Truman’s wants to eliminate single-use plastics in the household cleaner industry

March 21, 2019 by  
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The household cleaning aisle at the store features dozens of spray cleaners for different surfaces, and the ingredient lists are a mile long with chemical names that are impossible to pronounce. While many of those cleaners are effective for getting rid of dirt and germs, some of the chemicals inside are environmental hazards. Then, there are the  plastic  bottles, which get thrown into the trash once they are empty, adding to the plastic pollution problem. As the marketplace shifts to products with more sustainable packaging and more eco-friendly ingredients, a new company, Truman’s, is attempting to change the game in the household cleaner industry. Truman’s is trying to “upend the nearly $10 billion spray cleaner market” with its new direct-to-consumer subscription website that features four non-toxic cleaners shipped to customers’ doors in special bottles that they refill when the bottles are empty. “Cleaning is cluttered” Truman’s entered the cleaning market after discovering 57 different cleaners on local store shelves, with 43 different scents and 15 unique surface cleaners. The company founders became “obsessed with reducing waste and clutter” and wanted to find a way to reduce the number of cleaning products filled with harsh chemicals that are filling cabinets in homes across the country. Related: How to decode confusing labels on common household cleaners The plastic problem Plastic production went bonkers in the 1950s, with Life magazine praising an American future that would feature “throwaway living.” Since then, according to Truman’s website, the “planet has accumulated 9.2 billion tons of plastic,” which breaks down to “1.3 tons for every man, woman and child on Earth.” Globally, less than one-fifth of all plastic gets recycled , and in the United States, the number is less than 10 percent. Single-use plastic bottles are a major factor in the plastic problem. According to a recently published University of California study , in the past 13 years, the world has produced more plastic than it did in the previous 50. Research from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation says that by 2050, “the ocean will contain more plastic by weight than fish.” Truman’s says that if just 5 percent of Americans would opt for its delivery service instead of buying cleaning products at the store, it would save 4 billion pounds of water from being shipped in single-use, plastic-bottled cleaning products, and it would reduce the amount of plastic used by 300 million pounds. How does it work? Truman’s offers four spray cleaners: The Glass Is Always Cleaner, Everything and the Kitchen Sink, Floors Truly and More Shower To You. When they join Truman’s, customers receive a starter kit that they can use for 30 days, risk-free. After that first month, Truman’s will then ship refill cartridges, and the automatic shipments continue every six months. However, customers can order extras if needed, or the service can be paused or canceled. The refill cartridges work when mixed with water, and the bottles can be continuously reused . This allows customers to save space under the kitchen sink. Plus it’s significantly cheaper, because the refills are $3.75 while the bottles and shipping are always free. Truman’s always ships refills four at a time per cleaner, which is $15. They also ship all four cleaners, which means every six months, customers are charged $60. However, there is the option to remove certain cleaners from the subscription. This method reduces plastic waste by more than 90 percent, according to Truman’s website, and the bottles are also recyclable. The men behind Truman’s Jon Bostock and Alex Reed had years of experience working with companies like General Electric and Big Ass Fans. But when Big Ass Fans was sold for $500 million in late 2017, Bostock and Reed looked for something new to focus their efforts on. “Alex and I are both neat-freaks, and we knew the home cleaning industry needed real change,” Bostock said. “It’s dominated by a few global companies that add new cleaners you don’t need just to pad profits. Then they compete for shelf space at stores, which all get their share of the price.” Related: Scientists discover hazardous chemicals accumulate in household dust The duo felt that it was time for the cleaning industry to change, so they created a company that delivers easy-to-use cleaning products directly to the consumer. Bostock and Reed knew that large businesses already use concentrated refills to fill the same bottles over and over again, and they believe that if that model works for businesses, it could work for everyone else. They never planned to put their product on store shelves, because that would just add to the problem. Truman’s opted to avoid the shelf rental fees and sell directly to customers to keep costs low and get constant feedback from customers via the website. Truman’s definitely gives customers an eco-friendly cleaning option that can significantly reduce plastic waste. But just remember to ditch disposable paper towels and use reusable cleaning cloths and old T-shirts when using these cleaners. + Truman’s Images via Truman’s

