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Published on August 21st, 2008 | by Guest Contributor


GTR: Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products for Healthy Homes with Ecover


GreenTalk Radio Host Sean Daily discusses the constituents, ethics, effectiveness, and availability of ecological household cleaning products with Kipling Rutherford-Sameshima, Marketing Associate with Ecover.

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Sean Daily: Hi and welcome to Green Talk, a pod cast series from Green Talk helps listeners in their efforts to
lead more eco friendly lifestyles through interview with top vendors,
authors, and experts from around the world. We discuss the critical
issues facing the global environment today, as well as the
technologies, products, and practices that you can employ to go go
greener in every area of your life.

Hey everybody. Welcome back to Green Talk Radio. This is Sean Daily,’s Ceo and founder. Today we are going to be
talking on the topic of household cleaning products that are green and
eco friendly. To talk with me on that topic is Kipling Rutherford, who
is a marketing associate at Ecovere, based out of Belgium. Ecovere is
an international company active in the production of ecological clean
products. They were founded in 1980. They market a phosphate free
washing powder, which was done actually before phosphates were branded
as a problem.

So Kipling, welcome to the program.

Kipling Rutherford: Thank you.

Sean: So this is something that affects literally everyone, and I am
very excited to talk about this. We have talked on this topic before
with Debra Lindad [sp]. I don’t know if you are familiar with Debra?

Kipling: No.

Sean: OK. She writes books and she has a website. She is actually
one of the editors on our site. She brought this to my attention and to
our listeners attention for the first time. I am really excited to hear
another perspective on the issue and hear about some of the products
out there. I have many questions. Why don’t we just go ahead and start
with can you give us on overview of the company itself and how it

Kipling: The company was founded in 1980 like you said. Our founder
was looking for a way to make cleaning products and body soap in a way
that was less harmful for the environment. I think he was pretty
intuitive in understanding that phosphates go into our waterways and
would eventually have an effect on the aquatic life. So he started
making olive oil soap and cleaning products. And here we are today with
our ecological factory.

Sean: Great. So my first question really is about what exactly makes
a household cleaning product ecological or greener or better for the
environment? Is it about the phosphate issue only?

Kipling: Not at all. It really depends on who you ask. But for us,
we feel like it is a full circle issue, and we really want to close the
loop on the whole process. So for us, it starts at the very beginning
with the raw materials. We look at are the ingredients renewable, are
they coming from ethical sources that do ethical farming, before we
even create the product.

And then it goes into our factory. We have the world’s first
ecological factory. It’s got a green roof that acts as insulation. It
is made from recycled bricks from coal mine waste. It has its own water
filtration system.

So everything from the bare ingredients to how the product is made
to what it does once it goes down your drain and enters the waterways.
For us, that’s what makes the difference between an ecological product
and your standard conventional products.

Sean: OK. So the range of products that Ecovere is producing right now, what is the span there?

Kipling: It goes everywhere from toilet cleaner to automatic
dishwasher tablets to laundry liquid. We’ve got a product to clean
every aspect of your home.

Sean: That’s great. So these products are readily available in the US as well as Europe? Is that correct?

Kipling: Oh yeah. They are available across the US and in Canada as well.

Sean: I am curious also about….or I think I have a question a lot
of people might have in terms of….the point of cleaning is
effectiveness, right? Cleaners need to clean. So are these types of
products any less affective than more well known brand names, for
example, like Clorox or Pine Sol or Windex, or what have you?

Kipling: Absolutely not. I think one great example is a number of
our products have placed in the top three in consumer reports amongst
mainstream products. That is for efficacy as well as price. I think
that is a great dispute that ecological cleaning products don’t work or
they cost too much.

Sean: OK. What are the direct and indirect health benefits of using
these types of products on your health? Because we have the family’s
health, living in the house, as well as the environment through the
waste going into and affecting the aquatic life, for example, going
into the rivers and streams and such?

Kipling: Well, we say here that the environment starts in your home.
We think that helps people get a better handle on the environment
because it seems so big and unmanageable when you think the vast open
forest or acres of grasslands. But if you think about the environment
beginning in your home, in your own environment, then it is easier to
understand that when you introduce different things that might have
harmful chemicals in them, and you are breathing those things in every
day, those can have an effect on your health.

