Have you seen Procter & Gamble’s latest greenwashing? The Pure Essentials line? With names designed to remind you of nature – White Lilac, Lemon Verbena, Aloe and Chamomile – the products suggest that they are green. Even the tag line for the 2X Ultra Tide Pure Essentials with Baking Soda – “a clean touch of goodness for your fabrics” – borrows from the green, non-toxic crunchy philosophy with its focus on using homemade cleaners such as baking soda.
But they are really nothing more than a repackaging of Tide, Downy and Bounce.
The material safety data sheet or MSDS for 2X Ultra Tide Pure Essentials reveals that it really is just Tide. Here is the MSDS for Tide Liquid Laundry Detergent. Look exactly the same? Yes, they are. Pure Essentials is just repackaged with a fancy name. And it contains ethanol and ethanolamine, not the natural ingredients you expect.
More importantly, if you read the MSDSs, you don’t get the complete ingredient lists for the products. You can’t tell if the products use synthetic fragrance or natural essential oils, or some combination. If they do use synthetic fragrance, then they may contain phthalates. The detergents may also contain 1,4-dioxane, a probable human carcinogen. And I haven’t been able to get a response from P&G despite emails to the company asking for the information.
And I have to say I’m not too impressed with P&G. P&G may have had successes reducing carbon emissions and have some green buildings, yet it peddles some of my most disliked products – personal care products with polyethylene beads designed to be rinsed down the drain and into our oceans. P&G has the Olay Body Wash Plus Spa Exfoliating Ribbons – with polyethylene plastic beads. The advertising campaign for this product markets it as a spa experience and shows women swimming in water. Yet, those beads will just clog our oceans and add to the huge plastic garbage patches swimming in our oceans.
My conclusion? P&G seems to have missed the green chemistry component of going green.