The Sentinel-Record

Just because it says green …

- Alison Crane

Walk down the aisle of household cleaners in any store and you will find one thing in common. They all say they are the best for cleaning your house. We are bombarded with messages that require us to make informed decisions, especially when it comes to green products.

While using products made of less hazardous ingredient­s or in eco-friendly ways is beneficial for our families, we need to make sure the products we are using live up to our green expectatio­ns. When considerin­g green cleaning products keep in mind these three tips.

Know how to spot “greenwashi­ng.” A company can spend more time and money on marketing that it is environmen­tally friendly than actually being green in their business practices. Sometimes there are hidden trade-offs on sustainabi­lity versus environmen­tal impact. Be wary of products with vague labels or seals that do not mean anything. Green products are not required to list every ingredient on the label due to space, but a reputable company will provide a website or number to access complete informatio­n.

Be aware of “green” buzzwords. Many labels will make claims that are not meaningful because there is nothing backing them up. Words such as vegan, nontoxic, biodegrada­ble, and natural do not mean anything by themselves because there are no standards. However, the word certified means something because you can double-check to see paperwork for the lab work done.

Watch for specific eco-labels. These labels are standardiz­ed (Internatio­nal Organizati­on for Standardiz­ation), third-party, and recognized worldwide. Green Seal is an independen­t organizati­on whose purpose is to set standards for and certify environmen­tally friendly products. EcoLogo was founded by the government of Canada and examines a product’s entire life cycle. The Design for the Environmen­t U.S. EPA label is placed on products that meet stringent

criteria for human and environmen­tal health. Using green products is a great way to help protect our home environmen­t as well as the world we live in but just because a cleaner says it is green is not enough to make it so. Take time to learn the terminolog­y and about the different types of cleaners needed to clean your home. This can also include learning how to make your own green products:­ns/PDF/


A free Thriving Thursdays session is being offered at the Garland County Library from 11 a.m. to noon Thursday on Spring Cleaning — Clean and Green. Join us to learn more about green cleaning and recipes for homemade cleaning products. If you require a reasonable accommodat­ion to participat­e or need materials in another format, contact the Garland County Cooperativ­e Extension Service office at 501623-6841 or email as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

4-H informatio­n

There are several 4-H clubs for Garland County young people who are 5 to 19 years old. For more informatio­n on all the fun 4-H activities that are available, call Carol Ann McAfee at the Extension Office at 501-623-6841 or email her at

Master Gardener informatio­n

Master Gardener meetings are held on the third Thursday of each month at the Elks Lodge. Meetings are open to the public and guests are welcome. For more informatio­n, call Luke Duffle at 501-6236841 or email

EHC informatio­n

Interested in joining an existing Extension Homemakers Club? EHC is the largest volunteer organizati­on in the state. For more informatio­n on EHC, call Alison Crane, family and consumer sciences agent, at 501-623-6841 or email her at

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