The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines Green Purchasing as “choosing products or services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose. Comparison applies to raw materials, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, use, reuse, operation, maintenance, and disposal.”
The City of Redmond supports green purchasing and is very interested in working with consumers, businesses, and organizations to present options that align with protecting public health and the environment.
This webpage is intended to help guide consumers, businesses, and organizations to green cleaning alternatives that reduce some or all of the life cycle effects from:
- Waste generation
- Energy consumption
- Depletion of natural resources
- Potential impact on health and nature
Many common cleaning products are hazardous to the environment when flushed down the drain or thrown away. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, fumes from household cleansers and other products make indoor air in the typical home two to five times more polluted than the air outside.
Children, seniors and pets are particularly sensitive to household chemicals. Using less toxic household products keeps the home healthier and helps protect the environment. Here are some tips for finding less toxic products:
Green cleaning products can help keep chemicals out of the waste stream and groundwater and also typically come in recycled packaging, which is an extra bonus for the environment.
- Look at the warning words on the label. The warning words "Caution" and "Warning" indicate a moderate hazard. The words "Danger" and "Poison" on the label indicate highest hazard. Avoid products marked "Danger" or "Poison" and look for products with no warning words. Note that particular warning words don’t always refer to the same kind of hazard.
- Chose a product with no scent or a mild scent. Scented products can add chemicals to the indoor air environment and may be disruptive to children and to people with respiratory ailments or sensitive skin.
- Check the product’s ingredients. Finding out what’s in a product can sometimes be difficult because manufacturers aren’t required to list all the ingredients (except for food products). For example, many manufacturers don’t list inert ingredients even though people may be sensitive to these. Even when ingredients are listed, the information can be confusing. Use the warning words as a guide.
- Follow the instructions for product use. Information on the product label tells how to properly use the product, how to store it and clean it up, and how to avoid water pollution and environmental harm.
Safer alternatives can be substituted for many products that contain hazardous ingredients, particularly for products used to clean drains, toilet bowls, ovens, bathtubs and tiles.
Next time you're shopping for cleaning products, take along this Green Cleaning brochure to help you select safer products--including resources for making you own homemade household cleaners!