ryback, R., M.D. (2016, July 11). The Powerful Psychology Behind Cleanliness. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-truisms-wellness/201607/the-powerful-psychology-behind-cleanliness

Biswas, A., & Roy, M. (2016). A Study of Consumers’ Willingness to Pay for Green Products.

Journal of Advanced Management Science, 4, 211-215.

Chang, K., Jang, P., Au, S., & Li, Y. (2015). An Investigation into Sustainable Cleaning

Products. University of British Columbia.

Counsel of Foreign Relations. (2009, August 12). World Opinion on the Environment. Retrieved April 25, 2019, from https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/world-opinion-environment.

United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2017, March 30). Cleaning National Parks: Using Environmentally Preferable Janitorial Products at Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Retrieved April 25, 2019, from https://www.epa.gov/p2/cleaning-national-parks-using-environmentally-preferable-janitorial-products-yellowstone-and.

United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2018, November 28). Greening Your Purchase of Cleaning Products: A Guide for Federal Purchasers. Retrieved April 25, 2019, from https://www.epa.gov/greenerproducts/greening-your-purchase-cleaning-products-guide-federal-purchasers#One.

Chen, T. B., & Chai, L. T. (2010). Attitude towards the environment and green products: consumers’ perspective. Management science and engineering4(2), 27.

Litvine, D., & Wüstenhagen, R. (2011). Helping” light green” consumers walk the talk: Results of a behavioural intervention survey in the Swiss electricity market. Ecological Economics70(3), 462-474.

Samuelson, W., & Zeckhauser, R. (1988). Status quo bias in decision making. Journal of risk and uncertainty1(1), 7-59.

Pandve, H. T., Chawla, P. S., Fernandez, K., Singru, S. A., Khismatrao, D., & Pawar, S. (2011, September). Assessment of awareness regarding climate change in an urban community. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3299094/

Are Millennials Killing Industries

By Maid in Your Hometown

Industries Dying Out

According to the many attention grabbing headlines of today, millennials are responsible for killing everything from paper towels to diamonds. On one hand we simply have less money in our pockets than our parents did to spend on frivolous purchases. However, perhaps more importantly, millennials are killing industries off left and right because we tend to spend what little money we have on products that will support causes we believe in, even if that means paying a bit more for the same thing. As the first generation to live their lives in the shadow of climate change, there is perhaps no more unifying cause among millennials than the fight to protect our environment. This is bad news for traditional paper towels, but every social trend in capitalist America has a marketing plan jogging behind it. Enter the rise of recycled paper towels. The shift toward environmentally friendly cleaning products is directly attributed to the shift in consumer prioritization away from cost and convenience towards conscientiousness, brought on by a new generation of consumers unified by their concern for the environment.

Courtesy iStock

Marketing to Millennials

According to Millennial Marketing, 50% of millennials are more likely to purchase from a company if that purchase supports a meaningful cause, and 37% are more likely to do so even if that means paying more (Who Are Millenials, n.d.). This has given rise to the Green Marketing trend, where familiar products such as paper towels get revamped and rebranded as environmentally friendly. The challenge here is in identifying what it means to be green, a headache for both the producer and the consumer. Inconsistent labeling and standards combined with tone-deaf messaging can throw industries off the mark as they try to capture the zeitgeist of millennial consumerism. At the same time, consumers struggle with misinformation as they try to assess the greenness of each and every product under the sun (Bluelinemedia, n.d.). Essentially, not all products are easily rebranded under the green marketing trend. However, cleaning products are uniquely positioned to succeed. By swapping “harmful” chemicals with “natural” ones that are safer for your baby and the environment, marketers and consumers have something to feel good about.

Cultural Shift

In the recent years, a cultural shift has been seen in the manufacturing and marketing of cleaning products. This shift has led towards an emphasis on environmentally friendly, or green, cleaning products. The United States Environmental Protection Agency defines green cleaning products as “less hazardous products that have positive environmental attributes” (EPA, 2018). However, to further define green cleaning, we can look to other resources to find the definition not a physical object but rather a concept. To quote the Canadian Green Cleaners Association, “there is no hard fast definition for ‘green’ because green is a concept, not a thing. Green can be viewed as a process. . . Cleaning green is more than switching a few products or equipment” (CGCA, 2015). Through a better understanding of the topic, we can see that the shift towards green cleaning products is due to a cultural, environmental, and economic shift towards greener living, all three of which are thoroughly intertwined.

The first facet to examine is the cultural change towards greener practices due to climate change. National Geographic focused climate changes impact on the U.S. economy, stating that the entirety of the economy would have to adapt to new markets spurned by the changing environment (Borunda, 2018). Seeing as climate change affects the entire globe, this economic adaptation has manifested worldwide, with a more environmentally-minded and educated society serving as a driving point.

As of 2019, Pew Research Center polled 40 countries to decide the populace’s opinion on global warming. Their research showed that a global median of 68% of the population believe climate change to be a major threat. (Fagan & Huang, 2019). With the global populace holding climate change to be a severe issue, the popularity of green cleaning products marketed to be better for the environment rose drastically.

The Reasons for the Surge of Popularity in Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

In today’s era where the disparity in wealth between the rich and the poor constantly increases, product cost plays the biggest role in decision making. However, as new information is released regarding the raw materials used in the production of commonly used household products, more and more individuals switch their deciding factor from cost efficiency to health impacts. Harsh chemicals and the lasting effects that they have on the body and environment become a deterrent, forcing people to consider other options. It is in this way that the environmentally friendly cleaning supplies have been able to gain momentum. Ready-made alternatives and Do it Yourself (DIY) videos have allowed the eco-friendly alternative to secure a major following in recent years, as consumers decide there is no price too high for peace of mind (Watson, 2017). Backed by the promise of less harsh ingredients, easy to follow DIY tutorials, and the developing environmental consciousness of society, eco-friendly cleaning products have seen a rise in popularity.

