What criteria does Ecover use for choosing ingredients?
Ecover looks to nature for inspiration, sourcing plant-based and mineral ingredients. Not only can naturally derived ingredients be made into effective cleaning products, they are typically renewable, biodegrade quickly and completely, have a low aquatic toxicity and are gentle to your skin. While there are many definitions, we believe ecological products are in balance with the rest of nature. So to help us, we developed a unique model we call the Diamond Model that’s managed by an independent auditor. We care about more than just banning nasty chemicals or understanding how well a product works. We want to understand every part of each product’s journey—from ingredient sourcing to product disposal, and everything in between.
Where can I find a list of your ingredients?
You can find a full list of our ingredients here
What are the benefits of using plant-based ingredients?
Using plant-based ingredients provides benefits at every stage of the product lifecycle. Here are just a few: First, to make sure we don’t deplete nature’s resources, we use renewable ingredients that can be extracted from the environment without causing damage. Second, we choose plant-based ingredients that are less likely to irritate your skin. Third, our plant-based formulas achieve powerful cleaning results. Fourth, plant-based ingredients biodegrade into nature quickly and completely.
Does Ecover use SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) in its products?
Yes. There’s a lot of misinformation out there about SLS but it’s an ingredient we feel confident using. Here’s why: SLS and SLES (sodium laureth sulfate) are surfactants that have many great properties, both for cleaning and for the environment. First, they’re derived from plant oil, such as coconut oil, which means they meet our objective to use plant-based ingredients. Second, they have a low aquatic toxicity and are quickly biodegradable. And, third, they have excellent properties that give you the clean you expect.
What are enzymes and why are they used in cleaning products?
Enzymes are large biological molecules that help our products clean more effectively. For example, they break down certain stains from fabrics and dishes. The benefit of using them is two-fold: you get a cleaner wash while reducing the burden on the environment because you only need a tiny amount, and they reduce the need for surfactants. If 1% to 2% of the product is made up of enzymes, the amount of surfactants required is reduced by ten times. That’s why our laundry powder and dishwasher tablets contain enzymes. We typically use naturally occurring enzymes like protease and amylase that work both on protein and starch stains.
What are phosphates and what’s the problem with using them?
A phosphate is a molecule that’s often added to detergents to soften water so that the surfactants can clean better. One phosphate isn’t bad, but when they travel in masses to our lakes, ponds, rivers and streams, algae feast on them and eventually die. Then bacteria comes in, feasts on the dead algae while using up all the oxygen in the water. No oxygen, of course, means life cannot survive. That’s very scary… and it’s why we don’t use phosphates in any of our products.
Does Ecover use palm oil? I have heard that sourcing this material can have negative effects on orangutan habitats.
We do use palm oil in some of our products. Palm oil is pressed from the fruits of the Elaeis guinensis, originally from West Africa. West African people have used palm oil since time immemorial for food, medical and other applications, and since the 19th Century it has been imported into Europe in substantial quantities. Palm oil is made up of fatty acids and, after many stages of processing, can be used to make surfactants. These surfactants have excellent technical properties—neutral odor, great water solubility, washing efficiency, stable lather, not to mention their ecological properties.
However, the reckless introduction of palm trees in regions where they are not indigenous, mainly Malaysia, Java and Borneo, and the cutting of forests to set up new plantations led to growing environmental concern. Increasing demand for palm oil has led to an increase of greenhouse gases, habitat destruction, extinction of species, degradation of native food, water and product sources. Although it’s impossible for Ecover to change the short-term situation regarding palm oil, we feel a responsibility to try and make the right choices and influence the market to move towards sustainable palm oil production since it’s an important material used worldwide. In 2008, Ecover became a voting member of The Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO, www.rspo.org), an NGO-based in Southeast Asia, grouping all stakeholders of palm oil production, transformation and use.
Does Ecover use preservatives?
Yes. Liquid products require preservatives to stop the growth of bacteria and microorganisms so they don’t decay in the bottle while on the supermarket shelf. The total preservative content in our products varies from 0% to 0.02%.
Are Ecover’s products biodegradable?
Yes. All of our product formulations are uniquely developed to biodegrade completely—and as quickly as possible. We always think about what happens to our products and ingredients once they’re washed down your kitchen sink, shower or toilet. Usually, products are broken down by bacteria, fungi or other simple organisms. So, by definition, most chemicals are biodegradable, but some take much longer to biodegrade than others: a piece of bread will break down pretty quickly whereas a piece of plastic will take decades or more. So we also made our bottles recyclable. You’re welcome, Mother Nature.
How does Ecover measure the biodegradability of its products?
We start at the beginning with the right ingredients, selecting those that meet our criteria for fast and complete biodegradability—not just for surfactants but for every ingredient we use. We test how well products biodegrade using a variety of industry standard models and tests, including a working replica of biodegradation in nature.
What is the Ecover Diamond Model?
