Alternatives to Hazardous materials
Safer for you, better for the environment
Many common cleaning products contain hazardous chemicals that impact our health and the environment in three ways: (1) when they are manufactured, (2) when they are used, and (3) when they are thrown away. Greater awareness and concern with these issues has lead to many do-it-yourself alternatives and a wave of green products for home and garden.
Alternatives to Arts Supplies
Alternatives to Automotive Care
Alternatives to Cleaners and Polishers - Metal
Alternatives to Cleaners and Polishers - Non-Metal
Alternatives to Drains and Septic Tanks
Alternatives to Laundry Products
Alternatives to Paint and Paint Brush Renewers
Alternatives to Pesticides - Bugs/Pests
Alternatives to Pesticides - Plant Disease
Alternatives to Pesticides - Weeds
Purchasing green products has many benefits too:
Many green products have positive environmental impacts; e.g., biodegradability, low toxicity, low volatile organic compound (VOC) content, reduced packaging, low life cycle energy use. Using these products can reduce exposure, can minimize harmful impacts, improve indoor air quality, and reduce water and ambient air pollution. Before purchasing a product, read the label to get an indication of its safety (see How to Read A Non-Pesticide Label and How to Read A Pesticide Label). Be aware that the word “non-toxic” is an advertising word and has no federal regulatory definition.
Tips when buying green products
- Buying or making green cleaners reduces volatile organic compounds (VOC) that can affect indoor air quality and contribute to smog formation in outdoor air.
- Using green cleaners at work can improve working conditions by reducing hazard concerns (e.g., skin, eye, and lung irritation in workers)and can reduce toxicity to aquatic species in waters receiving inadequately treated wastes.
- Products containing phosphorus or nitrogen can contribute to excess fertilizer in our creeks and rivers leading to adverse effects on water quality such as overactive algae growth which can lead to fish kills.
- Buying cleaners in concentrates with appropriate handling safeguards, and reusable, reduced, or recyclable packaging, reduces packaging waste and transportation energy. Buy what you need.
Terms to look for in Green Products:
- Recyclable packaging
- Recycled-content in packaging
- Reduced flammability
- Reduced or no added dyes, except when added for safety purposes
- Reduced or no added fragrances
- Reduced or no skin irritants
- Reduced or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
- Reduced packaging
- No ozone depleting substances