For today’s green shoppers, going beyond the label is critical to their decision-making process. It’s important to these consumers that the companies they patronize maintain environmental integrity from top to bottom. Let me tell you a story:
The other day I was reaching into the backseat of my car for one of those reusable shopping bags most of us tote around these days to do our part in cutting back on landfills. I have, shall we say, a pretty hefty collection. Out of curiosity I started looking at the inside labels to see what the bags were made from. Some of them had no fiber disclosure information. Many were synthetic. Some used natural, sustainable fabrics; good for them, I thought. One bag from Earth Friendly Products used organic cotton, hemp and natural inks. Perfect, I thought. And it made sense, because that’s Earth Friendly Products for you. Every detail is important to them. They always seem to go the distance; way “beyond the label.”
The green-cleaning industry has never been better at or more intent on distinguishing itself from its mainstream competitors—and that does mean going “beyond the label.” It means addressing a myriad of key consumer concerns like
- Are they sourcing raw materials sustainably?
- Are they managing their waste responsibly?
- Are they recycling most of their waste?
- Are they minimizing their energy use?
And consumers are responding. While the growth of the household cleaning products industry in itself has been relatively tepid, the green cleaning category is growing rapidly as it siphons off shoppers from the mainstream, notes a June 2010 report from Packaged Facts.
A Success Story
Among green-cleaning companies, Earth Friendly Products is one of the great success stories. From its solar-paneled roof to its bamboo office flooring, Earth Friendly Products takes sustainability seriously. With its recent completion of the largest privately-owned solar power installation in the state of Illinois, the company now derives up to 80 percent of its energy from solar power at its Addison, Illinois, headquarters. The company’s other five manufacturing plants are in the midst of similar solar installations. Spread out across the country, these locations not only provide fast delivery to every buyer, but their strategic geographic locations reduce transportation miles, dependency on oil and the overall carbon footprint created by shipping long distances.
As you step into the Earth Friendly Products headquarters, you may not immediately appreciate the company’s dedication to sustainability, but your feet are walking on it: bamboo wood flooring, recycled hard flooring and the Carpet and Rug Institute’s (CRI) Green Label-certified carpeting. As you look around at the bright spaces, you notice all of the lighting is either natural or eco-friendly fluorescent. Walls are painted with zero-volatile organic chemical (VOC) paint, and the offices contain eco-friendly furniture. The kitchen and product-testing areas contain Energy Star-certified appliances. Restrooms are equipped with low-flush toilets and high-efficiency faucets. In addition, the company offers rebates for employees who buy hybrid and electric-powered vehicles. It also pays some of the highest wages in the cleaning-products industry and has a profit-sharing program.
“We pride ourselves in being a vertically green company and we proudly lead by example,” points out Luke Bobek, director of industrial and institutional sales for the company’s Proline division, which provides products for institutions and janitorial services. “In addition to the physical eco-friendly elements of our manufacturing centers, we are also a 95-percent waste-free manufacturer.”
Earth Friendly Products really shines where the cleaning cloth meets the surface. The company is the manufacturing leader of 100-percent sustainable, plant-based cleaning products, which includes the world’s best-selling environmentally preferred laundry detergent, ECOS, and its increasingly popular Parsley Plus all-purpose cleaner.
“With over 20 years of plant-ingredient experience, we have a unique understanding of this technology. That means we deliver the high performance demanded in our industry at a price point that is the same or below traditional cleaners,” Bobek continues.
Many of the company’s unique ingredients are natural, organic plants and renewable minerals:
- Olive oil
- Earth salts
- Cotton blossom oils
- Tea tree oil
- Cedar oil
- Lemon oil
- Parsley essential oil
It is important to note that these oils are not manufactured synthetic fragrances but are certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program. Additionally, all products are free from dioxane, formaldehyde, phosphates, petrochemicals, dyes, caustics, chlorine, synthetic perfumes and ammonia. They are safe for gray water and septic systems as well as for our aquatic environment and local water supplies.
No wonder then, in January 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officially recognized Earth Friendly Products with its Design for the Environment (DfE) certification. Earth Friendly Products’ commitment to the development and production of environmentally friendly household and commercial cleaning supplies also meant being named a “Champion” by the EPA in its Safer Surfactant Initiative.
There’s even more. Earth Friendly Products uses as much recycled material as possible for its packaging and uses the most easily recycled materials, keeping them dye-free so that the cycle can continue. This means you as a consumer get to engage in zero waste when you buy Earth Friendly Products’ cleaning formulas, making an enormous difference.
Think of the folks at Green Works, the environmentally friendly line offered by Clorox; ask yourself if they understood the importance to consumers of how a green business is run. When Clorox introduced Green Works in 2008, the line was endorsed by Sierra Club and enjoyed strong support from Walmart. Sales exceeded $100 million. But sales of Green Works have fallen to about $60 million a year, and those of other similar products from major brands like Arm & Hammer, Windex, Palmolive, Hefty and SC Johnson’s Scrubbing Bubbles are sputtering, report Stephanie Clifford and Andrew Martin in the April 21 edition of the New York Times.
While the nation’s economic recession has a lot to do with consumer shopping habits, according to experts, even more important is the fact that shoppers are seeking companies that go beyond the label. Times may be tight, but shoppers are willing to pay for the real thing when it comes to green cleaners. While sales have declined for Clorox and SC Johnson, Earth Friendly Products has enjoyed 20 percent sales increases annually in recent years.
The sales numbers prove that a business’ environmental ethos makes a striking difference when it comes to consumer preferences. They want a company with integrity that is green all the way through. Consumers also demand performance and competitive pricing; no one repurchases products that don’t perform. Earth Friendly Products’ formulas shine; its Wave automatic dishwashing detergent performs on par with the leading mainstream brand and competitor, Cascade, according to head-to-head independent testing, with pricing that is as good or better.
How to Get Started
Consumers who are committed to using cleaning products that go beyond the label (and meet the EPA’s DfE guidelines) can easily put together a variety pack of Earth Friendly Products’ formulas. Among the products to try first are ECOS Liquid Laundry Detergent; Wave Automatic Dishwasher Detergent (or Dishmate hand dishwashing soap); Parsley Plus Surface Cleaner; Lavender window cleaner; soy-based Stainless Steel Cleaner & Polish; olive-oil based Furniture Polish; Eco Breeze Fabric Refreshener; and the company’s very effective Stain & Odor Remover. And if you’re fortunate enough to have gotten hold of one of the company’s reusable shopping bags, be sure to put your products in it and carry it proudly. You’ve made a great choice.
Earth Friendly Products’ cleaning formulas are available at health food stores, supermarkets, big-box stores and wherever quality green cleaning products are sold. Be sure to visit www.ecos.com to find a store near you.
To learn more about the EPA Design for the Environment program, click here.
This article was originally published in The Doctors’ Prescription for Healthy Living, in which Earth Friendly Products is an advertiser.