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Truman’s wants to eliminate single-use plastics in the household cleaner industry

Get ready to use soapnuts for everything from cleaning to self care

February 25, 2019 by  
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Cleaning with soapnuts (AKA soap berries) might seem like a new, eco-friendly trend, but the practice has actually been around for centuries. People in Nepal and India as well as Native Americans have known about the amazing cleaning powers of soapnuts for hundreds of years. But if they are new to you, keep reading and be amazed at what this all-natural, sustainable cleaning product can do. What are soapnuts? Sapindus mukorossi — the Soapnut Tree — is native to India and the Himalayas, and it produces a small, black berry-like fruit that can be harvested between September and February. When the berries are deseeded, and the shells are dried, you can use them to clean anything and everything, but they are most often used as a laundry detergent. Soapnut shells contain saponin, a natural surfactant. When soapnuts get wet, they absorb water and release the saponins, which circulate in the wash water to remove dirt, oils and particles from clothing . In comparison, commercial laundry detergents mostly contain chemical surfactants, and some have been linked to cancer. Related: How to decode confusing labels on common household cleaners The tree itself has some amazing environmental benefits. It has a six-month harvest time each year and can be harvested for almost an entire century, which means one tree can produce a lot of soapnuts. The tree also helps in the fight against climate change , because it converts carbon dioxide into oxygen and cleans the air. But the berries are even more impressive. The shells are 100 percent biodegradable for easy composting, they are safe for septic systems, naturally hypoallergenic, gentle to sensitive skin and they don’t damage fabrics, skin or surfaces. Medicinal properties of soapnuts Ayurvedic medicine is a holistic  healing  system that has been  using soapnuts for thousands of years , for everything from solving skin problems to helping people to quit smoking. Soapnuts are used to treat eczema and psoriasis, and they have a natural anti-venom property that can remove poison from snake and scorpion bites. Some research has shown that soapnuts have anti-cancer properties that can  prevent tumor cell growth . Soapnuts have also been used by smokers to help reduce tobacco cravings, and they have also been known to  relieve migraines . A shampoo alternative You can ditch shampoo and wash your hair with soapnuts . They are a natural, inexpensive alternative that will leave your hair soft. They are also great for hair growth and preventing hair loss. The vitamins in soapnuts will make your hair shiny and smooth, and if you use them regularly, soapnuts can reduce split ends, tame frizz and detangle. Soapnuts can fight dandruff, because they are antifungal and antibacterial. They also have insecticidal properties that can kill lice. There is one word of caution when it comes to soapnuts: you want to make sure not to get them in your eyes. Because of those lice-killing properties, they can cause your eyelids to swell. Sustainable pet care Liquid soapnut solution isn’t just great for human hair; it can also be used to shampoo your pets . A soapnut detergent works well for washing pet beds and cleaning toys. Because  insects hate soapnuts , you can spray your pet with the solution to repel fleas and ticks. An eco-friendly laundry detergent Soapnuts are the perfect,  plant-based substitute  to conventional laundry detergents. All you have to do is place four or five soapnuts into a muslin bag and throw it in the wash. They will make your clothes fresh and clean, they don’t leave behind residue and they even remove stains. You can also reuse them several times, and then  compost  them when finished, making soapnuts a  zero-waste  laundry detergent. Natural skincare Soapnuts can prevent dry skin, because they are a natural moisturizer. Using them as a face cleanser can brighten your complexion and even out your skin tone. Using soapnuts as a body wash will cool and cleanse your skin without causing damage. This all-natural product can also help fight acne and soothe eczema. Skin rashes and  allergies  are no match for soapnuts, because they don’t dry out skin like many store-bought options. They are hypoallergenic and non-toxic, so you can use soapnuts on your baby’s skin — they may even work on diaper rash. A green all-purpose cleaner You can clean your entire house with soapnuts. Just a couple of mashed berries mixed with water will create a powerful, natural solution that can clean glass, cabinets, kitchen surfaces and dishes. They are odorless, so if you want a fragrance, simply add a few drops of essential oils. Soapnut liquid soap solution is also great for cleaning electronics , polishing jewelry or even washing your car. How to make a soapnut cleaning solution The basic recipe for soapnut cleaning solution is two to three berries for each cup of water. You mash the berries and add them to water before boiling for about half an hour, so they release the saponins. Once the water is cool, strain it through muslin cloth and add essential oils, if you prefer. You can store the solution in a jar or put it in a spray bottle. Images via Shutterstock