According to Barbarossa and De Pelsmacker (2014), the household consumption of products is the leading cause of most environmental issues. Improper waste disposal of generic household cleaning supplies leads to the generation of a larger carbon footprint. Along with this, the products usually contain raw materials which are unsuitable to be used for any extended period of time. The numerous symbols and safety precautions on the containers of such items seem out of place on a product advertised for the household. Although their eco-friendly counterparts are not entirely free from ingredients with adverse effects, they are considerably safer. Stricter regulations with regards to transparency, and a variety of conformity seals, allow consumers the luxury of knowing exactly what they’re paying for.

Going Green: The Benefits of Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

The rapid changing of the Earth’s climate has become a matter of global urgency and importance. More and more sectors such as the cleaning and hospitality industry are, in one way or another, trying its best to help mitigate this problem. With environmental awareness in mind, the demand for eco-friendly cleaning products increases as the level of urgency due to climate change also increases.

For the hospitality industry, the least it can do is to reduce toxic wastes coming from its cleaning products. According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (2019), common household cleaning and maintenance products can be corrosive, flammable, reactive, and toxic. Needless to say, its waste products do more harm than good in the environment. The chemicals from these products can enter the atmosphere as pollutants when used or disposed. When mixed with flood water, these chemicals can penetrate the soil which will eventually be absorbed by plants or trees. Depending on the amount and nature of the chemicals, the consequences can be fatal.

Eco-friendly or “green” cleaning products, on the other hand, utilizes non-toxic raw materials such as baking soda, vinegar, lemon, citric acid, olive oil, and many more. Shifting to green cleaning products not only do well with the outside environment but it also improves indoor air quality (Flowers, 2015). Aside from poor ventilation, chemicals from common cleaning products are also major contributors to poor indoor air quality. Using natural products such as essential oils cleanses the air and leaves a refreshing scent for the convenience of the residents. This implies that using green cleaning products entails favorable effects to both outside and inside environment.

References

Harrington, J. (2018, February 05). 5 Reasons Why You Should Use ‘Green’ Cleaning Products. Retrieved May 09, 2019, from https://learn.compactappliance.com/green-cleaning-products/

Sholl, J., Ohlson, K., White, J., & Eldred, S. M. (2018, March 22). 8 Hidden Toxins: What’s Lurking in Your Cleaning Products? Retrieved May 09, 2019, from https://experiencelife.com/article/8-hidden-toxins-whats-lurking-in-your-cleaning-products/

Flowers, J. (2015). Why You (Probably) Have Poor Indoor Air Quality. Retrieved from https://learn.compactappliance.com/causes-of-poor-indoor-air-quality/

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. (2019). Household Hazardous Waste [Ebook]. New York. Retrieved from https://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/materials_minerals_pdf/cleaning.pdf

Barbarossa, C., & Pelsmacker, P. D. (2014). Positive and Negative Antecedents of Purchasing

Eco-friendly Products: A Comparison Between Green and Non-green Consumers. Journal of Business Ethics, 134(2), 229-247. https://doi:10.1007/s10551-014-2425-z

Watson, S. (2017, November 02). Are Green Cleaners Better for You? Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/asthma/news/20171102/are-green-cleaners-better-for-your-health

Borunda, A. Climate Impacts Grow, and U.S. Must Act, Says New Report. (2018, November 23). Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/11/climate-change-US-report0/

Fagan, M., Huang, C. A Look at How People Around the World View Climate Change. (2019, April 18). Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/04/18/a-look-at-how-people-around-the-world-view-climate-change/

Greening Your Purchase of Cleaning Products: A Guide For Federal Purchasers. (2018,                    November 28). Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/greenerproducts/greening-your-purchase-cleaning-products-guide-federal-purchasers

What Does Green Cleaning Mean? (2015). Retrieved from http://www.greencleanersassociation.ca/index.php/ct-menu-item-19/ct-menu-item-49

Bluelinemedia, W. (n.d.). Retrieved April 25, 2019, from https://www.greenbuying.co.uk/thegrowthofgreenmarketing_622.php

Who Are Millennials. (n.d.). Retrieved April 25, 2019, from http://www.millennialmarketing.com/who-are-millennials/

 

Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products

By Maid in Your Hometown

In recent years, increased emphasis has been placed on the importance of environmentally responsible consumer behavior (Suresh & Devadasan, 2017; Kianpour, Anvari, Jusoh, & Othman, 2013). This increased emphasis has been aimed at massive international corporations all the way down to the average person. There are several factors that have led to the growth of the “green” industry and an increase in environmentally friendly products. Most people would likely point towards the increasing emphasis on the gravity and consequences of climate change that is portrayed in the media (NASA, 2019; Wihbey & Ward, 2016). Additionally, research has indicated that purchasing environmentally friendly products can be more cost-effective than shopping for “standard” products that may not be environmentally friendly (Biswas, 2016). Furthermore, celebrities and recognizable public figures have increasingly shifted towards supporting environmentally friendly products and initiatives (Goodman, Doyle, & Farrell, 2017). All of the previously stated variable have led to consumers becoming more informed and educated, which is critical for the worldwide changes that need to made to reverse or reduce the negative effects of climate change. Consumers are learning that common, older products contain harmful chemicals and additives that may be harmful to their friends and family members (Silent Spring Institute, 2014).

