Here’s something I wish I’d known about before having started this blog. There’s a database called GoodGuide, which verifies the greenness of lots of companies. I stumbled upon it this past week, during my search for a green alternative to the disposable cleaning wipes my husband and I use. Not long before that, I’d spent half an hour in the cleaning product section of Price Chopper comparing disinfecting wipe labels. I realized then that the level of scrutiny needed to read between the lines there was enough to make me nauseas.
It would make things a lot easier on my journey towards a greener lifestyle if I could rely on product labels. But, like with the organic food industry, where if a manufacturer uses a few organic ingredients it can label its products ‘organic’, a company can get away with printing ‘green’ on product labels by being just a little environmentally friendly. Am I wrong for hating that I have to play super sleuth to figure out which ‘green’ products are truly green?
The other day I came home from Price Chopper with a brand of wipes called Sun & Earth in my reusable cloth shopping bag. It seemed like a great option. The wipes smelled like citrus and cleaned well enough. The label on them listed all ingredients and shared the many ways in which they were environmentally safe, cruelty free, and safe to use. I didn’t stop with reading it, though. I went on the Sun and Earth‘s website and learned that the company had been in business since the 1980’s and had held an eco-conscious core value from the beginning. They also have lots of different cleaning products, some which Price Chopper carries! I was so ready to retire my magnifying glass and become a loyal customer.
But then I should have stopped there.
The thing is, I needed to find out if there were independent ratings or blog post reviews for Sun & Earth. That’s when my Google search led me to GoodGuide, which will now be my go-to site for verifying green claims. GoodGuide scientists rate products on a 0 to 10 scale for health, environment, and social impact. They gave Sun & Earth just 4’s for environment because of some ingredients and company practices. Off S & E’s label and website, I would never have guessed that.
Surprisingly, the cleaning wipes for Green Works, which is owned by Clorox received 7.5. Seventh Generation also scored well. GoodGuide also gave high ratings to products from a soap company called Dr. Bronners, which, as I’ve since learned from my daughter, anyone who leads a green lifestyle knows about.
Dr. Bronner’s makes something called Castile soap: a plant-based soap that is safe for the planet and can be used for 14 different household and personal hygiene tasks, according to the company. Here’s the good news, (although my husband may not agree,) with Dr. Bronner’s we could potentially jump way ahead in terms of making our lives greener. We could use Dr. Bronner’s to wash our dishes, scrub our cars, clean our floors, do our laundry, wash our hands; all things for which we currently use products that are not environmentally friendly. We could even brush our teeth with it (although the thought of that makes me gag a little). But what I’m most excited about right now is that I can use Dr. Bronner’s to make a solution for my own reusable cloth cleaning wipes. YAY! Click here to find out how.
So, I am officially turning in my sleuthing cap and leaving the green detective work to GoodGuide. I’d rather dress up in goggles and a lab coat anyway! For next week: DIY cleaning wipes, unless of course, I blow myself up.