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Get ready to use soapnuts for everything from cleaning to self care

How to decode confusing labels on common household cleaners

November 16, 2018 by  
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Have you ever aimed cleaning spray at your kitchen countertops and wondered what is actually inside the bottle? With all of the confusing chemicals and terms listed on product labels, it can be hard to know what is inside the cleaning products we bring into our homes. It might be impossible to recognize every ingredient in your cleaners, but if you read the label carefully, there are ways to determine the safer options on the market. If you are confused by your cleaning product labels , here is a guide to help you decode some of the common label terms you’ll find. “People are surprised to find that dozens of toxic chemicals are in the [conventional] household products we use every day and go almost totally unmonitored and unregulated by our government,” said Dr. Alan Greene, clinical professor of pediatrics at Stanford University and author of Raising Baby Green . Related: 5 tips for a cleaner, greener kitchen In fact, it can be nearly impossible to research all of the ingredients listed on cleaning products. The Consumer Products Safety Commission regulates labeling for household products that are hazardous and requires companies to list the main hazardous ingredients along with first aid information. However, it does not require companies to list any other ingredients. Because there isn’t a thorough health and safety review of these products, there is no way of knowing what you are spraying in your home. Below are some of the most common cleaning labels decoded to help you understand what exactly you are using to clean. Non-toxic This is a common marketing term that is typically seen on most product labels. The term implies the ingredients are not harmful to the environment or your health. However, there is no standard definition for “non-toxic,” so this term alone will not help you find the safest cleaners. Biodegradable When you see the term biodegradable , the manufacturer is saying that the ingredients in the product will break down once they enter a landfill, wastewater treatment plant, river or stream. Unfortunately, there is no regulation for the use of this term, and products labeled “biodegradable” are no better than those that aren’t labeled. Safer Choice The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a voluntary program that works with manufacturers to make products safer for people and the environment. If a product has a Safer Choice seal, that means they use ingredients that meet the program’s standards. EPA scientists develop standards after looking at scientific data to make sure product ingredients are safer than what you would find in common products. The Safer Choice program also encourages companies to disclose all of their ingredients, and the program also has an audit program to make sure the Safer Choice products are meeting the criteria. Organic This term is a bit trickier as it can simultaneously mean anything or nothing at all. There are no rules when it comes to calling a product organic , even though the implication is that the ingredients come from plants grown without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. However, if you do see a product that has the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Certified Organic” logo, then those products are legally required to have ingredients that back up the claim. Related: Don’t mix these green cleaning ingredients Enzymes Enzymes are proteins added to cleaners that will break down and remove stains. There is no evidence that using these cleaners will put you at risk, but don’t assume they are safe. And be aware of manufacturers that often use boric acid (a toxic chemical ) to stabilize the enzymes. Corrosive/caustic Any product with these words on the label can cause major chemical burns to the skin, eyes or lungs. Some of the cleaning products that have corrosive or caustic on the label are bleach, drain openers and oven cleaners. You want to be extremely careful if you bring these products into your home, and you always want to keep them away from children. Active ingredient As a rule, active ingredients are antimicrobial pesticides that manufacturers add to products to kill bacteria, viruses or molds. You want to avoid any product that has an “active ingredient” because they are hazardous chemicals, and you don’t need them to clean your house. Fragrance or scent Many cleaning products like to advertise their fragrance or scent, or the lack thereof. Added fragrances are not necessary and are known to cause allergic reactions. Basically, the term “fragrance” means the product has a chemical cocktail of unknown substances. Avoiding products with the term fragrance, scent or dye is the right choice. Instead, try something labeled “free and clear.” + EWG Images via PublicDomainPictures , Pascalhelmer , Stevepb , Jarmoluk , Rawpixel