Courtesy iStock

The shift towards more environmentally friendly cleaning products has been driven by the increasing emphasis on the realities and dangers of climate change, companies producing cost-effective environmentally friendly products, and the increasing amount of celebrities and recognizable public figures endorsing these products.

The Shift Towards Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products

Earth is a home to us all. It is arguably the only planet that can sustain life. Its resources, although abundant, is limited and can never be replenished once depleted. Various chemicals found in cleaning products pose considerable risks to both humans and the environment, and the damage caused by these toxic chemicals to the environment is the reason why we are experiencing problems on a global scale. Several significant steps have been taken by governments and businesses around the world to create a solution to the continuous destruction being dealt with the environment by cleaning products that contain toxic chemicals. Chemicals obtained from petroleum and natural gas are called “petrochemicals.”  These chemicals have serious debilitating effects to the sea, atmosphere, climate, and to local ecosystems, and most cleaning products are made of these non-renewable, and non- or less-recyclable petrochemical-based ingredients and materials.

The goal of achieving sustainability is the reason for the shift towards environmentally cleaning products. Businesses and consumers from all over the world have actively participated in their respective governments’ efforts to achieve sustainability by creating environmentally friendly cleaning products. Zhu et al. (2016) state that with the arising of global climate change and resource shortage, in recent years, increased attention has been paid to environmentally friendly materials. This statement supports the fact that the collective efforts of consumers, businesses, and governments around the world, in the recent years are what pushed cleaning product manufacturers to seek sustainable resources for the production of their products.

Understanding the Change Towards Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products

We are exposed to toxic chemicals everyday, whether we realize or not. In the safety of our home, there are many household products that can harm us as much as it helps us in completing the everyday chores. The cleaning products that we use have chemicals that are hazardous, which are all mixed together, making an even more deadly concoction. We are then exposed to these chemicals when using these products, thus unintentionally harming ourselves. Due to this fact, many have opted to choose to buy environmentally friendly cleaning products. Not only are they reducing human contamination and helping the environment, but they are also reducing the chances of having any related health problems.

Chemical exposure is not limited to one part of the world and is becoming a global health hazard. Cleaning products are used every day and everywhere, whether it be the workplace, school, or even in someone’s home. Due to their potency for killing bacteria and other unwanted substances, the ingredients that are used in many of these products are dangerous and most likely fatal to ingest. However, due to its ability to travel in the air, we are continuously inhaling these chemicals, while unaware of the consequences. According to Lentz (2013) “we are birthing a generation of polluted children” (p. 302). Babies are defenseless from these chemicals even before they are born, and “exposure to these toxicants has been linked directly to increasing childhood diseases” (Lentz, 2013, p. 302). In addition to children, adults are even more at risk due to their long-term exposure, and the chances of getting any related health problems increases if their place of employment requires them to work closely with these chemicals. For instance, Pechter (2009) stated that “janitors are among the occupational groups reporting the highest number of work-related asthma and cleaning products have been as the exposures most frequently associated with their symptoms” (p. 46).

Modern day consumers are often overwhelmed by the number of choices for various products, especially home cleaning supplies. Countless brands promise similar results, but many consumers are opting for a different methodology entirely. The shift towards more environmentally friendly cleaning products is evident in not only purchasable items on store shelves but also in homemade variations. As awareness about humanity’s impact on the earth and its environment continues to spread, consumers are more carefully choosing everyday household products. The growing popularity of environmentally friendly cleaning products can be attributed to protecting health, limiting negative impacts on the environment, and reducing costs.

Consumers seeking to rid their homes and spaces of dust, allergens, and germs often choose eco-friendly alternatives due to health concerns. According to the EPA, cleaning products “may contain chemicals associated with eye, skin, or respiratory irritation, or other human health issues” (“Greening Your Purchase of Cleaning Products: A Guide For Federal Purchasers,” 2018). As consumers continue to expand awareness of these potential concerns, the move towards safer “green” options continues. It is recommended that purchasers also examine any chosen products carefully, taking into consideration the ingredients, manufacturer information, and any product studies.

Environmental concerns also lead to more consumers choosing green products, as issues such as global warming, the impacts of plastic use, and sustainable resources continue to remain prevalent in consumers’ minds. As Manuela D’Agata states, “Unless we adopt a sustainable approach to everything we do, we run the risk to negatively affect our day-to-day health, well being, and productivity” (D’Agata, 2019). Choosing environmentally friendly cleaners supports this vision, replacing potential harmful toxins with safe and sustainable options.

The Shift Toward Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

Cleaning products for the home have never been particularly good for the environment. Industrial cleaners discharged without proper cleanup have been far worse, yet there is a measurable shift toward home and heavy industrial cleaning products that are less dangerous to the environment. The overwhelming scientific consensus that the environment is being devasted by humans has influenced marketing practices to appeal to American consumers’ desires to help the environment, at least in some small ways. Market research have identified consumers that are willing to spend more on eco-friendly products as “the green consumer,” and those green consumers have become a much sought-after demographic (Yoshi & Rahman, 2015). Given that environmental conditions are not going to improve in the near future and that media emphasis on the harm people are doing to the environment, market forces will continue to drive the shift toward eco-friendly cleaning products.

