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Whole Foods Market Cleans Up Cleaning Product Labels

Whole Foods Market introduces new Eco-Scale™ rating system, to help consumers make healthier––and greener–– cleaning product choices.

A recent survey concluded almost 73% of adults believe that household cleaning product labels provide an accurate and detailed list of all ingredients contained in their products.  In reality, there is currently no U.S. government mandate to compel companies to fully disclose all ingredients contained in cleaning products.


But one company, Whole Foods Market, has acted to fill the gap in product labeling by introducing the Eco-Scale rating system.  This unique system will help consumers gain a better understanding of the ingredients in the household products they use.

In cooperation with vendors, Whole Foods Market has created a color-coding system to rate household cleaners based on environmental standards.  Everything from toilet bowl cleaners to liquid laundry detergent will be assigned a color —red, orange, yellow or green—based on a specific set of environmental standards.

By choosing a color-coding system, the idea is that consumers will be able to easily identify products that meet their personal preference for heath and environment within their home.

“We’ve always carefully monitored ingredients. Now, with Eco-Scale, we’re able to help shoppers buy eco-friendly products with confidence and provide safer alternatives for their households and for the planet as a whole,” says Jim Speirs, global vice president of procurement for Whole Foods Market.

Whole Foods Market is the first national retailer to implement such a rating system.  Under the Eco-Scale rating system, product vendors will be required to list every ingredient on product packaging.  All products will be independently audited through a third-party to ensure vendor compliance, and after this process is complete, the products can be color-coded and labeled for shelving in stores.

Products will be required to meet a minimum baseline “orange” standard by Earth Day, 2012, and any product rated as “Red” will not be sold at Whole Foods Market.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the chemicals found in some cleaning products can cause health problems, like irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, as well as headaches. Using green cleaning products may help individuals who are sensitive to such irritants.

With the Eco-Smart rating system, you can now know exactly what is in the products you bring into your home. And having confidence in the accuracy of product labeling is the first step in protecting your family from environmental hazards, and keeping the planet healthier, too.

About Sebrina Zerkus Smith

Professional writer, foodie. Lupus survivor. Loves pugs, wine, days at the beach and good movies. Takes recycling seriously, but not much else. Sebrina Zerkus Smith is a Southern Gal that has been scratching the writer’s itch for nearly 30 years. Her career began in Washington, D.C., in 1987, fresh out of collage and full of ideals. While plying her trade by day on congressional reps and senators, at night she burned the candle writing features for local newspapers and national magazines. She quickly realized that her southern upbringing gave her a unique and humorous voice that resonated with her readers. Eventually, she moved to Los Angeles where she pursued her dream of becoming a novelist and screenwriter. She paid her bills by working as a freelance writer for major marketing projects from studios such as CBS, NBC and Disney. Realizing that the future of writing lay with the internet, she was bitten by the blogging bug back in the 90’s, back before it was even called “blogging.” Then it was still just writing and trying to make a living. Through those early blogging years, Sebrina found passion and purpose. Over the past 10 years she has written articles for clients such as LightCues.com, MatterMore.com, Greenopolis, MacAddict, Yahoo, CNN and more. Today, Sebrina writes about a variety of topics including the Southern Experience, sustainability, clean water, food, gardening, sleep and her obsession with pugs. She is a regular paid contributor to WildOats.com as well as other entities. She now lives in Houston with her husband Jeff and their pug Newton. She hopes one day to complete her opus, Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed.


10 thoughts on “Whole Foods Market Cleans Up Cleaning Product Labels

  1. That’s all well and good but what about GMO labeling? I’m more worried about the danger the food itself poses to my health than to the environment.

    Posted by Matt | June 7, 2011, 5:10 pm
    • Do you think that it is really going to work? I am afraid it’s just one more trick so as to deceive people. If you want to eat healthy food then you should grow everything yourself or have a laboratory to check the products you purchase.

      Posted by Roks | July 8, 2011, 8:35 am
      • Roks, every step helps- no one t hing is the silver bullet.

        Posted by greenopolisjoe | July 8, 2011, 5:59 pm
  2. It’s good for someone who cannot read product labels, I suppose, but in the end it’s just dumbing down the system. Someone who wants to go green should know why they want to go green (more than just to “save the earth”) and they should understand what they need to avoid when they buy food.

    Posted by Sam | June 16, 2011, 4:08 pm
    • Did you not read the article? Within the first paragraph it states that “in reality, there is currently no U.S. government mandate to compel companies to fully disclose all ingredients contained in cleaning products.” Therefore it does not matter how well you comprehension of the written english language is… Not really dumbing it down

      Posted by Christine | June 30, 2011, 8:13 pm
  3. This is a great system to fit into busy lives. Many people want to do the right thing, but don’t have the time to read articles to inform them on why they might want to pick one product over another. If Whole Foods has the ability to clarify what really is being offered, then they are providing a wonderful service. Many companies go to great lengths to create products that clearly are superior on the environmental scale, but because no measurements have been put in place, they get lumped in with all soap scum cleaners, which isn’t fair to the thoughtful producers. This will eliminate some of the guesswork when shopping and hopefully drive people to healthier lifestyles.

    Posted by Jessica Janes | June 27, 2011, 9:17 pm
  4. Meanwhile, Whole Foods continues to sell products that meet the bare minimum for organic certification…

    Posted by Hotel Austin TX | June 29, 2011, 9:14 am
    • They still move the needle in the right direction. If I gave you 100 dollar bills for your $100 product, wold you say I just met the bare minimum? Meeting a standard is meeting a standard. Then we can encourage them to exceed it.

      Posted by greenopolisjoe | June 29, 2011, 3:21 pm
  5. Meanwhile, Whole Foods continues to sell products that meet the bare minimum for organic certification…

    Posted by energy savings | July 19, 2011, 12:14 pm

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