Corporate Giants Are Going “Green”

I’m not sure what to think about it.

Clorox has long been known for producing chlorine bleach and other non earth friendly products (though Clorox proclaims that bleach is Earth Friendly). Recently, we have heard noises about the company vowing to become more green. I was a bit amused… how would this corporation sugar coat their products to make them appear more earth friendly.

Frankly, I was a bit surprised with the answer.

Clorox has launched a line of natural cleaners called greenworks. So far there are five products in the line up, including: natural bathroom cleaner, natural glass & surface cleaner, natural all purpuse cleaner, natural toilet bowl cleaner and natural dilutable cleaner. (Notice that nothing is capilized… so many companies feel that they must set apart their natural products by not using capilization… perhaps they think green = uneducated? Personally, I think green = educated.)

Here is the definition of “natural” from the company website…

“Currently, there is no industry standard definition for natural cleaners. To create Green Works™ natural cleaners we set ourselves a very stringent standard. The ingredients must come from renewable resources, be biodegradable and free of petrochemicals. Green Works™ cleaners are at least 99% natural. In certain cases we had to use synthetic ingredients, like the preservative and green colorant. But we’re working hard to develop natural alternatives so the entire line can be 100% natural.”

Why couldn’t Clorox skip the preservatives and the green colorant? Especially the green colorant! It’s not necessary… so why not leave it out and bridge that gap between 99 and 100% natural? Just a thought from a green mom. (FYI, green doesn’t imply COLOR.)

I happened upon green works by accident in the regular cleaning aisle at my local Fred Meyer (Kroger) grocer. I was meandering around in search of the kitty litter we are in love with (Natural Harmony, pelletized plant fiber litter) when I saw them. It was like a little light bulb went on in my head as I made the connection with the recent articles I had read about Clorox going green. Fred’s had them on sale 2 for $5.00 which I felt was a great price for a natural product. Obviously, I felt compelled to road test the products. I brought home the natural glass & surface and natural bathroom cleaners. I couldn’t bring myself to purchase the ones that were colored green.

Guess what? They work remarkably well. My bathroom mirrors are shiny and streak free. My kitchen counters are just as clean as they are with any other product and the bathroom cleaner worked nicely on my large, soak tub. 🙂

The ingredients follow:

natural bathroom cleaner-

Coconut-based cleaning agent (nonionic surfactant), glycolic acid, essential lemon oil and filtered water. Contains no phosphorus. Contains no bleach.

natural glass & surface cleaner-

Coconut-based cleaning agent (nonionic surfactant), corn-based ethanol, filtered water and fragrance with essential lemon oil. Contails no phosphorus. Contains no bleach.

Why I think these products just might be okay.

They are made from plant and mineral based ingredients. *from their labeling

They are made from biodegradable ingredients. *from their labeling

They are not tested on animals. *from their labeling

They work really well. *labeling says as good as traditional cleaners… I agree.

Why I have some concerns.

The company itself is not green. They continue to produce products that are harmful to our environment and use processes such as animal testing which is NOT GREEN. Simply introducing a “green” line doesn’t make the company better… it is simply a tool to reach out to a market Clorox wants to make money on.

This corporate giant makes claims on its website that bleach is “perceived as harmful for the environment”. The site then goes on to state that the product degrades “rapidly and completely”, however if you read on you will see that there is still about 5% that isn’t broken down into salt and water. These leftover unnamed by-products “are effectively treated by municipal wastewater treatment plants or septic systems.” Huh… so maybe it isn’t so great after all. And how about chlorine bleach causing more calls to the poison control center than any other household product. Kudos Clorox, your product is poisioning America’s children. Contrary to Clorox ads that state, “Essential for a healthier home”… we know this product isn’t necessary and may prove detrimental to our healthy homes. Also, kindly keep in mind… Clorox as a corporation has a history of animal testing. So, perhaps they are cleaning up their act… or maybe only their new line isn’t animal tested. We must really ponder if we are willing to purchase products from a company that is only pretending to be green in order to grow its bank account.

To sum things up. This product is a better alternative than traditional household cleaners. It is less damaging to the environment and is relatively cost effective, so it might reach out to those who haven’t previously used natural products. I will not continue to use this product after my two road test bottles are used up. My feelings are strong that being green goes far beyond one product, we have to address the whole picture and I don’t feel that Clorox as a company does this. These are the same reasons I will not purchase Burts Bees prouducts any longer. Now that Clorox owns that company it just doesn’t fit into my view of being green and being socially conscious.

Yes, this appears to be a decent product that works well. Yes, the Clorox name will probably help it reach consumers. Wake up America. This company isn’t green by any stretch of the word.


About PolkaDotMommy

Wife to a teacher extraordinaire... Mama to Five littles... Conservative Catholic Christian with a Strong Environmentalist Mentality... Respecting Life... Living for our Savior... Learning to trust God in all things.
This entry was posted in Being Green and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Corporate Giants Are Going “Green”

  1. Meg says:

    Extremely in depth analysis and very informative, thank you. I think even the name Clorox itself automatically yells “bleach!” and to those of us who educate ourselves daily with all the green-goings-on, it will take awhile to be convinced. Especially those who can see through the green washing and don’t always believe everything they read. I remember years ago, when GE used to dump/pollute and had such a bad reputation. Took them away but they finally started to clean up their act.

  2. Alex says:

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

  3. Danica says:

    Why I have some concerns…

    Sure the products contain a “Coconut-based cleaning agent”, but do we realize that Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate are all coconut derived.

    Here’s a bit more about those nonionic surfactants:

    “Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) Ammonium Laureth Sulfate (ALES): When combined with other ingredients, these chemicals form nitrosating agents and have a carcinogenic effect on the body. Be especially wary of semi-natural products that claim to be derived from coconut oil.

    Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS): These chemicals can alter the immune system and cause damage to the eyes, digestive system, nervous system, lungs, and skin. They are commonly found in foaming personal care products. And may be listed as ingredients on semi-natural products that claim to come from coconut oil.”

    Remember, not everything that comes from plants is safe for your home and your body… the way things are processed, extracted and mixed with other materials makes a huge difference. Don’t fall for the pseudo-natural lines of cleaners and health care products. If it says may be harmful if swallowed or anything about contacting poison control… something in there is toxic. Not that I’m saying we can always avoid the toxic products if we still want them to work the way the even less natural products work. I just think it’s important to be aware of these things, and not allow these companies to trick us into thinking it’s perfectly safe, when it’s not. If it’s derived from plants and you can’t eat it… it probably isn’t as non-toxic and eco-friendly as we all wish it was.

    Just my two cents.


    Nonetheless, excellent article and thank you for the ingredient listings and analysis.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s