References

 

Joshi, Y., & Z. R. (2015). Factors Affecting Green Purchase Behaviour and Future Research                    Directions. International Strategic Management Review, 3(1-2), 128-143. doi:https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2306774815000034?via=ihub

D’Agata, Manuela. (2019). Adopt Green Cleaning to Maximize the Benefits of the Green Building Trend. Retrieved from https://www.issa.com/articles/adopt-green-cleaning-
to-maximize-the-benefits-of-green-building-trend
.

Greening Your Purchase of Cleaning Products: A Guide For Federal Purchasers. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/greenerproducts/greening-your-
purchase-cleaning-products-guide-federal-purchasers
.

Lantz, S. (2013). Protecting children from toxic chemicals: Putting it on Australia’s public health

agenda. Journal of Public Health Policy, 34(4), 502-514. Retrieved from

http://www.jstor.org/stable/43288148

Pechter, E., Azaroff, L., López, I., & Goldstein-Gelb, M. (2009). Reducing Hazardous Cleaning

Product Use: A Collaborative Effort. Public Health Reports (1974-), 124, 45-52. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/25682172

American Chemical Society. (2008, January 22). Growing Consumer Demand For ‘Greener’ Cleaning Products Sparks Industry Changes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 13, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080121100554.htm

Mccoy, Michael. “GREENER CLEANERS: Consumer Demand for ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY Cleaning Products Has Changed the Game for Chemical Suppliers.” Chemical & Engineering News, vol. 86, no. 3, 2008, pp. 15–23.

Zhu, Hongli; Luo, Wei; Ciesielski, Peter N.; Fang, Zhiqiang; Zhu, J.Y.; Henriksson, Gunnar; Himmel, Michael E.; Hu, Liangbing. 2016. Wood-derived materials for green electronics, biological devices, and energy applications. Chemical Reviews. 116(16): 9305-9374.

Biswas, A. (2016). A study of consumers’ willingness to pay for green products. Journal of

Advanced Management Science, 4(3), 211-215. doi:10.12720/joams.4.3.211-215

Doyle, J., Farrell, N., & Goodman, M. K. (2017). Celebrities and Climate Change. Oxford

Research Encyclopedia of Climate Science, 1-27. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780190228620.013.596

Kianpour, K., Anvari, R., Jusoh, A., & Othman, M. (2013). Important motivators for buying

green products. Intangible Capital, 10(5), 872-896. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.3926/ic.470

NASA. (2019, 3). Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet. Retrieved from

https://climate.nasa.gov/

Silent Spring Institute. (2014, June 25). Consumer products contain potentially harmful

chemicals not listed on labels. Retrieved from https://silentspring.org/research-update/consumer-products-contain-potentially-harmful-chemicals-not-listed-labels

Suresh, A., & Devadasan, P. (2017). Going green in business-a study on the eco-friendly

initiatives towards sustainable development in India. International Journal of Applied Engineering and Management, 1(2), 40-48. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/deref/http%3A%2F%2Fdx.doi.org%2F10.5281%2Fzenodo.1017596

Wihbey, J., & Ward, B. (2016). Communicating about climate change with journalists and media

producers. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Climate Science, 1, 1-31. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780190228620.013.407

Is Bacteria Good or Bad?

By Maid in Your Hometown

In 2018 alone, the Poison Control Center received over 50,000 calls regarding human exposure 47 percent of which were children age six and younger. In addition, during the same year, 53 percent of the exposures to children fewer than five years old was due to personal care products and household cleaning substances. Adults are not as much at risk, however, still 18 percent of exposures to adults over the age of 20 was due to household cleaning substances (Children’s Hospital, 2019). Though these statistics are startling, there are ways exposures can be reduced significantly. Households should consider the benefits and risks associated with the type of cleaning products they use. Going “Green” will keep members of the household and the planet healthier, keep children safer, and, beyond popular belief, save money, and be an excellent essay writer.

Courtesy iStock

Dangers to Skin

Believe it or not, humans walk around with their largest and most vulnerable organ out in the open every day – the skin. In fact, it is said that rubbing a garlic clove under the toe can be tasted in the mouth surprisingly quickly. This example of how the skin works begs the question: How does the skin protect us from bacteria and chemicals daily? Surprisingly, much of this effort begins right at home or work where adults and children spend much of their time. Standard household cleaning products will boast “kills 99 percent of bacteria;” however, antibacterial products also kill good bacteria which are needed to build the human immune system as well as assist in balances within ecosystems that surround humans. In addition to killing good bacteria, standard household cleaning products without ingredient regulations contain chemicals such as Triclosan, Phosphates, and even Methylisothiazolinone – a common ingredient in cleaning products marketed as “green” – are all harmful to humans and marine life. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns consumers of products containing Triclosan that have caused cancer, developmental defects, hormone disruptions and liver toxicity in laboratory studies even though this agency does not regulate cleaning products. Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can regulate federal government agency use of certain ingredients in cleaning products (EPA, 2018), and states such as California, Oregon, and Michigan have made great strides in regulating the contents of consumer products on a state level. However, using environmentally friendly cleaning products, particularly those that can be made at home, is a good start to protecting members of households and the planet.

Green Cleaning: Creating a Cleaner, Greener World

A tidy home is an extension of the homeowner, more importantly, the substances used also demonstrate the homeowners’ care and consideration for the environment. Many times, sadly, the chemical compositions of harmful products is often left ignored and unnoticed, since only its cleaning abilities are advertised on the market. Therefore, due to this willful, or forced negligence, many people will clean, scrub, and fumigate their homes and surrounding areas of land; without, thinking about the toxicity that he/she is being exposed too, except in later years. Furthermore, and most importantly, he/she is, unconsciously, poisoning the majority of our planet with harmful elements and chemicals.

