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

A micro home with a green roof sits atop a granite wine cellar in rural Portugal

March 21, 2019 by  
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Porto-based firm  Diogo Aguiar Studio has breathed new life into a granite wine cellar by topping it with a minimalist holiday home complete with a natural green roof planted with native vegetation. Located in Guimarães, Portugal, the brilliant Pavilion House is a timber-clad micro home  with large windows that connects the residence with its bucolic surroundings. Working in collaboration with Andreia Garcia Architectural Affairs , the architects placed the unique micro home on an existing granite wine cellar that sits on a small hill. Although the minimal building size certainly restricted the floor plan, the elevated structure allowed the architects to maximize the home’s stunning views, which are comprised of expansive vineyards to the front and a dense forest backdrop. Related: A dilapidated garage transforms into an industrial-chic micro home The home is clad in thin timber panels to create a modern log cabin feel. The cube-like volume is punctuated by four large windows that look out onto the surrounding landscape. The house was also installed with a green roof planted with native vegetation to blend it into its natural setting. The architects outfitted the micro home with just the basics: a small living space, kitchenette and bath. Keeping true to its minimalist roots , the beautiful design features a living room that doubles as a sleeping area with a fold-out bed. Both the kitchen and small bathroom with a skylight can also be completely concealed behind bi-fold doors. Plenty of storage is also incorporated into the walls. According to the architects, the inspiration for the  design came from its idyllic setting . “Pavilion House is a guesthouse. The only true requirement was to emphasize the sense of recollection in the forest, a refuge from urbanity,” lead architect Diogo Aguiar told  Dezeen . “The idea of creating ??a log cabin was behind all the project decisions — it is a wooden minimal house in the mountain.” + Diogo Aguiar Studio + Andreia Garcia Architectural Affairs  Via Dezeen Images via Fernando Guerra

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A micro home with a green roof sits atop a granite wine cellar in rural Portugal

Twenty aims to dramatically reduce the waste of household products

November 28, 2018 by  
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Dubai Design Week — an annual event celebrating and promoting design and creativity — took place earlier this month, with imaginative minds from all over the world competing for the coveted Progress Prize at the Global Grad Show. This year’s winner, Twenty, sets out to cut down the environmental costs of packaging and shipping household products, like shampoos or cleaners, by offering dry capsules and reusable containers — just add water , and the items are ready for use. Considered to be the largest creative festival in the Middle East, Dubai Design Week takes place at venues throughout the city, with the central hub of the festival being in the Dubai Design District. The competition’s coveted Progress Prize celebrates the next generation of design talent while recognizing the impact of design on society and the environment . Related: How to decode confusing labels on common household cleaners This year, the competition announced Twenty — designed by Mirjam de Bruijn from the Design Academy Eindhoven in The Netherlands — as the winner of the Progress Prize for a collection of dehydrated household products designed to reduce waste and unnecessary emissions by eliminating water content. Judges chose Twenty from 150 selections that came from all over the world, which they then shortlisted to 11 finalists. Since most everyday cleaning products contain at least 80 percent water, Twenty proposes to eliminate the waste and simplify production and transportation with a capsule that you can put into a bottle, add water and then shake to create a cleaning liquid that is just as effective as a store-bought option. “I designed Twenty for people like myself who really want to be sustainable but also have busy lives and need products that are simple, economical, easy to use and fit into their lifestyle,” said de Bruijn. She added that she wants Twenty to be the new standard in household cleaning products, and she is working closely with the university to refine the product while talking to producers and retailers to adopt the perfect strategy for bringing it to market. Brendan McGetrick, the director and curator of the Global Grad Show, said that Twenty is exceptional because it is based on a smart analysis of something that we all need and take for granted. + Twenty Images via Twenty

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Twenty aims to dramatically reduce the waste of household products

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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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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6 green spring cleaning tips to help organize and simplify your home

March 19, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of 6 green spring cleaning tips to help organize and simplify your home Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: DIY cleaning products , green cleaning products , green cleaning tips , green spring cleaning , organization tips , spring cleaning , spring cleaning tips

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6 green spring cleaning tips to help organize and simplify your home

The method method: A Cleaner Clean, Design + Innovation and Just Plain Weird

September 23, 2011 by  
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Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry, method co-founders, Image courtesy: method Flashback to the year 2000:   Eric’s wondering why cleaning products are so poorly designed, and Adam’s dreaming of green cleaners that actually work and aren’t stinky. Together, these two childhood friends come up with an idea to revolutionize the cleaning world with stylish, eco-friendly products made with non-toxic ingredients that clean like heck and smell like heaven. 2001: method is born, and the Eric and Adam we are talking about are Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry, childhood friends and co-founders of method. Fast forward to 2011: In 10 years, method has grown into a $150 million brand — a brand synonymous with green, good and successful. It was ranked the 7th fastest growing company in America by Inc. Magazine in 2006 and the 16th most innovative company in the world by Fast Company. How did method, in 10 years, turn the cleaning business industry upside down, redefine cleaners and set new standards for cleaning supplies? Eric and Adam reveal their successes are tied to their 7 obsessions! They talk about the method story in a book they released this week called ‘The method method’ (an excellent read that is both humorous and gripping). They call these core strategies “obsessions” because they realize that unless you are obsessed about your business values and practices, they could fade away as your business grows. Eric spoke exclusively to Ecopreneurist on the book and these obsessions that make method. Why did they get into the cleaning products business? Eric says “In advertising, I was always trained to look at cultural-shifts in consumer behavior where larger brands are not delivering and we realized this was the right place to be. We asked ourselves, what we could do differently and saw tremendous opportunity in this industry”. Tip: There is wonderful opportunity in well-established industry sectors, where environmental aspects or as Eric says, “cultural shifts” in consumer behavior are not addressed by larger establishments. This is a place small business owners can make a difference. Eric then spoke about partnerships and how the diversity in education and work between the co-founders actually laid a strong foundation for their business model. Eric’s background in advertising and design coupled with Adam’s experience with sustainability and engineering helped method become method. Eric says this partnership was “essential”. He goes on to add, “Our backgrounds were so different, that it helped us find new ways of collaborating, bring about a combination of design + function, that is unique to method. Without Adam, method would have been all life-style design and not much green. Without me, method would have been another drab green cleaner.” Tip: Collaborating with diverse professionals may actually add a unique USP to your product or service, especially in green business where many symbiotic relationships already exist and thrive. As Eric looks back on the 10 years, he says, “Locking down our obsessions and making them integral to our company was very important. As a company grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to adhere to these values.” One of method’s “obsessions” was to create a “culture club” or “branding from the inside out”. Eric says, “Creating and maintaining cultures continues to be the hardest value to upkeep. It’s always in motion and changing. Our goal is to create a culture that would inspire us to do our best work while enriching our lives.” He also has two pieces of advice for budding eco-entrepreneurs. One: Starting out a company that is just “green” is not enough these days. Take a product or service and add “green” to it by “disrupting the world of business as-usual.” Two: Emphasize the human connection associated with your product or service. “It’s hard to encourage people to adopt good only on the basis that its good for the planet. To make a lasting impression, bring out the connection that benefits their home, health and daily lives.” So after a glorious 10 years, what is in store for the next decade at method? Eric is thrilled with the excellent foundation that has been created. He says, “The cleaning industry is very dirty- so there is still lots to clean up. We want to continue to grow into newer markets and countries while educating consumers. And of course continue to innovate to stay ahead.” Ahem to that and an even more glorious decade ahead.

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The method method: A Cleaner Clean, Design + Innovation and Just Plain Weird

Green Cleaning Products

January 23, 2010 by  
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Cleaning is the process of removing soil, stains, or undesirable microorganisms from surfaces and restoring that surface to its original condition as possible. Cleaning plays an essential role in our daily lives by providing important health benefits to us and our family, by keeping our surroundings clean, protected and free of germs; and by helping to extend the life of our personal possessions.

As the health and environmental impacts of conventional cleaning products become more thoroughly understood, more and more brands of healthy, green cleaning products have started hitting the market and competing for that coveted place of honor under your sink. Many of these products are non-toxic, biodegradable, and made from renewable resources (not petroleum).
Cleaningkit
For companies who want to have their business kept clean and green, fortunately there are an increasing number of janitorial cleaning products and janitorial cleaning supplies out there to help get things spic and span. If you can’t find one in your area (or their rates are outlandish), call around until you find a service willing to use the products and methods you specify.

Most of today’s cleaning products are based on old formulas using natural ingredients that were passed down through the generations because they worked. Going back to the original naturally derived ingredients is a way to make cleaning products that work, so don’t pollute and save your money. Many are found in your kitchen . Mix and match with well-chosen and environmentally friendly green cleaning products found in health food stores, and you can easily and simply transform your home into a non-toxic and healthy haven.

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