Green Cleaning: What Does That Really Mean?
In the last few years we have all heard the buzz words “going green” or “eco-friendly” and we all want to do our part… right?
A great way to start and do “our part” is by eliminating all the chemical concoctions in our homes. We have choices today that we did not have only a few years ago but, is buying green cleaning products enough?
Being eco-friendly is defined as not being harmful to the environment or more specifically using products that prevent contributions to air, land and water pollution. In order to be truly eco-friendly, buying green cleaning products is simply not enough. I can’t recall how many times I’ve seen people who undoubtedly mean well but do not understand the meaning of being eco-friendly, let me explain…
Sue decides it’s time to do her part and she buys green cleaning products at her local grocery store and is committing to do her part for the preservation of our environment. Once she arrives at home she proudly unpack’s her newly purchased green cleaning product and feels good about the choices she has made. Sue is motivated to try her new cleaning product and decides to surprise her husband Bob by cleaning his workshop. Bob loves restoring classic cars but he’s a little messy while he works, Sue spent the afternoon cleaning Bob’s workshop by wiping up all those spills and scrubbing the gunk off the tools and work bench. Sue is very satisfied with her new green cleaning product because it did a wonderful job of getting those tools, benches and workshop sparkling clean. Sue even hosed down the workshop floor with the garden hose after scrubbing it with that non toxic cleaning solution.
That night Bob came home and was pleasantly surprised to see his workshop so clean while Sue explained that she wanted to try her new green cleaning product. Bob praised Sue for doing such a great job and her new commitment to using eco-friendly products, her response was typical of what we all so often hear “oh, just doing my part for the environment”. Sue reminded Bob to take out the trash since it was pick up day the following morning which he did.
We should all be proud of Sue for committing to do her part for a greener and safer environment shouldn’t we? if we analyze what she did in more detail did she really make a difference by using a green cleaning solution? Sue did a great job of cleaning Bob’s work shop but she failed to dispose of the oily and greasy shop towels appropriately. Those oily shop towels ended up in the landfill, and hosing down the shop floor with the garden hose did a great job of cleaning up that oily mess but were did it go?
The point is, switching to a green cleaning product simply is not enough, sure it’s a great start to eliminate chemicals from our environment but there was nothing eco-friendly about it. There were no toxic chemicals in the product Sue used to clean but the cleaning itself produced toxic chemicals that were not disposed of properly.
Going green and being eco-friendly is a lifestyle, buying the best green cleaning product changes nothing. Learning how to protect our environment changes everything.