'Cleaning? That's not very beauty related!' I hear you cry, but before you go to close this page, I urge you to read on - please!
As I have mentioned many times before, i'm on a mission to become cruelty free in every aspect of my life - and this includes the products I use in my home, not just the food I eat, the clothes/shoes I wear, the beauty/skincare products I use, and so on.
Cleaning products - such as toilet cleaners, washing powders etc - can have a horrendous environmental/aquatic impact due to the chemicals they contain and also the packaging they come in. Detergents are now all biodegradable, though some may break down quicker than others, and still may contain many other harmful chemicals. Phosphates can cause eutrophication (process where water bodies receive excess nutrients that stimulate excessive plant growth), upsetting the balance of nutrients in rivers and streams, while many products also contain enzymes, bleaches, brighteners and perfumes. People with sensitive skin or allergies many also find these substances may aggravate their condition.
Cruelty free and environmentally cleaning/washing/kitchen etc products are surprisingly hard to come by in the big supermarkets such as Tesco and Asda, and as you'll see I had to visit several different stores in order to compile the products shown below.
The only stores I couldn't get to were Sainsbury's, whose own-brand products were awarded the Leaping Bunny Logo in 2011, and as such as certified free from animal testing, and The Co-Op (less widely available in Scotland that in England - well, certainly in my area!) are likewise certified - big Brucie bonus points to them!
But - to cut a long story short - I wanted to show what products are currently available when you look for them...
Asda Eco Friendly Double Concentrated Liquid Wash, 735ml £3.30 - The Asda Eco-Friendly range contains 6 other products (bathroom cleaner, toilet cleaner, fabric conditioner, kitchen & hob cleaner, multi surface spray and washing powder), all of which contain biodegradable ingredients sourced from plant-based materials and readily renewable sources to be kinder to the environment. They do not contain petrochemical based ingredients, artificial colours or preservatives, and have a 100% natural fragrance.
Ecover Fabric Conditioner 750ml £2.00 / Toilet Cleaner 750ml £1.69 / Washing up Liquid 1L £2.25 *on offer in Tesco until TOMORROW (21/05/13)! * - Ecover is a belgium-based company that manufactures ecologically sound cleaning products (made from plant based and mineral ingredients) and is part of the Ecover group; a global organisation with a strong sustainability track. Aquaver and The Change Initiative are also part of this group. They are one of the most widely-available (in terms of supermaket availability etc) eco-friendly brands out there - as well as online, I found them stocked at Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Wilkinsons in my town.
Astonish Multisurface Cleaner With Bleach / Antibacterial Cleanser / Mould & Mildue Remover / Window & Glass Cleaner, all 99p! - I have Karris to thank for putting me on to these little gems: she put a picture of them on her instagram saying how they are BUAV approved, and I was on the internet finding out where they were stocked faster then you can say 'Bunnies!'.
I was really pleased to find out they are stocked at a really wide range of places (many of which are in my town, hurrah), including B&M (where I got mine), Home Bargains, Poundland, Savers and Wilkinson. Their website actually contains a really useful little grid that shows you what stores stock what products - in case you do what I did and rock up to a place (Wilkinsons) and find they only stock stainless steel cleaner!
But that's not the best bit: I expected the price of these products to be on par with the other environmentally friendly/cruelty free products (i.e. a teeny bit more expensive than other brands), and so couldn't believe it when all of the products above were only 99p! All of the products are environmentally friendly, with the company focusing on minimizing their environmental impact and has an ongoing commitment to running an efficient, environmentally friendly operation, as demonstrated by their ISO 9001 and 14001accreditations.
Wilkinson Eco Baby Wipes £1.80 - Most baby wipes take several hundred years to break down, and considering the total number of wipes used over a baby's life has been estimated at 5000, that's a lot of landfill (especially when it isn't even taking into account wipes used for makeup remover, bathroom wipes and so on). These wipes are 100% biodegradable, enriched with organic chamomile and aloe extracts and are free from fragrance and any nasty parabens/chemicals. They aren't the thickest of wipes, but they are incredibly moist, and are ideal for everyday useage - I think 70 wipes for less than £2 is a bargain, especially when they're earth friendly.
As well as the above, which are excellent examples of environmentally/animal friendly products, you could make your own, and you are then guaranteed of their origin and cruelty free status, as well as being very economical.
Vinegar has long been touted as the perfect multi-use product - there are several websites dedicated to it, including The Vinegar Institute!
I would also point you in the direct of A Thrifty Mrs blog, which has it's own 'how-to' section on Cleaning and House Work, where you can learn everything from how to clean with bicarbonate of soda, to how to make your own multi-surface spray!
Do you have any environmentally/animal friendly products you would recommend? Or maybe you're like A Thrifty Mrs and make your own?