The Diamond Model is a dynamic tool that allows us to understand the effect our products have on the environment, starting with the sourcing of ingredients through performance and safety, to disposal and complete assimilation in the water cycle. We firmly believe that our model helps us go above and beyond because it balances a wide range of criteria, rather than simply aiming to eliminate certain chemicals or look only at performance. The model is divided in 13 axes of quantifiable characteristics within the 3 main processes of the product lifecycle, and it has been validated by Vinçotte Environment, a prominent international environmental and safety service provider.
Does Ecover test on animals?
We don’t believe in animal testing—that’s why all of our cleaners are certified by Leaping Bunny and Cruelty Free International. As part of our qualification, we’re regularly audited to ensure both Ecover and our suppliers comply with the comprehensive criteria of the Humane Cosmetics Standard.
That standard allows for testing on daphnia (aka water fleas) in Europe due to local REACH legislative requirements, which we complied with in the past. However, we’ve decided to evolve our global animal testing policy to hold ourselves to the highest standards of what it means to be cruelty-free: the Standard of Compassion for Animals. Along with our sister brand method, we share a collective global mission to never test on animals, including water fleas.
We now use alternative testing methods—like theoretical evaluation models—to determine product safety without harming creatures, big or small. We’ve chosen to pause further development of new sustainable ingredient technologies in Europe until the REACH legislation offers an alternative to required animal testing.
for more information on our global cruelty-free mission, visit: https://www.ecover.com/healthy-home/pets/no-animal-testing
Where can I find safety data sheets (SDS) for Ecover?
Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
and we’d be happy to supply you with any SDS sheets you need.
Do Ecover products contain any animal by-products?
None of our products sold in North America contain animal by-products.
Have you changed your ingredient list? The label looks different.
We recently improved our transparency by adding more detailed lists of ingredients to our products. The ingredients we use are still non-toxic, biodegradable and safe for people and the environment.
In the past, we included the general description list on our packaging and a more comprehensive list on our website. We felt we needed to be clearer as this was causing confusion. Older products will have a general description of the ingredient while our new labels list the full scientific name of the ingredient. We rigorously test the safety of each ingredient we use, for people and for the planet.
My Ecover products look different. Did you change your products?
So glad you noticed. We are excited to share our fresh new look. While we have introduced a few new members to our product lineup, you can still find many of our older products in stores, just with updated packaging.
Is Ecover suitable for my septic tank?
Yes. Look for the “safe for septic tank” logo on your favorite Ecover product to check for septic tank safety. If you have a septic tank then you should be using products that can fully degrade. In your tank, there is an anaerobic environment that efficiently decomposes waste, and to keep it healthy you need to make sure you don’t upset it with unwanted chemicals that might throw it out of balance.
Why is each dishwasher tablet individually wrapped?
Dishwasher tablets are fragile things that don’t react well to water in the air; in fact, it causes them to crumble. We want you to open your box to find tablets, not powder, so we wrap each tablet to keep it safe. Our dishwasher tablet wrappers are made from polypropylene (PP), a simple, stable, non-toxic plastic that can be easily recycled. Each wrapper weighs only 0.3 grams. We know that the best choice would be a wrapper made from bio-plastic, but at the moment this material just isn’t stable or durable enough for us to use. As soon as a better choice becomes available, you can be sure that we’ll switch.
Is it important to use Ecover Dishwasher Tablets and Ecover Rinse Aid together? Why?
Yes. Our dishwasher tabs take care of the cleaning, and the rinse aid prevents water drops from forming and leaving behind spots and streaks on your dishes.
Can the laundry bleach be used for other purposes?
Yes. You can use it for deep cleaning stainless steel sinks, refreshing tarnished porcelain or earthenware sinks, bleaching dish towels and brushes or for cleaning toilets, buckets, etc. Mix 1-2 capfuls in .25 to 1.25 gallons of warm water; use immediately and leave to act for 30 minutes. One note of caution: Don’t mix with other cleaners and always rinse in between.
What percentage of hydrogen peroxide is used in your laundry bleach?
Our non-chlorine bleach contains 7 percent hydrogen peroxide.
What is Plantplastic®?
Like you, we recognize that plastic packaging is a major problem—it’s made from crude oil, an increasingly scarce resource associated with pollution. That’s why we have worked to harness the power of nature to implement an innovative new PolyEthylene (PE)—a green plastic we call Plantplastic® that's renewable, reusable and recyclable—and made from sugarcane! Manufacturing our new Plantplastic® is unbelievably simple. Sugarcane is harvested to produce sugar, which is then fermented and distilled to produce ethanol. This ethanol is dehydrated to create ethylene, which is polymerized into Plantplastic®. That’s really all there is to it.
Are your Plantplastic® bottles recyclable?
Yes, all of our bottles are recyclable.
Are Ecover products gluten-free?
Yes. All of our products sold in North America are gluten-free—except for the Ecover Dishwashing Liquid in Lemon and Aloe, which contains hydrolyzed wheat gluten.