Environmental experts state that there are more than 60 harmful substances found within common household cleaning products (Sholl, 2011). Manufacturers, however, claim that there are only small percentages of it in the chemicals, and only prolonged exposure will put a person’s health at risk. Even if human beings will only suffer in the long-term from “prolonged exposure” to these chemicals, the short-term repercussions, that the improper disposal and possible spillage of these products will have on both the land and the sea cannot be ignored.

Meza (2017) also noted that some cleaning products contain a toxic chemical called perchloroethylene, or perc, that causes nausea, fatigue and dizziness if inhaled. Further damage to the human body can occur when the chemical is ingested. However, this chemical has not been banned for use, and is still lurking in the air and water, continually being breathed in unconsciously by both human beings and wildlife.

Duty to Contribute

As both inhabitants, and caretakers of this planet, it is our duty to contribute to the salvation of our lands and sea through the utilization of more environmentally friendly cleaning products. Products that contain more natural ingredients that are easier to decompose and exert fewer health-endangering chemicals should be the norm and not the outlier. In addition, eco-friendly cleaning products are considerably cheaper than other chemicals, as they contain fewer anti-bacterials and the raw materials, that are used, can be sourced from naturally existing and abundant resources, e.g., trees and herbs (Weber, 2019).

Facts are indisputable, and the moral compass of humanity, is shifting towards the use of more environmentally friendly cleaning products to preserve a happy and healthy life not only for their loved ones, but for the earth, itself.

References

Meza, S. (2017). The Benefits of Green Cleaning Products. Retrieved from              http://www.isustainableearth.com/green-products/the-benefits-of-green-cleaning-products

Sholl, J. (2011). 8 Hidden Toxins: What’s Lurking in Your Cleaning Products? Retrieved from                  https://experiencelife.com/article/8-hidden-toxins-whats-lurking-in-your-cleaning-products/

Weber, C. R. (2019). 7 Benefits of Green Cleaning. Retrieved from              https://www.care.com/c/stories/5919/7-benefits-of-green-cleaning/

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (2019). Poison statistics. Retrieved from https://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/poison-control-center/poison-statistics

United States Environmental Protection Agency (2018). Sustainable marketplace: greener products and services. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/greenerproducts/greening-your-purchase-cleaning-products-guide-federal-purchasers

How to Do Green Cleaning

By Maid in Your Hometown

The call for global action to curb the negative effects of climate change has not only intensified over the last couple of decades, it has encouraged companies and individuals alike to make small to significant changes that will help mitigate the impact of global warming on our environment. Reducing the use of harmful chemicals that are introduced to our immediate surroundings is one simple way of making a positive change. This is why a lot of households are making a switch from the traditional cocktail of harmful chemicals as cleaning agents to more eco-friendly alternatives.

Courtesy iStock

An Alarming Issue

Governments across the globe are taking steps to address this alarming issue to reduce our global footprint. According to Li (2016), the US government had passed regulations that protect the environment while making businesses thrive thereby protecting the economy as a whole. Having an economic incentive makes it easier for the general population to support these government efforts. While the US Environmental Protection Agency is doing whatever it can to regulate harmful chemicals that go into the cleaning products freely sold in the markets today, it takes added awareness on the part of the consumer to watch out for substances that exposes them to greater risk, such as folmaldehyde, and toxic air pollutants like perchloroethylene and ammonia, which are listed by the EPA as common substances found in our common cleaning agents (EPA 2018).

Making a small effort to choose a “greener” alternative has a number of benefits worthy of mention. The general public is getting constantly reeducated and has become thoroughly aware that shifting to an environmentally friendly alternative to their usual chemical-laden cleaners is not only healthy for the environment, it is also healthy for the whole household. Let us discuss some of the reasons why consumers opting for the healthier choice are on the rise.

Availability of Information

Information availability, green marketing, environmental awareness among consumers brought about the shift towards more environmentally friendly cleaning products. Cleaning products described as environmentally friendly are those aimed at minimizing the risk of harm to the environment, or environmental impact – these products rely entirely on the use of natural compounds, such as baking soda, lemon, and vinegar, or on special, non-toxic, and biodegradable formulations and packaging. (Greene, 2019).

Various market reports appear unequivocal in acknowledging the shift towards the manufacturing, availability, and use of cleaning products focused on reducing environmental impact. The global household cleaning products market is expected to have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.11% from 2018 to 2022, and a prominent influence identified in this trend is the emergence of sustainable or eco-friendly products in household cleaning. (“Global Household Cleaning Products Market”, 2018). Another report expects the global household green cleaning products market to grow at a CAGR of 6.50% to 2024, amounting to approximately USD 27.83 billion (“Household Green Cleaning Products”, 2019). For the laundry cleaning products markets, trends in the development of product formulation also show a significant shift towards eco-friendly and sustainable practices (“Advancements in Product Formulations”, 2018). An explanation for these trends is a reasonable subsequent question.

The Three Factors

This paper argues that the mechanisms underlying the shift towards environmentally friendly cleaning products are described through three factors: (1) information availability, or the extent to how certain compounds and formulations can act as environmental hazards, mostly through scientific research, is present and publicly accessible (Bergeson, 2019; DeLeo et al., 2018); (2) green marketing, or how companies tout themselves or their products and services as environmentally beneficial (Jenkins & Kähler, 2018), and; (3) environmental awareness among consumers, which pertains to public knowledge on environmental risks that products or their

Explaining the Shift to Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products

The environmental movement in the United States seems to have appeared nearly overnight. The conversation surrounding “green” products and environmentally friendly methods of living seems new, but the modern-day environmental movement in the United States began in the 1960’s and 1970’s and was focused on a small number of environmental disasters such as oil spills, lake fires, and other disasters (Gordon, 2012). This form of environmentalism was focused largely on conservation and the preservation of America’s landscapes and natural resources and native species of plants and animals.

