So, I tried out Green Works natural all-purpose cleaner, made by Clorox.
Here’s what I like:
Mostly Natural ingredients (99 percent). Directly from the label:
coconut-based cleaning agent, corn-based ethanol, essential lemon oil, filtered water and biodegradable preservative. Contains no phosphorus. Contains no bleach.
It’s safe on multiple surfaces.
The container is highly recyclable, a number 1.
It smells good and cleans well. Actually, it does smell natural.
It is mainstream. In some parts of the country, those specialty natural cleaners sold in natural food markets are not available. Lots of people just shop at Wal-Mart, partly because there aren’t many other choices where they live. Clorox is bringing a green product to everyone, and it’s affordable.
It’s approved by the Sierra Club. This is the first time they’ve approved a household cleaner. Yeah, they are getting some sales-based cash for this from Clorox, but they still think this is a good product.
Out of my normal Ecover dish tabs and unwilling to make the 20-minute drive to Whole Foods to get more, I crossed my fingers and tried Method Smarty Dishdishwasher detergent for $4.99 at Target. (It’s listed for $6.50 on the Method website.)
It’s been nearly a year now since I made the switch, and I’m still happy with Method.
Unlike some supposed green dishwasher detergents that still contain bleach (hello, Palmolive eco), Smarty Dish is phosphate and bleach free.
It’s also non-toxic and biodegradable. I was a little nervous after having tried a few green dishwasher detergents in the past that weren’t so great (sorry, Seventh Generation).
But it seems I didn’t need to worry this time.
The dishes got clean — no film or food bits! The version I tried is Pink Grapefruit. I normally go for unscented cleaners, but the grapefruit smell is really only noticeable when you open the container. I didn’t smell it on my dishes or during the load. Method also lists their ingredients on the container. Any real green cleaner will do that.
I like that the tabs aren’t individually wrapped and also don’t stick together in lightweight pouch which Method says uses 87% less plastic than their previous canister packaging. The tablets are small enough to fit in the dish detergent container on my dishwasher, which probably means you won’t have an issue either!
The only negative I can think of is that only 20 dish tabs are included for $4.99 (Target price). That’s a tad bit pricey, but I can’t ever see myself going back to dishwasher detergents containing bleach or phosphates. Once you switch, you can smell the difference. With green dishwasher detergents, there’s no icky-bleachy smell wafting out of your dishwasher.
I recommend my old fave, Ecover, but Method works just as well and is much easier for me to find close to home.
This post is part of a series counting up to Earth Day on April 22. Check back for the rest of the 22 tips!
Bananas are the most popular fruit in the world! I can see why too. They’re great in smoothies or just as a snack. And have you had a good banana pudding lately? Yum.
When you buy your bananas, look for the green sticker with the frog that reads “Rainforest Alliance Certified.” The certification, given to around 15 percent of all bananas in international trade, means that the fruit you’re eating was grown and harvested responsibly. Also look for Rainforest Alliance certification on other tropical fruits like mangoes and pineapples.
The Rainforest Alliance works with growers to combat problems that have been associated with the banana industry – deforestation, pollution of coral reefs and watersheds, and use of toxic agrochemicals.
Working with the Rainforest Alliance, certified growers practice methods that are more healthy for the rainforest and its inhabitants, and for workers and people who live around banana plantations.
Does your grocery store sell Rainforest Alliance Certified bananas?
This video is an interesting, obscene (sort of) green take on the Scrubbing Bubbles commercials. It’s sponsored by Method. Their website, PeopleAgainstDirty.com, encourages you to voice your concerns about getting better labels on household cleaning products.
You can read about the Household Product Labeling Acts that, if passed, would require manufacturers of cleaning products to list ALL ingredients on the label. With or without this act, you should never purchase a “green” cleaner that doesn’t list its ingredients on the product label. If you do, you’re likely buying greenwash, not a truly eco product.
I think it’s great Method is calling attention to this problem. Though I sometimes make my own cleaners, I also use Method products, like their dilutable cleaner. Since Method doesn’t test on animals, I prefer them over products like Green Works by Clorox.
Whatever cleaner you choose, be sure to consider all the dangers of some home cleaning products.
I’ve been thinking about that Green Works post I did at the end of February. And about the Clorox buying Burt’s Bees post.
The problem I have, and that a lot of people who write about the environment have, is what to think of Clorox and similar companies that are suddenly going green. And are they really going green?
The environment aside, chlorine bleach is bad for you. Of course it will kill you if ingested, but it can also irritate your lungs just from breathing it. People with chronic heart disease and asthma are advised to avoid it. Does this sound like something that should be used to clean laundry or bathrooms or anything?
