Healthier cleaners protect our waterways
Before Malcolm and Melanie Rands started ecostore, they were part of a group at an ecovillage in Northland which had pristine water flowing into it from the neighbouring native bush reserve. One of their goals was to keep the water leaving their place as pure as the water that flowed in. That meant re-thinking the household products they were using, to make sure they weren’t putting nasties down the drain when they cleaned or did dishes and laundry.
That commitment meant ecostore products were developed without chemicals that might harm waterways or aquatic life.
Doing the household product check that Malcolm and Melanie did is an important step if you’re also looking to lessen the environmental impact of what you use.
There are several different places to around the home to start, and one is laundry products. Some of these may have optical whiteners, which make clothes appear whiter and brighter. But they can be damaging to aquatic life when they rinse from the washing machine into waterways, and they don’t readily biodegrade.
Laundry care might also use synthetic fragrances made from petroleum based sources – these are also not readily biodegradable and potentially harmful to fish.
If you want to re-assess your cleaning products, check the ingredient list for benzalkonium chloride. It’s one that can be damaging to birds, fish and aquatic invertebrates.
And some dishwashing liquids can contain a number of potentially harmful chemicals like cocamidropropyl betaine (a surfactant); synthetic perfumes and dyes; and SLES.
In the bathroom, it might also be worth considering whether you want to use anti-bacterial soaps. If the ingredients list includes triclosan, research from 2014 showed that this chemical has the potential to persist in treated sewage, and when it enters waterway can prevent algae from photosynthesising.