J500 Media and the Environment


My whiter whites were harming the environment by staceyc08
October 17, 2008, 9:39 pm
Filed under: Business + Politics | Tags: , ,

For many, nothing guarantees a clean like bleach. People not only use it to whiten their whites but also to drive back the mold in their showers and sterilize great finds from yard sales. Why would anyone stop using this product?

I felt this way about bleach. The only negative drawbacks I saw were the headaches I always had after cleaning my bathroom and the frightening fact that a child or pet could be poisoned if they accidentally swallowed it. What? Hang on. I started to evaluate this product and others in my home.

I’m not alone of course. Interest in green products is gaining popularity and with good reason. No one wants to expose themselves and their loved ones to harmful chemicals such as chlorine and dioxins. They want safe products that get the job done, and if they don’t hurt the environment in the process, then that’s a good thing too. Unfortunately, it is overwhelming to navigate the sea of green products available and determine which ones are genuine and not green washing, a term defined by Wikipedia as a “deceptive use of PR or green marketing” that misleads customers about the environmental benefits of a product. Consumers need some help. While looking for reliable resources, I discovered a handy book, The Better World Shopping Guide, published this month. It is recommended by Seventh Generation, a company that has been repeatedly recognized for its social responsibility, transparency and environmentally-friendly products. The book can serve as a compass to consumers. Seventh Generation is an example other companies should follow.

— Stacey Chance

Seventh Generation Chlorine Free Bleach

Seventh Generation Chlorine Free Bleach

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5 Comments so far
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Your piece on celaning products reminded me of a great article I saw on food and wine. In the piece, writer Henry Alford hires a “green life coach” to help him green his kitchen. The coach, Magie Wood, acted as his translator not only against greenwashing but also helped him navigate the sea of issues surrounding sustainability in the kitchen (local, organic, antibiotic free, etc). Henry decides that he can not make all of the lifestyle changes Magie asks of him (like carrying tupperware to restaurants in case there are leftovers). However, he does decide to abandon his “Shampoozer” in lieu of a home-made cleaner that “requires trips to two stores and the purchase of an obscure seed-based extract that fetches $10.95 for two ounces”. He lovingly named this new product “An Inconvenient Clenaser”

references
http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/kitchen-lessons-from-an-eco-coach

Comment by alejandrooj840

I like the article that you directed me to, Alex. It was entertaining. I think the key to change is baby steps. Maybe Henry will make additional changes after getting used to the ones he has just adopted. It is hard, though, to switch to green products when they often cost more, especially if you are on a tight budget like many are with today’s economy. A Treehugger blog post “Why do green products cost more?” explains that since green products aren’t mainstream, some manufacturers cannot adopt cost-saving advantages, and the manufacturers of genuinely green products also roll some of the hidden social costs into their products. Check out the blog post at http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/04/from_the_forums_why_green_products_cost_so_much.php.

Stacey

Comment by staceyc08

Stacey,
I couldn’t agree more with your posting about products and how they affect us and our loved ones. I keep a bottle of bleach that I rarely use with my other laundry products. However, my husband gets his hands on it and decides that the concept “less is more” is so not true. He’ll every now and then bleach a load of whites and you can smell the bleach even after you dry them. How awful is that!? As soon as this bottle is gone, I’m going to give the 7th Generation product a try. The book looks like a great resource. Have you found any good resources for product reviews from consumers?

Michelle McGown

Comment by michellemcgown

Terrific post, Stacey. As you know, I am a big fan of Seventh Generation. We will take a look at their sustainability report in our upcoming class. In the interim, you might be interested in their new product labeling guide. FDA does not require ingredient disclosure but Seventh Generation has done so voluntarily and has now created a guide so people can decipher what products are:
http://www.seventhgeneration.com/show-whats-inside/Cleaning-Products-Ingredients-Guide
. . .A way to power consumers and do good.
Simran

Comment by j500

Simran, I finally got around to trying out Seventh Generation’s product labeling guide. It’s great. I typed in ingredients from a few products to learn whether their claim of nontoxic was true and the results were interesting. Thanks!

Comment by staceyc08




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