The environment and climate change have been headline news in recent years, and rightly so! With global temperatures on the rise, many people are becoming increasingly conscious about the choices they're making day-to-day. When shopping, people are more aware of brand behaviour and consumers are starting to opt for responsible companies over household names.
We agree with this wholeheartedly, and we're convinced that we have a responsibility to promote eco-friendly behavior within Housekeep; we're strict on recycling and waste, for example, and we strongly urge all Housekeepers & office staff to use public transport.
There is, however, another focus we've been interested in exploring for some time now: eco-friendly cleaning products. To help us with this we've been speaking with Seventh Generation, a manufacturer of domestic cleaning products based in the USA. Seventh Generation have spent the last 30 years envisaging, testing and developing a whole range of eco-friendly products.
Seventh Generation are dedicated to developing effective plant-based products that are both efficient and sustainable. Not only are the products all made from renewable plant-based ingredients, but they're packaged from recycled materials too!
We were very excited to receive a sample of their Glass and Surface Natural Cleaner last week. Since then, we've been on a mission of our own, working out the the benefits of products such as this.
Ultimately, we're looking to determine whether eco-friendly products are a shift we should be making.
Question 1: Do they work and are they efficient?
We decided to test the Glass and Surface spray on a range of surfaces by frying up a delicious Asian-style salmon dish. To test the product fully, we were liberal with any mess we made in the process. Once fed and watered we got the spray to try out on the glass top cooker and kitchen surfaces. Any concern that it might not be as efficient as conventional products immediately disappeared - the spray left the surfaces clean, oil free and streak free - impressive! This was all the more impressive as there was no overpowering smell of chemicals.
We found that that the product worked really well on mirrors and metal surfaces and it turns out that we are not the only ones to think so (try out the Independent’s list of top eco-friendly products). At the very least, this little test has certainly impressed us enough to want to try out other products in Seventh Generation’s range.
We also had a quick whip around the Housekeep office to see if there were any mucky surfaces we could clean up - check out the before and afters below!
Here's our microwave before we used Seventh Generation surface spray on it
And here's our microwave afterwards:
We also had a go on our mucky stainless steel coffee bin! Here's beforehand:
And here's what it look like afterwards:
Question 2: What are the health benefits?
Many of us know that tackling tough grime traditionally involves tough chemicals. These products can leave you with that throat tickling, eye watering sensation that you can't help but feel must be doing some sort of damage. This is because many household cleaning products contain VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). These are gases released from ingredients used in the products, and can seep in through the skin and irritate the throat and respiratory tract, amongst other negative health effects.
Maybe these little irritations are acceptable when tackling the toughest of grime but is this really necessary for everyday household cleaning?
Seventh Generation have designed their products to minimise the health risks for the people using them - the Glass and Surface spray is fragrance free and has 0% VOCs. It has to be said that there is something very relaxing about using a spray with no chemical smell and made from plant based ingredients on surfaces where you prepare food or areas where you brush your teeth - it feels more natural and leaves the air without the lingering smell of chemicals.
Question 3: Are they really environmentally friendly?
Seventh Generation is a certified B corporation which means they have been assessed for how positively their operations and methods impact the community, the environment and their workers/customers. If you care that the companies you buy from have a positive impact then it's worth looking out for this!
These products are also USDA Certified Biobased which details the percentage of biobased content in each product (96% of the Surface and Glass Natural Cleaner). For comparison's sake, many other conventional products use petroleum-based ingredients. In addition, Seventh Generations products are fragrance free - studies have found that up to 95% of chemicals used in fragrances are derived from petroleum. Using plant based ingredients and avoiding adding synthetic fragrances ensures that products come from natural sources that are therefore more sustainable. After all, anything that we can do to avoid mining and burning yet more fossil fuels is surely a plus!
These plant-based ingredients, in conjunction with Seventh Generation's recycled packaging, ensure that the products have a far smaller carbon footprint than many conventional household brands.
Question 4: What about the price?
Perhaps the elephant in the room when it comes to eco-friendly cleaning products, it's important for us to discuss the price of these products.
Although this range is a little more expensive than cheaper brands, there is good reason - people have invested time and resources to develop a product that is healthier for its consumers and our planet. Seventh Generation have invested in today's generation and the next seven generations. Considering the health benefits, the environmental benefits and the proven effectiveness of the product, we think that the added price is well worth it.
Overall, we were really impressed with the Glass and Surface spray and look forward to trying the rest of the Seventh Generation range.