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How to Spot a Green Cleaner Highlights

Knowing when a claim of being green is actually true and not an advertising ploy can be difficult if you are not armed with the knowledge of how to spot a green cleaner. There are a few approaches to finding the right green cleaner for you - use the third-party certifications listed below to guide you in the right direction, review the list of ingredients and product label and/or research the company.

Third-Party Certifications or Ecolabels

There are many different third-party certifications or ecolabels, as they are commonly known as, available worldwide to green products. Three of those examples, Design for the Environment, Green Seal and Ecologo are listed below. Each certifier has a different set of standards to which they adhere. Review the different standards of each to decide which certification you find the best fit.

  • Design for the Environment Logo

    Design for the Environment (DfE) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's certification program works in partnership with a broad range of stakeholders to reduce risks to people and the environment by preventing pollution. DfE focuses on industries that combine the potential for chemical risk reduction and improvements in energy efficiency with a strong motivation to make lasting, positive changes. DfE convenes partners, including industry representatives and environmental groups, to develop goals and guide the work of the partnership. Partnership projects evaluate the human health and environmental considerations, performance, and cost of traditional and alternative technologies, materials, and processes.
  • US Green Building Council Member Seal

    Green Seal — Founded in 1989, Green Seal provides science-based environmental certification standards that are credible, transparent and essential in an increasingly educated and competitive marketplace. Green Seal's industry knowledge and standards help manufacturers, purchasers and end users alike make responsible choices that positively impact business behavior and improve the quality of life. Green Seal certifies hundreds of products and services.
  • EcoLogo Logo

    EcoLogo — Founded in 1988 by the Canadian government, EcoLogo is now recognized world-wide, as North America's largest environmental standard and certification mark. EcoLogo provides customers public, corporate and consumer with assurance that the products and services bearing the logo meet stringent standards of environmental leadership. With thousands of EcoLogo Certified products, EcoLogo certifies environmental leaders covering a large variety of categories, helping you to find and trust the world's most sustainable products.

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Review the Label

If a product does not bear an ecolabel from a third-party certifier, it certainly does not exclude it from being environmentally friendly. It is important to review the label and ingredients to determine if the product is environmentally preferable. Also, be sure to consider the packaging of the product and overall environmental responsibility of the company.

Look for products that are:

  • non-toxic
  • biodegradable
  • phosphate-free
  • bleach-free
  • dye-free
  • petroleum-free
  • chlorine-free
  • made from renewable resources
  • scented with natural plant derivatives or essential oils

Packaging

  • Buy in bulk.
  • Purchase a concentrated product and dilute as needed.
  • Buy refills instead of a new product each time.
  • Look for packaging made of recycled content.

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Research the Company

Young woman using a computer

Whether it's a large company with a new green line such as Clorox GreenWorks, or an independent manufacturer, it's worth doing a little research on the company and the products you are interested in. Read environmental blogs, consumer reports and review the company's own Web site. Many companies provide facts and statistics for their cleaners and have had independent research done on their product. Doing research is the best way to find which product works best for your needs.

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Green Cleaning Links
Programs

Last updated: September 11, 2009

  Florida Department of Environmental Protection, 3900 Commonwealth Boulevard M.S. 49   Tallahassee, Florida 32399  
850-245-2118 (phone) / 850-245-2159 (fax) 
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