Our products are all made with [xx] minerals, so they don’t have the
harmful chemicals in them that the mainstream brands would. Also,
another way to look at it is if you have got a young baby that is
learning to crawl, what sort of products are you using to clean your
floor? That child is crawling around on their hands and then putting
their hands in their mouth. There are benefits there to not using
products that have chemicals in them, especially for such a young

Sean: Is it a fair characterization that your products are equally
tested and rated for that kind of safety as they are for the safety of
aquatic life and such?

Kipling? Absolutely. Another thing to consider is there aren’t
chemicals in the products. The products are so safe that you
could….Are you familiar with gray watering?

Sean: Yes. Why don’t you explain it for any listeners that aren’t familiar with it.

Kipling: Gray watering is when you allow the waste water from your
laundry washing process or your dish washing process to sit, and then
you can reuse that water.

Sean: For landscaping or something like that.

Kipling: Right. In your garden or what have you. We promote this.
With our products, the waste water that you have that you used Ecovere
product with can sit for three to five days and then you can water your
vegetable garden with it. Now I wouldn’t do that with some of the
mainstream brands that are out there. I would absolutely do it with
Ecovere products.

Sean: It’s interesting, because that is really an all or nothing
prospect to me, unless you really want to play Russian roulette with
your health and your family’s health. You kinda have to go all in for
that if you are using a gray water reclamation and re use system,
especially for anything like the garden.

Kipling: Right.

Sean: But even in general, just for the sake of the environment, you
sorta have to make sure that 100% of the products are not going to be
harmful to yourself or the environment.

Kipling: That’s right. We manufacture all of our own products, which
means that we have our own research and development. We have our own
laboratory. So we are right at the center of what is going into our
products and what those products do to aquatic life and to people.

Sean: Well great. We are going to take a break right here. We are
just going to get a word from our sponsors and then we will be back
with Kipling Rutherford, who is a marketing associate at Ecovere. We
are talking today about household cleaning products. We will be right
back. Thanks.


Sean: Hey everybody. Thanks. We are back, and we are talking about
household cleaning products and ecological household cleaning products.
We are talking with Kipling Rutherford who is with marketing at
Ecovere. Kipling, when we left off we were talking about effects on
health and environment. We were talking specifically about gray water
reclamation things. But I wanted to switch topics a little bit and
start talking about going back to illness and home. This is an issue
that has come up on the program before talking with Debra Lindad who
maintains, for those of you out there who are interested in getting
more information about this, she maintains a site called Debraslist,
and she literally keeps an index of products that are safe for a
person’s health as well as being ecologically sound. So you might want
to check that out as a resource.

But one of the things, the reason for Debra’s work, is she actually
suffers from something called multiple chemical sensitivities.
Apparently it is a highly undiagnosed condition that affects a lot of
people, unlike overly diagnosed conditions like say autism and things
like this that have gotten more diagnosed. It is one of those things
that people are still not generally aware of. Apparently it affects a
lot of people, so she has written a book called “Home Safe Home”, as
well as a few others, talking about this.

What I want to find out is with regards to the use of these types of
cleaners, do you see this as something that can prevent illness? Could
we go that far?

Kipling: You know, what we say is no cleaner can prevent illness. It
is kind of a sticky territory. But, cleaning products made from plants
and minerals rather than petra chemicals can be beneficial to people
with allergies or sensitivities. We get a lot of calls from people with
multiple chemical sensitivities, and they say they have never been able
to use a laundry liquid that didn’t irritate their skin or make them
nauseous, and that they can with our products.

Sometimes there is fragrance added, but it is essential oils.
Everything else is plant and mineral based, so there is nothing there
that is going to trigger something in somebody.

Sean: OK. So really it is just another step along what one would do
with eating organic foods, non chemically treated foods, and things
like that. This is a readily available source in most homes of
chemicals that can be harmful to the human body.

Kipling: That’s right. And it has been said that the home is the most polluted place you encounter throughout the day.

Sean: That’s a frightening fact, but yes, I have heard that many times.

Kipling: It’s horrifying.

Sean: It is horrifying.

Kipling: I mean, it makes perfect sense. If you open most people’s
cupboards, what you see under there is a toxic wasteland. You wouldn’t
want your children near it. Some parents put little locks on their
cupboards so their kids can’t get in there. That says a lot about what
is in your home and what you might be breathing in and how that may be
affecting you. Other products are readily available that you can
replace those petra chemical based products with.

