A stroll down the cleaning product aisle at any store, and one will notice there is a shift towards environmentally friendly cleaning products. More and more often, labels are vibrant green, making claims of “environmentally safe” and “eco-friendly.” Consumers, feeling threatened by the toxic ingredients in standard household cleaning products, have sought to make purchase decisions that make them feel safe. So, what is green house cleaning?
That consumers would move away from such a threat to satisfy their need for safety should come as no surprise. World-renowned psychologist, Professor Maslow defined the need for security and safety as the second stage of needs among our hierarchy of needs, ranking the need for safety more urgent than the need for love or belonging (Mcleod, 2018, para 2).Many standard cleaning products contain harmful chemicals such as Phthalates, Ammonia, Chlorine, Sodium Hydroxide, and various volatile organic compounds. Consumers want to protect themselves, their children, pets and the environment from the threat of harm posed by these chemicals. According to data specialists Nielsen, “Nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment,” (CPG, FMCG & RETAIL, 2018, para. 2)
Not only are people willing to change their consumption habits, but they’re willing to spend more to do it. A recent survey by SurveyMonkey found that 35% of people are willing to spend more money on products that are better for the environment (Edelstein, 2005, para. 6).
Clean Water is Paramount
Regarding the environment, clean water is of paramount concern. Consumers have no way of knowing the effect standard household chemicals have on the local water sources. According to clean water action.org, “Of the over 80,000 chemicals on the market, only 200 have been evaluated for safety” (Clean Water Action, 2019, para. 3). Most cleaning products, when used, are absorbed by sponges which are then rinsed by water that runs down the drain and carries on into public water treatment facilities. This and other water contamination issues are a cause for concern for many. In 2018 the Water is Life movement gained public backing, when the Sioux nation protested the Dakota Access Pipeline, showing that public sentiment takes the protection of water very seriously.
Protection of children is a key factor in choosing environmentally friendly products. Parents want to be able to clean their homes without exposing their children to harsh fumes that can trigger breathing problems. They want to be able to clean toys and table tops without leaving unsafe residue for babies who like to put everything in their mouth.
Cleaning Green: The Moral, Ethical, & Capitalistic Factors in The Rise of Green Cleaning Products
Despite an ongoing debate culturally and politically concerning the value and efficacy of green products, the rise of a “green” cultural movement is undeniable. Recent surveys suggest not only a rise in customer awareness of potential benefits in green products, but that up to 35% of consumers are willing to pay a higher price for a product with green guarantees (CGS Survey, 2019). As culture and politics continues to debate the efficacy of humans as negative contributors to climate change, the free market has wasted no time in creating a sector dedicated to the ethical practices consumers have been seeking out. Likewise, advertising and marketing within this sector has pivoted from a “strong environmental message to convey to the public … [to] ambiguous and … only green in colour,” (Dande 2012).
The Transitional Phase
This transition and advertising focus is apparent in the cleaning products sector perhaps more so than in others—and for clear reasons. Cleaning products interact with us in our most personal locations and often contain some of the harshest chemicals in the name of sanitation. Furthermore, these products may be even more valuable when considering that pollutants in indoor spaces may be two to five times higher than pollutants outdoors (Indoor Air Quality, 2018). Finding products that remain gentle on people, children, pets and the environment whilst simultaneously remaining effective on pollutants and bacteria remains a complex balancing act. Still, many consumers walk that line regardless, and there are clear moral, ethical and capitalistic factors for this behavior that serve to explain why green cleaning products remain in high demand.
Everyone has seen it in grocery stores–the ever-growing selection of “green” cleaning products. With the threat of climate change hanging over humanity’s head, businesses have begun to take notice of the need for more sustainable and “green” products. Though scientists have yet to prove that many of these products can live up to the cleaning power of standard products (Light, 2009), many people have been switching to these products as a way to decrease the amount of harm they place on their bodies and the environment, leaving people to understand what is green house cleaning.
Efficacy of ‘Green’
In the article Efficacy of “Green” Cleaning Products with Respect To Common Respiratory Viruses and Mold Growth, Light suggests that green cleaning products are not enough to disinfect surfaces in a sufficient manner, and that traditional toxic cleaning products are more efficient in eliminating harmful substances such as mold and allergens, and are thus more effective in ensuring public health. Light then offers safety guidelines when using traditional cleaning methods, such as leaving the house so one doesn’t breathe in toxic fumes. This article, published in the Journal of Environmental Health, caused quite a stir among its readers. Multiple people and organizations wrote in to the editor to argue the legitimacy of the findings of the initial article.
In one response letter, Atkins and Bishop write, “protecting public health does not require completely disinfecting all environments” and “Green Cleaning reduces occupational exposure to harmful chemicals” (57). They suggest that the actual act of wiping away bacteria is what is most important during the cleaning process—not the antibacterial properties of the cleaning product. Also, the writers advocate for cleaner indoor environments. By limiting the amount of toxic chemicals one is exposed to, the safer from illness and disease one will be.
Plans to Outsmart Buyers
The niche function of the growing economy which is sustainability, led the people especially the companies, to various strategies and plans that will outsmart buyers but at the same time contribute to the fast-pacing disruption of our natural resources. The rise of eco-friendly products is one of the posterities of combined researches and planning that resulted to the shifting of preferences of people to a less expensive yet more sustainable products. These products are environmentally sustaining that provide a better assurance of safety, such items contain no harmful chemicals which are potential causes to a number of health issues. With the series of environmental and health issues that served as an eye-opener to shift to a more sustainable and natural way of maintaining a substantial habitat.
Sustainability is clearly important to consumers. In many emerging markets, consumers said they would either definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce impact on the environment. The popularity of natural products surging as consumers grow more conscious about what they use and the effect of these products have on our broader world (Wilson, J. 2018). As the effects and changes in the environment and in our climate are clearly seen, people are now more aware of the consequences that may occur from their own way of living. To be able to avoid the risks and unacceptable consequences that may occur which is mainly caused by human acts. People had a clear thought on how to establish a community that will promote and engage in sustainable products and it was clearly narrowed down to maintain an environment-friendly home.
With proven and clearly seen effects on our environment, people are now driven to support sustainability to build a healthier home environment reducing health risks by shrugging off chemically produced products and shifting to green products which are essential to the safety of the members of the family and live in a well-conditioned home atmosphere. With the use of many cleaning products, harmful chemicals are being released into the environment (Reichert, L. 2017). Changing to greener methods helps reduce pollution to our waterways and the air and it minimizes your impact on ozone depletion and global climate change with fewer smog-producing chemicals (Snow, S. 2017). Furthermore, green cleaning products are less expensive and provide longevity to our belongings which is favorable to most of the consumers. Certain products are also recyclable, which helps minimize the amount of waste released in the environment.
Through all the resources needed and available information for the subject and issue to be known to the public, we are now in the pace of change towards to a more salutary place to live with.
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