Why Disposable Cleaning Products Are Bad

Think of the myriad of television commercials aimed at our busy lifestyle.  What everyone needs is more time, right?  So the cleaning products industry (aka toxic chemicals pushers) have developed a whole set of products that are based around the consumer’s “convenience”.  No one wants to have to do laundry, wash a dusting cloth out, or keep a broom and mop or toilet bowl brush.  We’ve been told we NEED to have disposable cleaning products, that they are fun and exciting and will make our life easier.

You know the ones-Swiffer, Scrubbing Bubbles, Magic Eraser…and don’t forget all the disposable cleaning wipes like Lysol and Clorox.  These things are great, right?  You pull one out of the box, use it, and then throw it out (or flush it-don’t get me started on that).  And then there are paper towels-a whole separate blog topic!  But…what happens to all of this garbage?  Just because it leaves your sight, or your home, doesn’t mean it’s GONE.  It just gets moved to somewhere else, where all the residual chemicals from it leach into the ground and then our ground water, contaminating our soil and water supply.  The products themselves, if they do break down at all, product greenhouse gases.  And let’s not forget the impact of having to supply land for garbage dumps, thereby losing precious land to our junk. The mountains of trash our society produces DAILY is frightening.

I have some numbers that, although compiled in 2002, are still somewhat shocking.  Add to these numbers the increase in disposable products and I’m certain these numbers are much higher: Canadian households generated 12 million tonnes of waste in 2002.  If you’re up for a truly fascinating read about Canadian Waste, read this paper titled Human Activity and the Environment“, with the featured article “Solid Waste in Canada”, compiled by Statistics Canada.

There is a great film called The Story of Stuff that illustrates what happens to our garbage, and explains that the cost of our stuff is much higher than what we pay for it.  The Story of Stuff is 20 minutes long.  Please take the time to view it!  Click on the image to go to the site.


Another concern of mine is the fact that so many of these products are made with bleached paper products, plastic, and other things that, by virtue of their production, pollute the environment.  Manufacturing plastic pollutes, and so does paper production-never mind the fact that paper=dead trees, and therefore less oxygen being converted from carbon dioxide. So what can we do?  First of all, get rid of paper towels. Microfibre cloths can be used to clean your mirrors and windows (one wet, one dry).  Rags can be used to clean everything from your counter, sinks, toilets, tubs, and floors, if you’re the type to wash your floor by hand.   Second, re-introduce re-usable products into your home.  Find a good mop, one that doesn’t require disposable heads,  and a broom.  Using cloths instead of paper towels also finds another use for those clothes that are worn out and not in a condition good enough for donation.  Let’s re-institute the “rag-bag” and save those clothes from the dump!

Speaking of saving, do you ever wonder WHY these companies make disposable products?  It’s not really because they care about saving you time!  It’s because disposable products are CONSUMABLE-that is, they get used up and the consumer, that’s you, have to keep buying them.  The bottom line is, of course, the bottom line.  They  make money, you make garbage.  Stop the cycle!


2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Ann Duncan said,

    You’ve hit the nail on the head. These companies do NOT care about you. They care about getting you to buy their STUFF, over and over, needlessly. Yes, let’s stop that vicious cycle!


  2. 2

    You are absolutely right , thats why so many people suffer under chemical sensitivity know. Thanks for the great info.

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