Green Cleaning Update

21 04 2008

Thanks to all who commented about yesterday’s post on earth-friendly cleaning products. I wanted to add that Martin’s (the southern chain for Giant Food Stores) now carries both Seventh Generation and GreenWorks brand cleaning products. I compared the prices today and was happily surprised to find that the Seventh Generation’s 25-oz., vegetable-based dish detergent was running a bit cheaper than the 22-oz., petroleum-based Dawn detergent. This may not always be the case, as the Generation products were placed, along with GreenWorks’, in a special promotional spot for Earth Day, but I think it sends a positive message about the efforts of a chain supermarket to make green products more affordable (and therefore more attractive) to the masses.

Many people probably don’t realize how many things are derived, even in part, from the same oil we use to heat our homes and drive our cars. I certainly didn’t know that my dishwashing liquid–the Dawn of my youth–was made from crude. My (25% post-consumer recycled plastic) bottle of Generation dish detergent adds this: “You are making a difference. If every household in the U.S replaced just one bottle of 25 oz. petroleum-based dishwashing liquid with our 25 oz. vegetable-based product, we could save 81,000 barrels of oil, enough to heat and cool 4,600 U.S. homes for a year!

One final word about petroleum-based dish detergents: many contain the antibacterial agent triclosan, which is now notorious for its suspected contribution to the development of the antibiotic-resistant superbug, MRSA. The Seventh Generation detergent I picked up did not have triclosan. Furthermore, in a recent study, regular soap and water killed bacteria and cleaned hands just as well as the antibacterial soaps, anyway. It would behoove us all to begin the move away from our obsessive reliance on antibacterial everything. And if that move also helps improve our indoor and outdoor environmental health, all the more reason to follow Martin’s (and Target’s, and Wal-Mart’s, and many other stores’) lead. Even if you aren’t ready to give up the traditional dishwashing soaps, you can at least check the label for triclosan or for the word “antibacterial.”

So, I put my money where my mouth was yesterday and also bought some Seventh Generation toilet bowl cleaner. I’m already finding that one great thing about blogging on this topic is that the need to live what you preach is a great motivator.

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