Many household products that we use everyday may be harmful to the environment and ourselves. These vary from toxic chemicals that are dangerous to inhale to products that can burn skin and cause permanent eye damage.
Even if we are careful when we use these products, when we discharge them into the environment, we expose the environment to these chemicals.
Many cleaning products also contain high levels of phosphates, which can promote algal blooms in surface water. This degrades the water quality of our local waterbodies.
There are alternative cleaners available and many cleaning challenges can be managed with a few basic household products.
Five basic ingredients serve as the building blocks for environmentally friendly home cleaning products:
Baking Soda - Cleans and deodorizes. It softens water and is good as a scouring powder.
Borax - Cleans, deodorizes and softens water. Excellent disinfectant.
Soap - Biodegrades safely and completely and is non-toxic. Sold as:
Washing Soda - It cuts grease, removes stains, disinfects and softens water.
White Vinegar or Lemon Juice - It cuts grease and freshens.
All-Purpose Cleanser - Mix a ½ cup of pure soap (or soap flakes) with a ¼ cup of lemon juice and 1 gallon of hot water.
There are numerous online recipes for all sorts of cleaning problems.
The EcoLogo Program was developed by Environment Canada and is North America's leading benchmark of environmentally responsible products and services. Established in 1988, the program helps consumers identify products and services that are less harmful to the environment.
Environmental eco-labeling is a voluntary method of environmental performance certification. An eco-label is awarded by an impartial third party, which independently determines if a product or service meets environmental leadership criteria.
Eco-labels are given to products that are deemed to have fewer impacts on the environment than functionally or competitively similar products.
The overall goal of environmental labels is to encourage the demand for and supply of these products as they cause less stress on the environment.
The EcoLogo symbol features three stylized doves intertwined to form a maple leaf. Each dove represents a sector of society:
Through the EcoLogo Program, all three sectors work together to improve Canada's environment.
A product may receive the EcoLogo if it is made or offered in a way that:
Currently, the program has more than 1400 approved products, with 119 licensees and 29 guidelines under which companies may be licensed and their products certified.
Eco-friendly products include all-purpose cleaners, tiolet bowl cleaners, dishwasher powders, as well as many others. Many of these products can be found at your local hardware or grocery store.