The term ‘eco-friendly’ gets tossed around a lot since sustainability movements have become popular. We couldn't be more thrilled that saving our precious planet has become a mainstream agenda, but it comes with its own challenges. The biggest one: greenwashing.
We're busting a few myths about eco-friendly cleaning products that you should be aware of.
MYTH: ECO-FRIENDLY IS JUST ABOUT PACKAGING
The truth is when customers look for "eco" products, they really mean safe for the people and the planet, not one or the other. Most supermarket brands labelled "eco-friendly" in the supermarket mean their packaging is made with 30% or more recycled material, without referring to their ingredients that contain harsh chemicals, over 90% tap water and, wait for it, microplastics in the contents (often used as thickeners).
The concept of eco-friendly cleaning was born decades ago; it all began before chemicals like bleach and ammonia hit the mainstream market shelves packaged in cleaning bottles that are supposed to keep us safe. Our grandparents used baking soda and the world's finest disinfectant: vinegar. It is important to look for safe ingredients in addition to planet-friendly packaging.
Here is a list of ingredients to avoid when choosing your cleaning products, and what Spruce is made without:
✖ SLS OR PARABENS
✖ SYNTHETIC FRAGRANCES OR OPTICAL BRIGHTENERS
✖ CHLORINE BLEACH
✖ PETROLEUM OR PALM OIL
We use safe ingredients and only 100% organic essential oils in our formulations. Every ingredient is chosen based on a low toxicity score and our final formulations are fully biodegradable, which means they won't lurk in the environment to cause damage to air, water and soil. If you want to find out more about what made us launch Spruce and especially focus on ridding our homes of toxic chemicals, here's a blog about our founder's journey and motivation behind Spruce.
MYTH: RECYCLABLE MEANS RECYCLED
Or vice versa. If the packaging is labelled as "recyclable", it doesn't mean it will get recycled in practice. In western developed countries, we sadly still ship a massive amount of our waste to the less fortunate countries, where it gets incinerated or pollutes the oceans. Recycling rates are dismally low compared to the pace at which we produce and consume plastic packaging.
Similarly, "made from recycled materials" is very misleading. While it is true that there may be less virgin plastic used - that is fewer fossil fuels exploited - we strongly believe recycled plastic which itself is a carbon-intensive process, should only be used in long-lasting packaging, not to create more single-use plastic bottles that will still end up in the landfill.
Did you know that if every household switched to refillable cleaning in the UK we could save more than 300 million single-use plastic bottles from polluting our planet?
Look for eco-friendly cleaning products that also aim to reduce their impact on the planet by using sustainable materials. Refill and reuse is the key here, people! With our cleaning products, you'll never have to throw away another cleaning bottle again, hence our beautiful eternity unbreakable aluminium bottles and easy refill model.
MYTH: GOING PLASTIC-FREE IS ALL THAT MATTERS
Most likely, every supermarket cleaning brand that claims to be eco-friendly still comes with over 90% water content. If you don't like the idea of bottled tap water packaged in single-use plastic bottles travelling thousands of miles on air-polluting transportation, it's pretty much the same concept. We've designed our safe formulations with water-less technology.
Going plastic-free or switching to reusable glass bottles is not enough. True eco-friendly brands look at their overall carbon footprint. Each of our refills weighs 140 times less than a typical water-filled cleaning bottle. All you do is just add tap water at home. Cleans just as well, without polluting your home or the planet.
How to tell fact from fiction
Sustainability has never been more in vogue. Many companies - large FMCG's ahem! - are trying to cash in on consumers' honest desire to make better choices.
Don’t trust labels such as ‘eco’ or ‘all-natural as there are no regulations on using these terms. Peel through layers of those non-recyclable plastic labels and read between the lines. Look for certifications such a B Corp, Leaping Bunny and certified home compostable packaging. If you want to learn how to read product labels better, check out this blog post.
At Spruce, we make every decision from ingredients sourcing, formulations, product packaging, partners and suppliers based on human and the planet's safety. If we didn't, there wouldn't be a reason for us to exist.
If you are ready to make the switch to truly eco-friendly cleaning, click on the image bellow to check out our starter kits.
Written by Sofya Zakharova