Since the 1970’s, the environmental movement has evolved considerably. From its humble beginnings in preservation and conservation, the environmentalist movement revolves largely around air and water quality standards. Activists rally to ensure that air quality is preserved, that pollutants discharged in water are regulated, and that chemicals available to the public are safe.

Green Activism

As part of this activism, many households and businesses are electing to use cleaning products that are marketed as “green” or environmentally conscious, so to avoid polluting the air and water in their homes and in their communities. Activists believe that by using natural or environmentally friendly cleaning products, they are making their homes safer by not using potentially dangerous chemicals (Peltier, 2018). The shift from conventional cleaning products to environmentally friendly cleaning products is a result of the modern environmentalist movement and is a decision that is made by environmentally conscious individuals who want to avoid being exposed to the potentially dangerous chemicals present in conventional cleaning products.

Explaining the Shift to Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products
The conversation surrounding “green” products and environmentally friendly methods of living seems new, but the modern-day environmental movement in the United States began in the 1960’s and 1970’s and was focused on a small number of environmental disasters such as oil spills, lake fires, and other disasters (Gordon, 2012).

Natural Resources

Environmentalism, then, was focused largely on the preservation of landscapes and the conservation of natural resources. Since then, it has broadened to encapsulate many facets of human life, like selection of “green” marketed cleaning products. “Green” or environmentally friendly marketed products are intended to replace the unfamiliar and potentially dangerous chemicals found in conventional cleaning products. Additionally, some consumers will select environmentally friendly cleaning products to lessen the impact that conventional cleaning products have on the Earth. In short, consumers are switching to more environmentally conscious cleaning products because of the documented impact that conventional products have on them, their families, and the Earth that they live on.

The number of dangerous chemicals found in conventional cleaning products is astounding and is cause for concern for many consumers. The Environmental Working Group (EWP) has created a databased detailing the risks of common conventional cleaners and grades them from A to F based on a number of factors. Windex, for instance, scored a D because of its key ingredient of Ammonium Hydroxide. This grade was assigned based on the moderate respiratory and environmental exposure concerns (The Environmental Working Group, 2016). The EWP then provides a list of safer products that were granted A’s. No surprise, the majority of these recommended cleaners had “natural” or “eco” in the name: “Attitude Sensitive Skin Natural All-Purpose Cleaner”, “Attitude All-Purpose Eco Cleaner” (The Environmental Working Group, 2016, April). This concern for both humans and the environment in this assessment is vital in understanding the shift from conventional cleaning products to eco-friendly ones: consumers are interested in protecting themselves, protecting their homes, and protecting their earth.

                                                                 References

Gordon, E. L. (2012, June). History of the Modern Environmental Movement in America. Retrieved from U.S. Department of State: https://photos.state.gov/libraries/mumbai/498320/fernandesma/June_2012_001.pdf
Peltier, K. (2018, November 06). 10 Reasons to Start Green Cleaning Today. Retrieved from The Spruce: https://www.thespruce.com/reasons-to-start-green-cleaning-today-1706950

The Environmental Working Group. (2016). EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning. Retrieved from General Purpose Cleaner: https://www.ewg.org/guides/subcategories/3-GeneralPurposeCleaner

The Environmental Working Group. (2016, April). EWG’S Guide to Healthy Cleaning. Retrieved from The Environmental Working Group: “Windex Advanced Glass & Multi-Surface Cleaner.” EWG’S Guide to Healthy Cleaning, edited by Bill Walker, The Environmental Working Group, www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/1418-WindexAdvancedGlassMultiSurfaceCleaner.

Gordon, E. L. (2012, June). History of the Modern Environmental Movement in America. Retrieved from U.S. Department of State: https://photos.state.gov/libraries/mumbai/498320/fernandesma/June_2012_001.pdf
Peltier, K. (2018, November 06). 10 Reasons to Start Green Cleaning Today. Retrieved from The Spruce: https://www.thespruce.com/reasons-to-start-green-cleaning-today-1706950

Advancements in Product Formulations show shifts toward Eco-friendly Products expanding Scope of Laundry Cleaning Products Market, observes Fact.MR. (2018, October 9). Global Data Point. Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A557420813/ITOF?u=livuni&sid=ITOF&xid=61e3349d

Bearth, A., & Siegrist, M. (2019). Situative and product-specific factors influencing consumers’ risk perception of household cleaning products. Safety Science,113, 126-133. doi:10.1016/j.ssci.2018.11.023

Bergeson, L. L. (2019). The rise of ingredient disclosure: The California and New York experience. Environmental Quality Management,28(3), 141-144. doi:10.1002/tqem.21610
DeLeo, P. C., Ciarlo, M., Pacelli, C., Greggs, W., Williams, E. S., Scott, W. C., . . . Brooks, B. W. (2018).