And Clorox is proud of their bleach. But, now they own Burt’s Bees. And they got Sierra Club to endorse their new Green Works line of cleaners. So, is Green Works greener than cleaning with bleach or with some of the chemical-laden cleaners out there? Yes, it is. Does that mean you should support Clorox?
That’s the trouble. If they think this Green Works is so great, then why still make the other stuff? My really smart husband told me that he thinks a company can’t be half green. They should be environmentally responsible in every way if they claim to be green. And I have to agree. There are lots of all-green companies that sell green cleaners. Here’s a list of some recommended brands of cleaners:
If you can’t find these products in your store, ask your grocer or other store manager to order the products. Don’t want to hunt down the manager? When they ask you at the checkout, “Did you find everything you were looking for today?” say no. That’s when most stores call the manager for you. Or do it by phone, or use the Internet. Many companies now have surveys you can fill out online.
Last summer I started using Burt’s Bees beeswax lip balm as an alternative to petroleum-based ChapStick.
The natural beeswax lip balm feels much better. Burt’s Bees had a lot of green business practices, including using recycled packaging.
But Burt’s sold to Clorox last year for $913 million. Clorox says it’s going green and wants to help make Burt’s Bees more mainstream.
What do you think? Is Clorox really “going green” or are they just trying to cash in on the green movement? They did just release a line of green cleaning products, Green Works, for the home.
In case you don’t know, Burt actually exists. Before he started the company with a partner he lived in a turkey coop and sold honey out of the back of his pickup truck. I’m not sure if that made the lip balm any better. Maybe not, but this man loves nature. It seemed like a nice little company.
But it got big. And it got sold. Perhaps this means the product will reach more people now. Maybe it means Clorox really is trying to be more responsible (and more profitable). However, if Clorox didn’t buy a company like Burt’s, what would they buy? There are all kinds of horrible options out there.
While some people are now refusing to buy Burt’s, I’m going to wait and see what happens. Besides, I got so much Burt’s Bees for Christmas, I won’t need to buy any for at least a year.
I’m happy to once again take part in Blog Action Day. Light Green Stairs has participated since the beginning in 2007!
The topic this year is especially important. Inequality exists all around us. Frankly, this topic is so important, it’s difficult to be specific in just one blog post. But I’ll try…
Rich and Poor
Oxfam is a key partner for Blog Action Day 2014. According to them, the richest 66 people in the world have as much wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion. (A previous report indicated the richest 85, but that number has since been updated to the richest 66. It’s getting worse!)
What does this mean, and why care?
If you’re poor, you’re more likely to die sooner than a rich person. Part of the reason is lack of access to health care. But another issue is the inability to afford healthy food, or living in a food desert with no access to healthy food. And extreme poverty is very stressful.
What else does inequality mean?
Yeah, I told you it’s difficult to be too specific with this issue! It’s not just about income. Inequality exists on many levels:
-Inequality against women, including violence, attitudes, sexual harassment and getting paid less than men for the same work
-Inequality against the elderly, including just not taking them seriously or placing value on their lives
-Inequality against the disabled, including bullying or not affording the same opportunities as abled-bodies people receive
– Inequality based on race, including police violence against unarmed black teenagers
What can you do about it?
First, take a look at your own beliefs and attitudes. No one is perfect, including me. Ask yourself how you can work to make things better, not just in the United States, but anywhere in the world where there is suffering caused by inequality.
Most importantly, ask yourself how you can help end poverty. Your work could be political, or it may be humanitarian. It could be as simple as volunteering to help someone improve their literacy skills, or donating to a nonprofit that fights poverty.
Stay in touch with the conversation on Blog Action Day, October 16, with these hashtags: #BAD2014 #Blogaction14, #Inequality, #Oct16
I’m going to let the pictures do most of the talking in this case. Treesmart makes some awesome recycled pencils, colored pencils and rulers. Do check them out for your back to school shopping.
Second life for newspapers
The ruler is made from recycled newspaper and recycled plastic, while the pencils and colored pencils are made from recycled newspaper.
Have you tried pencils made from recycled newspaper? They have some character to them, though that may be difficult to see in my photos. You do see letters, and the eraser works really well.
Note the super cute packaging for the colored pencils! And, uh, the cat foot…
These are hard, just like wood. (No jokes, people.) So, don’t worry about a flimsy product. They feel just like colored pencils that are made from wood. However, do note that these are mini colored pencils.
Look at the pretty colors.
What else from Treesmart
Treesmart also makes mechanical pencils, pencil cases and supply boxes from recycled candy wrappers and potato chip bags!
Are you shopping for recycled school supplies?
Disclosure: I received these pictured items at no cost from Treesmart.