Healthy Living

Greenwashing: How To Make Informed Choices

Everyone wants to make the healthy choice- to choose non-toxic, environmentally friendly products that benefit the earth, rather than harm it.

The Hard Part.

Customers are at a disadvantage. Many cleaning product manufacturers promote and benefit from a knowledge gap between themselves and their customers. They make it hard for customers to make informed, responsible choices - and hide their own destructive habits under attractive but misleading advertising.

Studying labels

With food, it's different. You know what you’re getting thanks to government-mandated ingredient lists. But sadly cleaning products don’t require the same transparency. What's worse, since most ingredients (in chemical cleaners) have long, complex names (who doesn’t love ethylene glycol monobutyl ether?) the customer is less likely to recognize and understand which ones are harmful and should be avoided- even if they can somehow find out what the ingredients are!

All this means the customers are left confused and discouraged - and the companies prosper.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG)

The Almost Good Part.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit dedicated to a healthier environment, has recognized this knowledge gap and has decided to do something about it.

EWG set out to analyze over two thousand different cleaning products, with the purpose of separating the good from the bad and finally giving the customer the edge in choosing eco-friendly products. Of course, this was much easier said than done.

Obviously not every company is as keen on transparency as we would like. The cleaning industry hid its ingredients behind claims of “trade secrets” and "confidential formulas". Worse still, the companies used their own testing data to “verify” the safety of the products - without allowing the EWG to see that data. As you can probable see, it wasn't the most unbiased approach. 

Ingredient testing

But the EWG fought on, and with dedication and a whole lot of scientific elbow grease, managed to complete their 'Guide to Healthy Cleaning' - a complete list of hundreds of products, with a rigorous rating system to determine their impact on our environment and on our health.

What did they find? Well, not much good. Most products fell into the C to F range (A is the higher end of the scale). They also found abundant evidence of a process called “Greenwashing”- this is when a toxic, unhealthy product markets itself as “green” and “natural.” Since these terms have no official requirements, it’s super easy for companies to claim any product is “green.”

Of the 237 bathroom cleaners, for example, that the EWG studied, only 9 received an A, a total of 4%- and more than 50% received an F.

The Good Part.

But there was some good news that came with this Healthy Cleaning Guide- a handful of products did manage to get top marks and we’re happy to say that every single AspenClean product was awarded the highest level - A. AspenClean has received a lot of environmental certifications and awards over the years, but this is the one we’re most proud of.

Of course, what the EWG study can't show is the effectiveness of these products. While we can’t speak for the utility of other cleaning solutions, we can safely say ours are put to the test every single day by a professional, highly trained cleaning service.

Choosing to have a healthy, safe home shouldn’t be difficult - and shouldn’t require being a trained chemist. The EWG has helped millions of consumers vote with their dollar, and to choose not to harm our planet and our health.

Click here to view AspenClean EWG VERIFIED™ products with full ingredient lists