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How to decode confusing labels on common household cleaners

An old warehouse is remade into a stylish hotel with a copper chevron crown

November 16, 2018 by  
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An 80-year-old warehouse has been elegantly remade into the chic Paramount House Hotel, a boutique property that champions sustainable practices in more ways than one. Designed by Melbourne-based Breathe Architecture , the adaptive reuse project in Surry Hills, Sydney, Australia houses 29 unique rooms as well as a sun-soaked lobby that weaves original architectural features together with contemporary elements. In addition to the sensitive renovation of the historic building, the architects also used locally sourced materials wherever possible and installed a 7-kW photovoltaic solar array on the roof deck to supplement the building’s energy needs. Named after the Paramount House (formerly Paramount Pictures Studio) next door, the Paramount House Hotel was completed over the course of four years and opened to guests this year. In addition to capturing the raw industrial qualities of the 1930s brick corner warehouse into the redesign , the architects also took cues from the art deco styles of the surrounding former film district from dressing the interiors to reimagining the exteriors. Most notably, the architects added a copper, chevron-patterned screen that crowns the brick building and provides solar shading. Within the restored brick and timber shell, Breathe Architecture inserted structural and architectural metalwork, concrete, recycled timber floorboards, low-VOC finishes, locally designed tiles and furnishings that are entirely made in Australia. A former film vault was transformed into the welcoming reception lodge. Each of the suites includes an external terrace carefully placed for shading and natural ventilation. Related: Old Sydney warehouse is transformed into an industrial-chic home “Contextually responsive to its Sydney location, it is about expressing everything that was old and true, honest and raw, about the existing warehouse,” the architecture firm explained in the project statement. “It captures the spirit and excitement of the golden era of film. Staying there, you truly feel at home.” + Breathe Architecture Images by Tom Ross and Katherine Lu

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An old warehouse is remade into a stylish hotel with a copper chevron crown

How To Safely Dispose of Cleaning Products

November 1, 2018 by  
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Sometimes cleaning products must be cleaned out, too. What’s the … The post How To Safely Dispose of Cleaning Products appeared first on Earth911.com.

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How To Safely Dispose of Cleaning Products

Germs Gone Wild: 4 Natural Cleaning Recipes To Drive Away Dirty

October 19, 2018 by  
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Many store-bought cleaning products contain toxins, such as synthetic fragrances, … The post Germs Gone Wild: 4 Natural Cleaning Recipes To Drive Away Dirty appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Germs Gone Wild: 4 Natural Cleaning Recipes To Drive Away Dirty

5 Best Products to Pick Up at Your Local Swap Shop

July 26, 2017 by  
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Attention, Freecyclers. You may be missing out on one of the best options to pick up free products: your local household hazardous waste (HHW) product exchange room. The name doesn’t sound very glamorous, which is why many are nicknamed swap shops….

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Easy DIY Toy Cleaners You Can Make Today

July 6, 2017 by  
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Editor’s note: This post contains affiliate links, which helps fund our Recycling Directory, the most comprehensive in North America. Cleaning toys is something we periodically do at our house, especially if someone has been sick. Lately, I…

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Easy DIY Toy Cleaners You Can Make Today

Why green cleaning is so important for your health

March 11, 2016 by  
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The debate over whether natural cleaning products clean as well as or better than chemically based products is something people have struggled with for years. How do traditional cleaning products and methods compare to commercial cleaning alternatives? Decades ago there was no ‘Mr Clean’ – people found successful ways to make natural solutions work. Yet even though this is known as fact, some are skeptical – can natural products and ingredients really clean as efficiently as chemical based products? Read the rest of Why green cleaning is so important for your health

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Green Your Cleaning Routine With These Awesome Tips

August 18, 2015 by  
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The cleaning supplies aisle at your local grocery store is likely an intimidating sight, whether you are a clean freak or not. It seems that cleaning products are everywhere – from our home to workplace environment. While it is of course important…

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