SC Johnsons’s Greenlist of uh…err…stuff

The ultimate folly is to think that something crucial to your welfare is being taken care of for you.
~Robert Brault

This was totally supposed to go up yesterday, I have no clue why it did not. So…PRETEND IT IS WEDNESDAY.

I’ve always been bothered by SC Johnson’s “Greenlist” products. It seems from the packaging that they’ve made changes to their product to make it “better,” but seeing as they never listed the ingredients in Windex and still don’t, I always found the claim dubious at best.

So I decided to see if their website had any concrete information.

The TL;DR version: it doesn’t.

Supposedly they rate 95% of the ingredients they use. Doesn’t say which 95% or why after ten years they’ve failed to rate the other 5% or really anything. Following the link tells you nothing.

They do use some numbers. “…by reformulating Windex® brand glass cleaner, we cut 1.8 million pounds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from it while giving it 30% more cleaning power.” Wait, they cut 1.8 million pounds of VOCs from Windex glass cleaner? Those bottles are bigger than I thought. And of course, there’s no numbers or evidence to actually back up this statement. The lack of specification of a timeframe on that 1.8 million just makes it even more suspicious. It could be that they cut 1.8 million pounds of VOCs from going into Windex only if every man, woman, and child bought a bottle over the course of a century. And thirty percent more cleaning power, huh? Let’s see that research. Oh, wait, it doesn’t exist. Right.

Onward! Apparently they’ve licensed the Greenlist Process ™ for other companies to use, royalty-free. I’d be sure to read the fine print on that deal, otherwise you might find yourself in trouble later. Why not just use a creative commons license, SC Johnson?

Their little “0, 1, 2, 3” labeling deal gives no criteria or examples. For all we know, their “Better” category could contain nuclear waste. And for something that’s been licensed royalty-free, they sure are stingy about information. Don’t want people, you know, using it or anything. Gotta protect the integrity of the trademark and all.

Hang on, hang on, this is good…from the page about licensing Greenlist:

“Importantly, they must agree to uphold the responsibility and transparency that is fundamental to operating sustainably; companies that license the Greenlist™ process must be willing to establish measurable goals and report on them annually.” Emphasis mine.

Transparency? There is no fucking transparency! I have no ingredients, no criterion, nothing! Not even a link to a really boring report no one will read! This is supposed to be transparent? It’s as transparent as a two-foot thick block of concrete.

Just to throw me a bone, they’ve offered up a list of shit they’ve removed from their product. Finally, something solid. So now we know what’s not in there, too bad they won’t let us in on what is. It’s not like it’s going to hurt that much. I mean, I make Windex at home…it’s called water and vinegar. Works great, and it’s cheaper, too.


Sadly, I have to announce that this is the last “official” Wednesday post. I’ve been running low on things to blog about and have been relying a little too much on reacting to other bloggers and articles, so I’m stepping down my posting frequency to try to give myself time to think of things to write about. This isn’t the end of Wednesday posting (nor of my reacting to other bloggers/articles), but it’ll likely be a quote, or a link, a video, something interesting, but not necessarily every week. Hopefully I’ll be able to return to Wednesday posting after a while. Like maybe when I get over my Minecraft obsession.


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