When you wash your dishes, do your laundry, clean your house – do you use whatever product you find at the supermarket, or are you reading the labels and being careful about what chemicals you might be introducing to the environment, and to your skin?
It’s not something I always thought about, having grown up as most people do in a household full of the kind of chemical-laden cleaning agents you find on most supermarket shelves. Like many people, I was under the impression that bleach and ammonia and sharply scented concoctions were the only way to get things clean – and that so-called ‘natural’ products were really just a gimmick and not worth the extra money spent (especially as one seemed to need to use so much more of it to get things sparkly).
Once I cottoned on to how little I knew about what I was smearing all over my living environment and flushing into our precious water systems, I started reading the labels and began investigating more natural options (the kind that really do work).
Arguably, you can do many things with completely natural ingredients like the simple mixture of bicarbonate of soda and vinegar for general cleaning, or the use of things like soap nuts in your laundry, but I get the feeling many people are not quite ready to embrace going quite so au natural and would prefer something in between.
Which is where I think the newly re-launched Woolworths eco-friendly household range fills a gap. There are a few commercially-available ‘green’ products available on supermarket shelves, but very few span such a wide range of purposes, and many are not that easy to find (possibly because they are not being bought in sufficient numbers, and therefore not being regularly restocked).
The Woolworths ‘earth friendly’ range has been available for some years now, but was a bit limited in terms of variety. The newly relaunched version has new very attractive packaging (all of which appears to be recyclable), lovely new scents (derived from natural essential oils) and apparently includes a number of improvements on the previous incarnation (such as a greater number of locally sourced versus imported products).
The household cleaning range is made with biodegradable cleaning ingredients and contains natural essential oils, no artificial colours and, in line with their sustainability principles, contain no animal ingredients and are not tested on animals.
They’ve made some changes to sizes (bigger bottles ultimately mean less packaging) and have introduced some interesting new options, like Auto Dish Pods (for the dishwasher) and some new laundry options: Laundry Liquid, Laundry Pods (lavender & vanilla and gardenia, mmmm…) and Bleach-alternative Pods.
I’ve been given a whole lot to try out personally, and I think it’s a lovely range – beautifully packaged and well thought out. And whilst the purist in me would love to use only completely natural ingredients to clean my household, the reality is that I’m still not that clued up on exactly what is best for what purpose and never seem to have the time to put them together properly myself. Also, in my experience so far, not that many completely natural cleaning products are as effective as they claim to be, which can be frustrating and wasteful.
So, for me, what this new range provides is a good compromise between the widely-available but environmentally-damaging chemical products and more unfamiliar less obtainable purely natural options. Not everyone is able or ready to go completely back to basics, but if more of us move at the very least to products that are more eco-friendly than not, we are definitely heading in the right direction.
The new Woolworths Earth Friendly range (including their new toiletry range) is now available in Woolworths shops around the country.