A while back, Seventh Generation sent me some green-cleaning products to review. I’ve already reviewed their toilet bowl cleaner and I’ll be posting more reviews soon, but thought that it’d be easier to first take a look at the company as a whole; check out some of their eco-pros and cons.
BASICS: Seventh Generation has been around for about 20 years and is arguably one of the most well-known green companies on the consumer market. They were one of the first self-declared “socially responsible” companies and they manufacture many eco-friendly products. Some of their products are very green and some could be greener, but all in all, they offer a good variety of green product choices for eco-friendly households. Seventh Generation product categories include…
- Laundry Products
- Dishwashing Products
- Household Cleaners
- Household Paper & Supplies
- Products for Baby
- Feminine Care
- Free & Clear cleaning products
- Their newest products are a line of EPA registered disinfectants that kill germs naturally.
- Seventh Generation notes that they’re committed to helping consumers make informed choices and I’d say that they’re doing a good job in this area. They fully disclose all ingredients at their website and on their packaging plus offer MSDS sheets. If you want to know what’s in your Seventh Generation cleaner, they make it ultra easy to find out, unlike some eco-companies.
- Some of their packaging is made with recycled content (2 bottles (18%) are 75% PCR; remainder are 25% PCR; 1/3 of our boxes are 100% PCR; remainder are 30–40% PCR). Almost all their packaging is easily recycled and they disclose
- They donate 10% of profits to non-profit community, environmental, health, and responsible business organizations working for positive change.
- They recently eliminated synthetics in all fragrances.
- They make non-toxic products with zero chlorine bleach, phosphates, dyes, NTA or EDTA.
- Because the company makes recycled paper products and less toxic goods they’re helping save trees, water, petroleum, and energy.
- Zero animal testing.
- They have green corporate office policies in place – for example using recycle paper and recycling.
One of the best perks about Seventh Generation is that this is actually a green company that works. By works I mean that there are plenty of green companies around that I personally like, however, a green company is only as good as their outreach to consumers. If your average consumer can’t locate products or can’t learn more about a company then they won’t buy those green products from said company. Consumers will buy what they know about and what’s available. Since many green companies lack marketing skills consumers may end up purchasing non-green, toxic products.
Seventh Generation has worked hard to build up their company. The average consumer can locate Seventh Generation products at many local stores and online. The company promotes their products and have actually built up a successful green brand, which is something I wish more green companies would work on. They’re also affordable and offer coupons often.
- They make disposable diapers that do not biodegrade. They also make diapers with SAP which is a questionable ingredient in green debates right now – it might be ok but maybe not. Their baby wipes also do not biodegrade.
- There’s non-biodegradable synthetic polymer in their auto dish powder and gel.
- While their cleaners are less toxic than many conventional cleaners out there, you’ve still got that new bottle to recycle. It’s still more eco-friendly to make your own cleaners, although, of course some people will always want to simply purchase cleaning supplies.
- They use plastic backing on their feminine care products; plastic, which yes, is made out of oil.
- Some cleaning products could be improved – for example, I’ve tried a few green liquid dishwasher detergents that clean better than Seventh Generation’s liquid brand.
3.5 trees out of 5. Seventh Generation is a pretty good green company in my opinion with many products that work well. They also have some products that don’t work as well as homemade green cleaners and they could make some eco-improvements say, with their disposable diapers. However, I do love their disclosures and the fact that they’re continually setting and meeting new eco-goals. Stick around for some product specific reviews coming up.
- Follow Seventh Generation on Twitter.
- Join them on Facebook.
- Read their blog.
- Read their latest corporate responsibility report online (flash) or get the report in pdf.