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Eco friendly cleaning products - a growing trend

It was only a mere 50 years ago when people would use simple home staples like bicarbonate of soda and vinegar to clean their homes. Over time, however, manufacturers began to produce products containing a mix of unpleasant chemicals, which are said to cause damage to our health. A wealth of evidence highlights the health impact of chemicals that we use in cleaning products, which can pass through our skin as well as be breathed in[1]. What’s more, according to a recent study undertaken by the Norwegian University of Bergen, people who use these harsh modern cleaning products are at a greater risk of developing conditions such as bronchitis and emphysema, due to the release of toxic chemicals into the air we breathe. A 30 year study undertaken by Harvard University and the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research also uncovered that using harsh chemical cleaning products just once a week could increase a person’s chances of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease by nearly a third.

It is because of findings like this that people are now becoming more aware of the potential damage these cleaning products cause to health.

Impact on the environment

As a result of eye opening programs such as Blue Planet 2 and the widespread press coverage of environmental issues such as plastic waste contaminating the oceans, people are also making more of an effort to minimize damage to the planet. Consumers are more informed and are therefore becoming increasingly conscious of the products they are choosing. When it comes to cleaning products, a wealth of evidence highlights the negative impact that they have on the environment due to the chemicals they contain and the excessive packaging they come in. In America, for example, it was found that 70% of streams were found to contain laundry detergent ingredients.

Natural, eco-friendly cleaning products are therefore becoming popular laundry and cleaning alternatives in many homes today.[2]

A change in attitude

Historically, eco-friendly cleaning products have been perceived as (somewhat justifiably) drab and unstylish.

In a bid to make sustainable look desirable, eco-friendly cleaning brand Method, for example, has created a range of brightly colored, stylish products which consumers are more inclined to use. Method’s products, which have skyrocketed in popularity since their launch in 2002, promise to contain naturally derived, safe ingredients and be free from toxins. Whilst their environmentally focused USP is their most important benefit, the brand has avoided splashing their green credentials across their product packaging in order to appeal to a much wider audience. Instead, the brand uses a more subtle approach to draw people in, which was confirmed by Clare Burke, Method’s UK country marketing manager who states that; “When people read the back of their products our sustainability voice comes through. I guess it’s all the softer touch points: social media, website and communications.”

Whilst ‘Green cleaning’ or ‘eco-friendly cleaning’ was once thought of as a bit ‘hippy,’ Method and brands such as Ecover are prime examples of brands that are successfully challenging this common perception.

This change in attitude has also been fostered by celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Jessica Alba, who publicly advocate these products and have even launched their own natural cleaning ranges. It is because of this that green cleaning is becoming increasingly mainstream and now has a more desirable image than in the past.

Through the use of attractive packaging and branding alongside effective marketing, advertising and PR, and more awareness of damage to the environment caused by conventional products, there is no doubt that these eco friendly products will begin to dominate our supermarket shelves in the future.

 

[1]http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/ethicalreports/householdcleaningproductsreport/toxicchemicals.aspx

[2]https://www.greenchoices.org/green-living/cleaning/environmental-impacts