10 May 2008

A new METHOD for keepin' it clean

I just cleaned my kitchen and bathroom, something everybody does and not something I'd ever given much thought. I do now though. I don't think I ever thought about what happens to the E-Z Off, the Ty-D Bowl, the Comet and the rest of them after I flush them down the drain. But the fact is, these products and most cleaning and household products carry some pretty dire warning labels on them and they contain some pretty dangerous stuff. You can't throw away E-Z Off without sending it to an approved Hazardous Materials Disposal site for example. A manufacturer couldn't use it or keep it around without a permit from the EPA. But I, as an ordinary citizen; can buy it, use it and dispose of it down the drain with impunity.

However, just because I flushed it down the drain with impunity doesn't mean that I'm off the hook by a long shot. The poisonous ingredients in my household cleaners don't get rendered non-poisonous through the act of my using them or my flushing them. They remain toxic as they go down the drain, as they enter the sewer system and as they make it through the sewage treatment plant and then into the Bay.

Once in the Bay, the ones that don't degrade end up in the food chain. They work their way up the food chain and then back onto my plate when I order a grouper sandwich or a bucket of blue crabs in a restaurant.

So everybody else and me gets a double serving. I ingest and inhale this stuff while I'm using it and when it's good and concentrated. Then a couple of weeks or months later I get to ingest it again in its diluted form. This is madness.

It's the height of naivete and anthrocentrism to think that I can save the earth by avoiding E Z Off. The earth will be here long after I and we're gone. However, to try to preserve some semblance of human habitability is a noble and achievable cause.

Enter my friends at Method.

Method cleaning products are non-toxic, price competitive and attractively packaged. They are cleverly named, pleasantly scented, responsibly produced. Most important of all, they work.

They just added a toilet cleaner and a scrubbing liquid to their product mix and I used them for the first time today. They work and they smell fantastic. Method products are available at Target and on line and are well worth exploring. I found them originally about four years ago and I fell in love with their packaging and product design. I didn't really get the whole sustainability thing when it comes to household cleaners until a couple of months ago.

The answers to the environmental and human needs challenges that confront us as a species don't lie in trying to turn back the clock and ushering in a non-technological era. The answers come from our collective intellects. It's human innovation and ingenuity, it's technology, that will enable our species to continue to thrive on an increasingly stressed planet. The kids at Method are a living , breathing example of that.

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