Cleaning With Green Products



The Reasons for the Rise in Green Cleaning Products

The past few decades have seen people changed by priorities anywhere from parenting styles to political views. One category that has seen this shift is the environmentally friendly cleaning products or better known as “green” used in households and commercial properties alike. There have been many discussions on “going green” and why this phenomenon is occurring. This essay will address the reasons for the rise of environmentally friendly cleaning products due to the lower cost of green cleaning products, an increase in concern for the environment, and becoming a more informed individual.

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Money always leads the discussion for change currently, either for the negative or positive. The impactful way that money is influencing the desire to go green is that it is often more affordable or as affordable to buy environmentally conscious products than their chemical-filled counterparts (Espinoza et al., 2011). Not only are most of the commercial store-bought green cleaners better the budget, but people are putting a premium on making their household cleaners with items like vinegar and lemons are cleaning products using their acidity as the base. The general rule is that if one can buy green, then one should.

Another reason there has been a rise in using environmentally conscious cleaners can also attribute to the rise in health concerns people are experiencing. Chemicals such as phthalates, perchloroethylene, and chlorine can be found in common household cleaners. The American Lung Association (ALA) released an article describing that studies are underway to assess how these chemicals affect people who have asthma and other respiratory illnesses (Institute of Medicine). These studies are responsible for digging further into the harmful effects of chemicals and additives that are in cleaning solutions. To further back up the argument against the use of chemical substances, the ALA actively supports choosing less hazardous products to maintain self-care.

The Draw of Eco-Cleaning: A Social Examination of the Effects of Climate Change on Individuals

The recent increases in climate extremes throughout the world are one of the primary reasons that individuals may point to for the reasoning behind their choosing to use ecologically friendly household cleaners. Yet, as Thomas C. Kinnear and James R. Taylor examined in 1973, and Gill Seyfang argued in 2005, the altruism behind a generalized commercial increase is not so clear. The literature argues that with an increase in consumer interest in ecologically friendly cleaning products, so will the availability of such products on store shelves increase. The rise in popularity of ecologically friendly household cleaners in the last few decades prompts examination of what draws the average individual to these cleaners. The reasons consumers are opting for ecologically friendly cleaning products in homes and businesses have been developing for decades, but these reasons link directly to the marketplace, as literature argues that consumption habits beget products until the reasons for consumers selecting eco-friendly cleaning products is no longer relevant.

Method

The cleaning product industry develops based products on the consumption habits of the public. Yet the products made available by this industry also restrict the consuming public. In Kinnear and Taylor’s 1973 research, the weight given to ecological cleaning products by consumers focused on the quality of cleaning rather than on the ecological impact (or lack thereof) of such a product. If the ecologically friendly cleaning products on store shelves were not effectively cleaning the home, consumers refused to purchase. This established an impetus for these industries to focus on making their ‘green’ cleaning products more effective but also highlighted that the ecology of cleaning products was not the true driving factor in consumption of products (Kinnear, Taylor, 1973).

Entering the new millennium, Seyfang argues that as the public developed an appetite for ecological commitment. The social push towards sustainable cleaning products increased, and the cleaning products industry began to align their brands with ecologically friendly products (Seyfang, 2005).

Increasing Awareness of Climate Change and the Shift Toward Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products

The roots of the movement away from pollution-causing technology to clean technology in order to address the issue of climate change can be traced all the way back to 1962 when Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, which warned of the environmental devastation caused by pesticides. During the decades following this publication, several measures of environmental policy were adopted by nations across the globe to mitigate the harmful effects of industrialization on the environment. However, the issue of climate change became one of significant concern to the mainstream American public during the 21st century, for two main reasons. Devastating natural disasters claiming large death tolls occurred at an increasing rate across the globe, and prominent politicians began to advocate for action regarding climate change. Since 1980, the number of severe floods has almost tripled, and storms have nearly doubled (Schiermeier 2012). The most severe of these events, including Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and the tsunami and earthquake that caused the meltdown of a nuclear reactor in Fukishima, Japan in 2011, forced the public to consider that climate change might play a significant role in the rise in deadly natural disasters. In 2006, former vice president of the United States, Al Gore, released a documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth, which exposed the dangers of global warming. In his book of the same name, Gore claimed of global warming that “the pace of destruction has worsened and the urgent need for a response has grown more acute” (Gore 2006). Al Gore’s efforts thrust the issue of climate change back into the limelight. In the following years, more democratic politicians began to advocate for action regarding climate change, and the idea of global warming was no longer seen as a hoax. As a result, people sought for a way to do their part in fighting climate change by making more environmentally friendly purchases, including eco-friendly cleaning products.

Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

In today’s society, there is more competition than ever, thanks to the growing world of e-commerce and the ability for shoppers to compare products, read product reviews, and seek out the best possible product at the lowest possible price. It can make every company worry about how to catch the eye -and the money- of shoppers.  One way that companies differentiate themselves is by labeling their products as “eco-friendly.” This is because consumers are much more environmentally conscious than ever before. As such, companies have begun to alter their formulations and they often promote their products as eco-friendly (Testa, et al., 2015). They understand that there is marketing and buying power in letting consumers know that they, too, care about the environment.  Cleaning product companies have become a product market in which consumers have become especially mindful of eco-friendly products. This requires educating potential consumers about how the product can be both eco-friendly and still clean as well as less eco-friendly products that may be more familiar to purchasers (V?gants, et al., 2016). When considering purchasing the most effective cleaning products, eco-friendly products are created using human and environmentally safe ingredients, it contains biodegradable ingredients and packaging, and it works comparably to other similar products that are not eco-friendly.

Many believe that a label of eco-friendly is simply a marketing tool. However, this designation is intended to provide consumer with information about the way the product has been formulated. This is because these formulations are intentionally created for and tested to ensure that they are not only safe for the people who live in the environment where the product is used, it is also safe for pets and for the environment.

References

Testa, F., Iraldo, F., Vaccari, A., & Ferrari, E. (2015). Why eco?labels can be effective     marketing tools: Evidence from a study on Italian consumers. Business Strategy and the            Environment, 24(4), 252-265.

V?gants, E., Blumberga, A., Timma, L., ?jabs, I., & Blumberga, D. (2016). The dynamics of         technological substitution: the case of eco-innovation diffusion of surface cleaning        products. Journal of Cleaner Production, 132, 279-288.

Arvanitakis, G., Temmerman, R., & Spök, A. (2018). Development and use of microbial-based cleaning    products (MBCPs): Current issues and knowledge gaps. Food and Chemical Toxicology,116, 3-9. doi:10.1016/j.fct.2017.12.032

Gore. A. (2006). AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH. (cover story). Mother Earth News,(218), 54-59. Retrieved May 10, 2019.

Schiermeier, Q. (2012). Disaster toll tallied. Nature,481(7380), 124-125. doi:10.1038/481124a

Espinoza, Tyler & Geiger, Chris & Everson, Iryna & Summary, Executive. (2011). The Real                     Costs of Institutional “Green” Cleaning.

Institute of Medicine, Division of Health Promotion, Indoor Air and Disease Prevention. (2015).                Clearing the Air: Asthma and Indoor Air Exposures. Washington, DC: National                                   Academies Press, 2000. Kanchongkittiphon W, et al. Indoor Environmental Exposures of         Asthma: An Update to the 2000 Review by the Institute of Medicine. Environmental                      Health Perspectives.; 123: 6-20.

Kinnear, T.C., & Taylor, J.R. (1973). The Effect of Ecological Concern on Brand

Perceptions. Journal of Marketing Research, 10(2), 191-197. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/3149825.

Seyfang, G. (2005). Shopping for Sustainability: Can Sustainable Consumption Promote

Ecological Citizenship? Environmental Politics, 14(2), 290-306. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09644010500055209?scroll=top&needAccess=true.

 



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