Cleaning product ingredient safety: What is the current state of availability of information regarding ingredients in products and their function? ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering,6(2), 2094-2102. doi:10.1021/acssuschemeng.7b03510
Global Household Cleaning Products Market 2018-2022: Emergence of Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Products in Household

Cleaning Gaining Momentum. (2018, August 9). PR Newswire. Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A549493131/AONE?u=livuni&sid=AONE&xid=4bfcf884

Household Green Cleaning Products Market Worth $27.83 billion by 2024 – Exclusive Report by 360iResearch. (2019, April 24). M2 Presswire. Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A583408898/ITOF?u=livuni&sid=ITOF&xid=beeacd72

Li, H. (2016). Why Environmental Regulation is Good for the Economy. Public Policy
Initiative, Wharton University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved from
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US Environmental Protection Agency (2018). Chemicals and Toxics Topics. Retrieved from
https://www.epa.gov/environmental-topics/chemicals-and-toxics-topics

The Push for Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

By Maid in Your Hometown House Cleaning Service

Household cleaning products are a billion-dollar industry in both Europe and the United States (A.I.SE.EU, 2016-2017, para.2; Statista, n.d., para. 1). Hence, it remains predictable that the modern customer possesses the facility to purchase an array of detergents, disinfectant, and cleansers to maintain a tidy household. For this reason, people find it difficult to conceptualize that before the onset of modern detergent production, natural items like white vinegar solved people’s daily cleaning problems (Mercola, 2018, para. 4).

 

Courtesy iStock

Non-Environtmenally Friendly Cleaning Products

Consumers continually use a variety of non-environmentally friendly cleaning products for the household task of removing dirt, dust, and grease. Nonetheless, the convenience of having a potent cleansing arsenal also has a negative component for people exposed to these products’ chemicals. Although regular use of standard cleaners affords sparkling countertops and aromatic linens, many of these products contain chemicals that damage users’ health. According to the American Lung Association (2019, pars. 2-3), the chemicals in many cleaning supplies cause symptoms that include eye and throat irritation, respiratory problems, and cancer. In addition, certain items like air fresheners, dishwashing liquid, and floor polish release dangerous gases called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that have the potential of causing lung tissue and lung function damage (Mercola, 2018, para. 15). In response to health-safety concerns, the cleaning industry aims to ensure customers that standardized cleaning materials are beneficial for people’s health and proper handling ensures the supplies’ safe and effective usage (ChemicalSafetyFacts.org, 2019, pars. 1-4). Notwithstanding, as regular exposure to non-environmentally friendly cleaning products harms individual health, consumers need to choose natural cleaning products; research ecologically friendly brands; or learn how to make their own supplies.

The Push for Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

Over time, more people are living “greener” lives. This extends to even their cleaning products, but why? The reason for this push has been twofold. Eco-friendly cleaning products are best for both human health and the health of the planet. Aside from saving the Earth, using these products also saves money. With these driving forces, no wonder more people are jumping on board every day.

The dreaded “spring clean” should make anyone familiar with the toxic chemicals and compounds inside the cleaning agents beneath the kitchen sink. Red eyes, trouble breathing, and light-headedness are all symptoms of exposure to VOCs or volatile organic compounds. According to the American Lung Association, VOCs are “released when using cleaning supplies,” and they “contribute to chronic respiratory problems, allergic reactions, and headaches” (“Cleaning Supplies and Household Chemicals,” n.d., para 2). The word “organic” might trigger the idea of something healthy, such as organic cookies in the grocery store. However, in chemistry, the term “organic” refers to anything that has carbon in its chemical structure. VOCs are “volatile” because they readily vaporize or become a gas (“Volatile Organic Compounds’ Impact,” n.d., para 1).

Various Harmful Chemicals

Aside from the VOCs, other chemicals in these products can be harmful in a variety of different ways. For instance, some can burn your skin, be fatal if consumed (especially pets and children), and some can cause cancers and other diseases. What’s more, the adverse effects of these compounds are multiple if they are combined. Everyone knows of the dangerous repercussions of mixing bleach and ammonia. The awareness of these detrimental effects has caused a shift in public perception. To that end, governments, companies, and individuals around the world are pushing for safer products.

References
A.I.SE. (2016-2017). Market and economic data – AISE. Retrieved from https://www.aise.eu/our-industry/market-and-economic-data.aspx
American Lung Association. (2019). Cleaning supplies and household chemicals. Retrieved from https://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/indoor/indoor-air-pollutants/cleaning-supplies-household-chem.html
ChemicalSafetyFacts.org. (2019, January 2). Cleaning products | Uses, benefits, and chemical safety facts. Retrieved from https://www.chemicalsafetyfacts.org/cleaning-products/
Mercola, J. (2018, March 7). Exposure to cleaning products can be as bad as smoking [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2018/03/07/cleaning-products-as-bad-as-smoking.aspx
Statista. (n.d.). Topic: Cleaning products industry in the U.S. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/topics/1277/cleaning-products-industry-in-the-us/

Cleaning Supplies and Household Chemicals (n.d.). Retrieved October 1, 2019, from https://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/indoor/indoor-air-pollutants/cleaning-supplies-household-chem.html.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): Your Environment, Your Health | National Library of Medicine. (n.d.). Retrieved October 1, 2019, from https://toxtown.nlm.nih.gov/chemicals-and-contaminants/volatile-organic-compounds-vocs.