Sean: Yeah. We’ve all grown up cultured to believe that we have to
go down to the mega super market and buy brand name products brought to
us by the faces on TV to achieve whatever it is in terms of cleaning or
food or whatever it might be. Ultimately, there are natural options for
these things. As an example, and my wife is really into this right now,
she is like “We are going to replace every skin care product that I
use.” She uses them more than me. I just turned 40. I probably need to
start using more now. I don’t quite have the same skin I used to.

She has been on this kick where she has gotten like coconut oil,
which apparently has gotten a bad rap and is really great as a skin
moisturizer. She is replacing her facial scrub with baking soda and
water. All these things we are doing the research and finding out that
in terms of effectiveness and in terms of potential affects on the
environment, in some cases, not all cases, are better for you. It seems
amazing. When you scratch the surface a little bit, you do some
research, you can find out that maybe what is in your kitchen cupboard,
not the toxic things but the things that are already there, nature is
providing everything you need, or more simple organic products can
provide everything that we need.

Kipling: Yeah. We didn’t get to where we are today without nature giving us what we need.

Sean: That’s right. We like to think egotistically where somehow we
are besting nature. It always comes full circle and we always realize
that really we end up back in the same place of like “Gee. Nature is
already providing that.” One plant provides the medicinal cure for some
condition. Wow. There is a shocker. But somehow we always do seemed to
be, as a society, shocked at these revelations.

Great. I am going to take one more quick break and we will be right
back. And I will have one more question for you, a burning question for
you. So we will be right back. We are talking about ecologically sound
home cleaning products with Kipling Rutherford, who is with Ecovere. We
will be right back.


Sean: OK, and we are back. We are back with Kipling Rutherford who
is with Ecovere. We are talking about household cleaning products.
Kipling, I have one more question for you, which is about switching
products. This is a question a lot of people are going to have as they
say “OK. This all sounds great. It is better for my family and my
health. It is better for the environment.” Whether you are trying to go
for a gray water reclamation system or not, this is a good idea. What
does it cost? How much more does this cost to make this kind of switch
over to these types of products, such as those provided by Ecovere,
versus your garden variety ones you would get in the store?

Kipling: It doesn’t. I mentioned before it is a common
misconception. The more widely available that the plants have become,
the cheaper the ingredients come for the products. Again, I mentioned
consumer reports before. Our products are competitively priced with the
mainstream brands against which were compared. There might be one or
two products that are a little bit more expensive. But as the market
grows, the prices go down because the demand for those ingredients goes

Sean: I heard what you said, but also, I am a little skeptical as a
lot of people would be. Really, across the board; I’m talking about
comprehensively across the board to make this kind of switch, it really
doesn’t need to cost any more? I mean, five percent?

Kipling: It doesn’t need to cost any more.

Sean: OK. Wow. Well, all right. I will take your word for it. Have
you guys done any kinds of studies or produced any kind of PDF files on
your website or anything in terms of research on that, or any kind of
marketing documents?

Kipling: Research on cost?

Sean: Yeah.

Kipling: No. We don’t have any. But if anyone is curious about the
cost of our products they can call us. Can I give the number?

Sean: Absolutely. Yes. And the website as well if you like.

Kipling: OK. The website is And the toll free
number is (800) 449-4925. You can call us, talk to us about products.
We don’t have an electronic answering system, so you will get one of
the five of us here in the office, including me, to talk about the
products and prices.

Sean: OK. And you are in the US office, and I think it is in Long Beach, California?

Kipling: Yeah. We are in Long Beach, California.

Sean: OK. And the company is headquartered in Belgium, correct?

Kipling: Yes.

Sean: OK. Well great. I really appreciate you coming on the program
today and talking to us about these types of products. It is something
that I know is of great interest based on the number of hits we get on
these articles and pod casts from our audience. So hopefully everybody
has learned a little bit more today. I know I have. So thanks again to
Kipling Rutherford with Ecovere for coming on and talking to us.

Kipling: Thank you. It was a pleasure.

Sean: Thanks as always to everyone listening in today. Remember, for
more free on demand pod casts, articles, videos, and other information
related to living a greener lifestyle, visit our website at We would also love to hear your comments,
feedback, and questions. Send us an email at

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