How to Do Green Cleaning
Posted by: Maid in Your Hometown on: December 17, 2019

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.

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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

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