Green Goes Mainstream

February 05, 2007

by Claris Olson, HSC Environmental Health Specialist

You don’t have to be a chemical engineer to appreciate the changes occurring in the cleaning products industry. Michael McCoy points to all the forces that are changing the industry in his article “Going Green,” published in Chemical and Engineering News. The article describes how pushed by Wal-Mart, legislation and the public, the cleaning products industry is embracing sustainability.

So what is Wal-Mart doing? At the Clinton Global Initiative, Wal-Mart announced its plan to measure its 60,000 suppliers on their ability to reduce packaging and to reduce the amount of harmful chemicals in their cleaning and chemical intensive products. 

Over the next two years, 20 chemicals of concern will have to be substituted for environmentally preferable ingredients. And when Wal-Mart talks, suppliers listen.

On the legislative side, McCoy points to bans on phosphates in some states and EPA’s Design for the Environment program. 

Let’s not forget New York’s green cleaning law — which is not mentioned in the article. To see the proof all these influences are having, just look at the product listing on Green Seal’s website. 

The number of products must have at least doubled since last October when we first launched “The Quick and Easy Guide to Green Cleaning.” This is great news for consumers, environmentalists, custodians and especially our children who are most vulnerable to chemical exposures.