As March approaches, it’s time to start thinking about giving our homes a good spring clean. Over the winter dust, dirt and grime can build up around our homes which needs to be removed. There is nothing better than going into the new season with a fresh and clean space, and like they always say, a tidy space is a tidy mind!
Not all spring cleaning products are as ‘clean’ as we think, and they may be causing harm to our health, the environment, and the planet. Most traditional cleaning products are made with extremely toxic components that contribute towards air pollution, water pollution and even climate change. Cleaning tools and accessories are mostly made of plastic, which is of course one of the greatest current threats to the environment and public health.
Here are 4 easy ways to make your spring cleaning a little greener…
1. Choose non-toxic cleaning products
Most traditional cleaning products are packed with toxic components such as ammonia, bleach and other harsh chemicals that are harmful for humans as well as the environment. These can pose a health threat to us by causing respiratory problems or skin irritations. Some components present in traditional household products also act as Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDC’s), which interfere with our natural endocrine system’s balance and contribute to a higher cancer risk. Once discarded within our wastewater, these chemicals also become a threat to aquatic wildlife by polluting the waterways, affecting animals and their ecosystems.
The best way to make sure products are non-toxic is to look for certain eco certifications such as The Soil Association or Allergy UK. This is because in the UK, producers do not have to specify the ingredients in cleaning products. Making sure household products are certified with the Soil Association is essential if you want to know what’s in the bottle. Each product in the Greenscents range is certified organic by The Soil Association, which means our labels have full ingredient transparency and our products contain more than 70% certified organic ingredients.
If you’re feeling crafty, another alternative way of avoiding toxic cleaning products and plastic packaging is to make your own cleaning products using kitchen essentials like baking soda, lemon juice and vinegar. There are a lot of recipes online showing how to make your own natural cleaners and this post from the Soil Association has six different ways to clean your house with natural products. These four natural cleaner recipes by Oddbox also seem very easy to recreate.
2. Avoid plastic cleaning accessories
Plastic waste is often a topic of discussion when it comes to sustainability and is particularly rife in cleaning products. Most modern-day cleaning tools and accessories are made of plastic, use large amounts of plastic packaging and are thrown away after use. Cleaning tools such as sponges, brushes, bin bags and gloves are mostly made of plastic because it is cheap and durable but are often discarded before their end of life and take hundreds of years to break down. What starts off as a motivation to make your home ‘cleaner’ actually ends up creating more waste for the planet.
Today there are many great alternatives for cleaning accessories using materials such as bamboo, organic cotton, coconut and wood pulp. We love these cellulose sponges made from wood pulp from Seep. The founders realised there was a gap in the market when it came to non-polluting cleaning tools and their mission is to revolutionise regular household essentials like sponges, bin bags or brushes and make them eco-friendly, accessible and affordable.
We also love these bamboo cleaning brushes from Tabitha Eve. Tabitha Eve’s founder Debbie started her business after travelling to Borneo where she was confronted with plastic pollution while diving. Tabitha Eve’s mission is to offer eco-friendly alternatives to single use household items, as an attempt to move away from throw away culture. The Tabitha Eve range offers a variety of reusable products from skin care to kitchen essentials. Head to the end of the post to see our exclusive discount codes for Greenscents customers!
3. Use refillable products
Our current linear economic model of “take, make, throw away” is anything but sustainable. Despite decades of recycling efforts, we have learnt that even that system is flawed and large amounts of “recycled” waste still end up in landfill or are incinerated which massively pollutes the environment.
The best alternative is to adopt circular business models which ensure that everything produced is reintroduced in the system instead of being discarded as waste. This approach can be applied to everything, including household cleaning products by using return and refill schemes and researching zero waste shops for waste free alternatives.
At Greenscents, we offer real incentives to help you maintain a zero-waste lifestyle. We know that reuse is so much more sustainable than recycling, so you can send back your 5 and 20 litre containers to us. You just return your empties when you place your next order – and it’s free! This means that we all participate in the circular system and avoid the nightmare of disposing of plastic waste!
4. Reduce your overall cleaning waste
The best way to reduce your overall cleaning waste is to reuse what you already have. Make products last for as long as possible, and don’t buy new until you really need to.
Can you repurpose old t-shirts as cleaning cloths? Can you use an old toothbrush to clean around your taps? Keep old glass bottles and jars and take them to a zero-waste store to refill them.
Look for natural/compostable products or reusable alternatives, swap plastic bin bags for compostable ones, disposable kitchen towels with reusable ones and avoid using disposable wet wipes.
Opt for concentrated cleaning products (like our Greenscents range) where possible as these reduce our carbon footprint by reducing packaging and weight when dispatching goods. Look for circular products adopting the “Refill and Reuse” scheme, and brands that reduce their own production waste in the pre-consumer use stage. All Greenscents products are made by hand in our own workshop in Dulverton, and our entire range is made with minimal processing in small batches and often to order, which reduces waste.
If you are embarking on your sustainable cleaning journey this spring, we have a nice treat for you!
Greenscents customers can enjoy 15% off Seep products with the code SCENTS15 and 20% off the entire Tabitha Eve range with the code SCENTS20.
Further Reading & Resources: