In recent years, greener cleaning products have become increasingly popular. Whether it’s long time torch bearer Seventh Generation getting mainstream acceptance or big brands like Clorox with Green Works it’s clear that there is an enduring interest in a broad section of the population.
But there’s a missed opportunity here. In reality, the major ingredient of cleaning products is water. What if there was a way to ship cleaning products without all that water?
Canadian based iQ cleaning products looks to have hit the sweet spot of sustainability, convenience, and price with a simple idea:Package everything but the water in a 3 1/2” REFill (Reduced Environmental Footprint) cylinder. Fill the original spray bottle with tap water. Slide the REFill in the top of the spray bottle, it mixes with the water, and you’ve got a bottle of cleaner.
The clincher here to reaching beyond the committed green minded consumer is that iQ passes shipping cost savings onto consumers. This sidesteps the most common objection people have about green products: their price. In this one small move, iQ has the potential to reach price/value focused consumers that would have paid no attention to a green option such as this before.
For those that do care about the sustainable aspects, the impact is substantial: 95% reduction in plastic use, and according to iQ, a carbon footprint reduction of over 70% compared with conventional cleaners. The concentrate in the REFill cartridges is plant and other natural sources based (though I question what “natural” signifies, given the questionable use of the term elsewhere.)
However, in a nod to a more mainstream audience, the products are scented, the language on the site sounding a bit evasive as to what the scents are made of, saying, “…each fragrance is carefully screened for environmental impact and safety like all iQ ingredients.” The vivid colors of the cleaners seem to be of artificial hues, and the site doesn’t say otherwise.
Still, these products are a big step forward to reducing the impact of something which many people may overlook, not aware of the collective negative impact their choices in this arena may have.
Readers: Have you used iQ products? Where else are you seeing an effective meeting of sustainability and mainstream acceptance?
Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations about, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media.