With all the changes in environmental policies and consumer advocacy, everyone becomes more aware of the need for greener products. Today’s consumer, whether for private or industrial use, is looking out for environmentally friendly products for their cleaning needs. But do we really know what we mean when we say green cleaning products or environmentally friendly cleaning supplies? Our local consumers in Nigeria are to become more aware of the importance of not harming the environment with the chemicals we use. Laser Chemicals is serious about developing greener solvents and eco-friendly products for our growing market. When it comes to chemicals and understanding their potential harmfulness to humans, animals, and their habitat, our beautiful earth, one needs to look on one side at what raw materials are being used and then what reaction the chemicals might have when coming into contact with each other or other elements.
More of us are thinking about the environment these days, so maybe you’re thinking about changing your cleaning products, and making a “greener choice.” Before you make the switch, Consumer Reports cuts through the hype and reveals that some products marketed as green or natural might not be as great as they seem. What does saying a product is “green” even mean? Consumer Reports says, not much. The same goes for words like “natural,” “plant-based,” “non-toxic,” and “eco-friendly.” “These are really just marketing terms to make a product seem more appealing. It’s sometimes called ‘greenwashing’ – a gimmick meant to attract consumers who prefer to buy products from environmentally conscious brands,” explains Consumer Reports’ Althea Chang-Cook. Still, lots of people want to make eco-friendly choices! Start by thinking about what aspect of “being green” is important to you. Should a cleaner be made from plants? Biodegradable?
While an “eco-friendly” product may use less plastic in its packaging, that doesn’t mean the product is free from harmful chemicals. “Another important thing to know is that just because a product is ‘natural’ or ‘plant-based’ doesn’t mean it is safe,” says Chang-Cook. “It could even be toxic. That’s something you’ll want o to be aware of especially if you have kids around.” A better way to choose cleaning products is to look for one of these seals of approval from independent, third-party organizations that evaluate the company’s claims. The seal from UL signifies a product has a lower environmental impact than other similar products – factors like a manufacturer’s energy consumption, water usage, and waste. To be EWG Verified, products can’t include certain ingredients identified to be potentially harmful to human and environmental health.
Over the years, many harmful raw materials have been used in the manufacturing process of cleaning chemicals and industrial solvents. For instance, phosphates have been commonly used in the manufacturing process and these are extremely damaging to the environment. These phosphates usually end up in wastewater systems and are detrimental to all living organisms. Too much phosphate causes serious health issues, such as damage to the kidneys, liver, and heart. Today it is possible to source alternatives to many of these harmful raw materials that are both biodegradable and environmentally friendly and have proved to be just as effective as their bad counterparts. More and more end users today are able to use products that are fully biodegradable and environmentally friendly with the knowledge that they help reduce their carbon footprint, while not compromising on the efficacy of the product. This is even true for heavy-duty industrial cleaners. The industry as a whole has a long way to go still in replacing harmful chemicals with bio-friendly ones but at least some manufacturers have now started the process of replacing their formulas.