The Shift to Eco-Friendly Cleaning Supplies and Why You Should Care

By Maid in Your Hometown

There is no denying a grand shift in the way we clean, these days. With the eco-conscious cleaning supply market expected to grow 6.5% percent, or 19.9 billion dollars (360iResearch, 2019) between 2017 to 2024, everyone seems to be hopping on board the “green” train, but the question remains: Why now? Urgency is everywhere—turn on any news channel and you’ll find corrupt political leaders, tanking economies, a planet on fire, and cities in our own country without access to clean drinking water. But what does the global crises have to do with your toilet cleaner? There are many factors to the consumer’s interest in alternative cleaning supplies, but two key points to consider are personal health and global health. With global warming heating up our planet in disastrous and potentially irreversible ways and with the rise of young activists and media coverage, people everywhere are finally starting to pay attention, which includes finding small ways to pitch in. Another, admittedly less altruistic reason for the grand shift in cleaning products is our own safety. With more studies and widespread knowledge about the harmful chemicals in our everyday products (yes, the ones under your sink), people, especially parents and those chronically ill or with severe allergies, are wising up and opting for vinegar and lemon juice or plant-based products instead of big name-brands. In this article, I will answer why the mass deviation from standard cleaning supplies is growing and look closely at how our personal and global health motivate the seemingly small change.

Courtesy iStock

How to Clean Green

A step as small as changing which window cleaner you use could come from a need much larger. The rise of activists such as Greta Thunberg, a sixteen-year-old Swede fiercely determined to educate the world about our changing climate, including her widely publicized, recent U.N. speech (Meyer, 2019) appear to be engaging more people around the world. While the majority of the climate problems potential solutions lie in large, global corporations, there is still much we, as consumers, can do to be more aware and reduce our carbon footprint. After all, haven’t metal straws just had their moment in the spotlight? Perhaps, also, flat-out denial from so many leaders is equally motivating to make personal, daily changes, such as eco-conscious cleaning supplies. Whether through anger or hope, we are becoming informed. I remember being taught in school that the phosphates from these cleaners (Thompson, 2007) and other run-off sources can cause eutrophication of bodies of water, depleting oxygen and risking water quality, something my parents were not taught. In an attempt to purify a nation and a globe, people are stepping up and cleaning up, and that means re-vamping your supply closet.

Personal Health

Personal health may be an equally motivating factor. While some green cleaning supplies are marketing to parents, the message is really for all of us: your old disinfectants are not safe. Studies show that making the switch to an eco-friendly substitute can improve your indoor air quality, reduce the risk of respiratory infections, and even limit your contact with carcinogens (Harrington, 2018). In fact, the National Environmental Trust stated that “volatile organic compounds” can actually impair neurological functions. Babies and small children are at risk of breaking into the cleaning supply cabinet, but let’s face it, the adults using the products are just as likely to inhale toxins, or forget to wash their hands afterwards and leave traces of chemicals. It’s a bit unnerving to think the very products we use to “clean” our homes are actually the ones making the space dangerous. The health of the planet is becoming more dire with each day, but our own health could be, too.

Before adopting my kitten, I never put a second thought into which cleaning products to use in my home; however, after watching the kitten explore, sniff, and lick every corner of her new home, I began to have second thoughts about what she could be unintentionally ingesting as a result of my choices in cleaning products. Immediately, I purchased cleaning products I could use without making my kitten sick and shifted my entire cleaning routine. I am not the only pet owner – or indeed, the only person – who has chosen to incorporate green products into my life. More Americans than ever before are taking advantage of eco-friendly cleaning products in an effort to create a healthier living and working space, both at home and in the community, and to protect the greater environment among concerns of climate change and global warming.

Eco-friendly Products

By supporting eco-friendly cleaning products, individuals and companies have the potential to impact the environment on a larger scale than just their own lives. All cleaning products can affect anyone who enters a recently cleaned area, and in buildings such as schools, public offices, or the headquarters of a large corporation, this can amount to several hundred people. With non-green products, every individual who passes through is exposed to the same harmful chemicals that can potentially cause illnesses ranging from allergies to cancer. However, using eco-friendly cleaning products can ensure that these high-traffic areas are clean without contributing to health problems. According to the Sanitorial Janitorial Service, green cleaning materials are made without harsh chemicals such as heavy metals and phthalates, and any residues left behind are not likely to “increase the risk of the health problems for the people using the building and any pets” that might pass through (Service, 2017). Simply using a more eco-friendly cleaner enables a corporation or school to assist in creating a healthier environment in the building, thereby enabling a healthier lifestyle for all who spend time in the area.

Reference Page

360iResearch. (2019, April 24). Household Green Cleaning Products Market Worth $27.83
billion by 2024. Retrieved from https://www.marketwatch.com/press-release/household-green-cleaning-products-market-worth-2783-billion-by-2024-exclusive-report-by-360iresearch-2019-04-24

Harrington, J. (2018, February 05). 5 Reasons Why You Should Use “Green” Cleaning
Products.” Retrieved from https://learn.compactappliance.com/green-cleaning-products/

Meyer, R. (2019, September 23). Why Greta Makes Adults Uncomfortable. Retrieved from
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/09/why-greta-wins/598612/

Thompson, A. (2007, August 06). The Truth About “Green” Cleaning Products. Retrieved
from https://www.livescience.com/1737-truth-green-cleaning-products.html

Klich, T. (2019, January 11). How Anisa International Raised The Bar For Ethical Manufacturing In The Clean Beauty Business. Retrieved from Forbes:
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Scutti, S. (2018, September 17). Household disinfectants could be making kids overweight, study says. Retrieved from CNN Health: https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/17/health/disinfectants-baby-gut-microbiota-bmi-study/index.html

Service, S. J. (2017, 11 02). Benefits of Using Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products. Retrieved from Sanitorial Janitorial: http://www.sanitorialjanitorial.com/blog/benefits-of-using-eco-friendly-cleaning-products