Whole Foods will require green screen for cleaning products

Retailer will require full disclosure of all product ingredients on packaging.

One of the most active consumer products categories for a green makeover is household cleansers, where several brands have risen to prominence on their green credentials. But how do you know which of these products is more environmentally sensitive than something you have been using for year? Whole Foods Market figures it can carve out a niche helping shoppers figure this out through a new rating system called Eco-Scale.

The scale is pretty easy to figure out. A product is marked red, orange, yellow or green depending on its credentials. You don't see the red symbol in the graphic above because if a product tests at that level, it either needs to be reformulated or its will be phased off Whole Foods store shelves. Any company that hopes to sell a cleaning product in Whole Foods will also need to disclose all the ingredients on the product packaging.

Whole Foods figures it needs to step in and take these steps because the U.S. government doesn't currently mandate full disclosure on cleaning products. Actually, that assertion might now be a bit outdated, because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency just announced plans to require all 2,500 products that carry the Design for the Environment Label to start disclosing all their ingredients prominently. Stuff that might be a trade secret is exempt, though, which begs many questions. And maybe that's what Whole Foods is talking about.

Brands that have already been rated under the new system include the Whole Foods store brand, plus Better for Life, Ecover, Greenshield and Method.

Here's what each of the color categories means:


  • No ingredients with "significant" environmental or safety concerns, such as phosphates, chlorine or preservatives that could release formaldehyde.
  • No artificial colors.
  • No animal testing.

Yellow (all Orange credentials, plus)

  • No ingredients with moderate environmental or safety concerns, notably DEA, TEA or MEA, which are all things that act as foaming agents.
  • No synthetic thickeners made from non-renewable petroleum-derived products.
  • 100 percent natural fragrances.

Green (all of the above, plus)

  • 100 percent natural ingredients and no petroleum-derived ingredients

On a final note, since we're on the topic of green cleansers, wanted to point out a new report from SmartPlanet correspondent Sumi Das. This dispatch focuses on the new packaging for Seventh Generation laundry detergent.

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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com