What Makes a Product “Green”?

There is no clear-cut, definitive way to determine whether or not a product is green; however there are certain aspects to consider.  Typically ecofriendly items are ones that use less energy, are from recycled materials, and come with less packaging.  Inventors of such products are creative innovators and think outside of the box.  They come up with ways to replace artificial with natural and most importantly ways to protect the planet rather than to destroy.  To determine how green a product consider the following factors:

Reduced material use / resource efficient: Eco-friendly products can be composed of rapidly renewable products, meaning the materials have a shorter harvest rotation. Some products can even be made from agricultural waste which classifies them as rapid renewable products. This also includes energy efficiency- green products can conserve energy in production as well as when in use.  An item is NOT resource efficient if it comes from non-renewable resources.  Fact: The making of paper products from recycled paper generates 74% less pollution and uses 50% less water than making paper products from raw materials.

Biodegradable: Products and/or by-products of production can be safely returned to the soil.

Finished product’s recyclability:  Recycling is very important to the planet’s wellbeing.  Products that are recyclable themselves, or come in recyclable packaging, help deflect waste from our landfills and also prevent new resources from being used in the manufacturing process.  Fact: Nearly one billion trees worth of paper are thrown away every year in the United States.

Contain recycled ingredients:  When a product is made from recycled ingredients they can either be pre-consumer or post-consumer recyclables.  Pre-consumer means that the materials are that of industrial by-products.  Post-consumer means that what would be on the way to the landfill is being re-processed to create another product.  Fact: Recycling is very important to the wellbeing of our planet.  Plastic products made from recycled plastic need 88% less energy to make than plastic products made from oil.

VOC content: Volatile organic compounds are ingredients that emit toxic and dangerous chemicals.  Depending on if a product contains VOCs or not greatly impacts the safety of those who make it or use the finished product.  Conventional cleaners are typically petroleum based and have an adverse health and environmental repercussion.  Fact: There are 17,000 petro chemicals available for home use, of which only 30% have been tested for exposure to human health and the environment.

Organic ≠ good for you:  Although plant based cleaners are generally safer than conventional ones, the term organic does not necessarily mean that the product is safe for use.  The term organic means the ingredient is from a formerly living material whether it is a plant or animal.  Make sure to check other ingredients before deciding the product’s level of eco-friendliness.

Deciding whether or not a product is green can be tricky.  The bottom line is to ask yourself “Is this product and its ingredients environmentally responsible as well as socially?”  It is important that the product in question is one that is manufactured in a way that respects mankind and planet Earth. Envision Commercial Cleaning makes it a priority to practice green techniques and use green products.  With us, we can help your company do their part in the fight for a healthier environment – call for your free quote today!


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