In response, chemical manufacturers have either adopted third party standards such as Green Seal and Designed for the Environment or have develop their own set of guidelines like Seventh Generation. All are certainly a step in the right direction but can make it difficult for consumers to navigate.
It is helpful to think of green as a continuum versus a benchmark. For example, a product might be safe to use but once it goes down a drain can hurt the environment or a product is safe and doesn’t hurt the environment but isn’t sustainable because it doesn’t use renewable raw materials. There are a lot of factors along this continuum and here are some of the main considerations:
- Can the product hurt the user during usage?
- Does it damage the environment once applied?
- Are the raw materials. including packaging, sustainable?
- Is the packaging recyclable?
- How local are the materials and product?
One last consideration is how a product is used and what product is used. Many people feel the need to disinfect everything when sanitizing is more than adequate. People also tend to use too much product. Both of these actions reduce a products 'greenness'.