Add This

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Seeing green

Can’t believe it! As soon as I find ways to simplify my life while simultaneously keeping my home clean, I see this article by Karen Klages at the Chicago Tribune.

It seems that convenience in the form of Swiffers and Clorox wipes are not readily biodegradable. And my purchasing them in bulk from Costco and using them indiscriminately, and encouraging my family to the same, is doing nothing for the Green movement.

My sister, Jen, called me yesterday to tell me the article she saw in The Columbus Dispatch and she was mortified that she didn’t know of this issue sooner. We both lament the piles of dog hair that accumulate on our hardwood floors. Though a Swiffer cloth may resemble some sort of natural fiber, in actuality it is a synthetic — “nonwoven polymers, sometimes mixed with wood pulp.”

Sadly, I’m not alone in my use.

If someone were to load all of the disposable wipes purchased by consumers in North America last year onto 18-wheel semis, the caravan would number 9,000 trucks and stretch for 68 miles. And it would be carrying 83,000 tons of these seemingly ephemeral cloths - which are anything but fleeting.

I wouldn’t classify myself as a tree-hugger, but I am very concerned about the environment, and regularly recycle newspapers, magazines, cardboard, glass, plastic and aluminum. I prefer to use organic fertilizers (though I’ve largely lost that battle to my hubby who longs for green, weed-free grass).

I don’t drive an SUV, but do drive a used mini-van. I’d love to trade it in for something smaller, more fuel-efficient, but the fact is that my three guys cannot sit next to each other without annoying my husband and I — and each other.

So what can we do? I mean, I need to simplify my life, but I don’t want to be environmentally irresponsible. I could rage against the corporate machinery that took advantage of my need for cleanliness and efficiency above all else to market those time-saving methods specifically to me. But who has the time? I prefer to wage my battles with my wallet. Fortunately, the article offered some alternatives.

Microfiber dusters/cleaning cloths made by 3M and Casabella are machine-washable and available at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Casabella also makes a wet mop.

Mr. Mister is similar to a Swiffer WetJet (which has been my cleaning tool of choice until now) and uses a microfiber cloth that can be machine-washed and reused. Search for Spray-N-Wipe Mop.

Microfiber dry mops are kind of like Swiffers or Grab-its but also feature washable cloths. The article recommends the one from Quickie Manufacturing. And it recommends the Tub and Tile Wizard for bathroom cleaning and also made by Quickie, which is available in stores in July. Home Depot reportedly carries a better sponge mop also made by Quickie, that doesn't harden and disintegrate into tiny bits on your floor.

And then there’s Method, a small San Francisco-based maker of green cleaning products, offers biodegradable wet wipes that people can toss into their compost pile after using. Method does not call them disinfecting wipes; they contain no antimicrobial agents. Instead, they're billed as surface cleaners. Consumers can find them at Linens 'n Things stores or at online.

Method products are also found at Target, along with everything else in the universe.

And then there’s this piece by Heather Havrilesky on about the Dirt Devil Sweeper Vac. Wonder how it Green it is?

No comments: