It’s a sad but true fact: When you clean your home, you often trash the planet. Many cleaners are full of toxic chemicals that are dangerous to both humans and the environment. And there’s the plastic involved: spray bottles, squeeze bottles, pump bottles, and more.
Thankfully, there’s a growing group of nontoxic cleaning brands that are rethinking how to package household products with the environment in mind. Upstart companies like Cleancult and Blueland sell formulas that use tablet forms of nontoxic cleaners, refillable bottles, and avoid single-use plastics. And now, one of the most trusted eco-friendly cleaning brands has created a nontoxic home cleaning arsenal that forgoes all plastics.
Seventh Generation’s Zero Plastic line is launching with six household cleaners that are completely biodegradable, EPA Safer Choice-certified, and packaged completely free of all plastics. The line is exclusively available through members-only online retailer Grove Collaborative, which sells eco-friendlier cleaning products. (FYI: Grove membership is free, but when you place your first order, the company defaults to a monthly recurring shipment model. You can always customize your orders, pause any month, or simply opt out of auto-shipments entirely.)
“What we realized is that we really need to take action and move ourselves as a business away from plastic, because as good as the plastic is or as little as you use, recycling alone will never solve the problem,” Seventh Generation CEO Joey Bergstein told FC last month. And the problem is enormous: An EPA report published last year found that 26 million tons of plastic used in the U.S. ends up in landfill each year, despite years of effort to improve recycling rates.
The Zero Plastic line is instead packaged in recycled steel containers because—surprise—steel is much more likely to be recycled and doesn’t degrade, so it’s basically infinitely recyclable. Steel is currently being recycled in the U.S. 70% of the time.
To accommodate the steel packaging, none of the new line’s cleaning products are liquid. The dishwasher and laundry detergent come in a handy tablet form that you toss into the machine and forget about. The kitchen cleaner, foaming toilet cleaner, hand wash, and bathroom cleaner are all powdered.
The toilet bowl powder only needs to be poured into the toilet for it to start foaming and working. To activate the kitchen and bathroom powders, you can pour them onto a wet cloth and rub them into a lather or sprinkle them directly onto countertops and other surfaces. For the hand soap, you just pour a small pile into your wet palm and work it into a lather. It may be a little different than what you’re used to, but sometimes the future takes a little getting used to.
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