How to Know If Green Janitorial Chemicals Are Really Green: 4 EcoFriendly Certifications to Help You

Beware, listing “Biodegradable” on a green colored label does not make a product environmentally friendly! You want to be green, but it is difficult to determine if you are limiting your impact on the environment or just buying another pretty label that the marketing department directed it to be green.

There are good reasons to use green janitorial chemicals and supplies. Indoor air quality that we live and work in is frequently worse than our outdoor air, especially of concern since most of us spend much more time indoors than outdoors. Additionally, using non-toxic, environmentally friendly, green janitorial chemicals has been found to enhance the health of the cleaning staff, as well as the building guests and occupants.

There are reliable certifications that you can use to select your green janitorial chemicals. While the logos may be simple, the environmental criteria behind them are strict. While not perfect, they are independent. Use these certifications as your guide. They are science-based, rigorous, well-respected, and have been around a while.

Look for the following four certifications. Each of these third-party reviewing bodies has developed and continue to maintain a reliable standard for the products they evaluate.

Design for the Environment (DfE) is a US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program, created in 1992. The EPA DfE program provides information regarding safer chemical formulations, as well as the best environmental practices. It seeks to prevent pollution as well as the risk pollution presents to humans and the environment. Three main goals of DfE are to define best practices for the industry; promote house cleaning toronto and recognizing safer consumer and industrial and institutional products through more reliable product labeling, and identify safer chemicals. DfE is unique in that testing happens not only after formulation, but also the individual ingredients are tested even before products are combined for the wording. This provides an additional level of protection since the manufacturers cannot dilute otherwise harmful chemicals to disguise their existence.

EcoLogo is an eco-labeling scheme that was launched in 1988 and today is a part of the Environment Canada (Canada’s equivalent to the US EPA) Environmental Choice Program. It was established to help identify products which are less harmful to the environment, including green janitorial chemicals. EcoLogo is one of the oldest certification programs in the world. EcoLogo provides customers with the necessary assurance that the products and services bearing the EcoLogo logo are green and has been verified by a third-party auditor.

Green Seal is a US-based non-profit, third-party organization that began in 1989. The evaluation process is based on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards for environmental labeling programs, ISO 14020 and ISO 14024. It takes into account a life cycle assessment approach by evaluating a product from the raw materials through the manufacturing process and ending with recycling or disposal. Having a Green Seal certification means that the product has passed post formulation tests, and it works as well as others in its class.

European Eco, with its eco-label flower logo, has been used throughout the European Union since 1992 to identify goods that meet strict scientific criteria for minimizing environmental impacts. This voluntary certification has proven to encourage businesses to market products, such as green janitorial chemicals and supplies, that are kinder to the environment. The criteria are agreed at European level, and the label itself is only awarded after verification that the product meets high standards. Only the very best products, which are also kindest to the environment, are entitled to carry the European Ecolabel.

By setting standards and evaluating products, these certifications help the consumer (public, corporate, entrepreneur, and consumer) to identify, trust, and buy environmentally preferable (“green”) goods. In each case, green janitorial chemicals only become certified after a rigorous science-based evaluation by an independent third-party.

Beware of imposters. There are many in the market. Some are company owned, some are developed by industry associations, some are marketing ploys. Some are quite clever. (One of my favorite examples is the graphic of sea lion that was colored green!) Watchdog organizations have sued many of these imposters, but as buyers and users with limited time and a full slate of other responsibilities, you do not have the luxury to research this yourself. Seeking products with one of these four certifications for your green janitorial chemicals will streamline your busy schedule.