Government of New Brunswick

We want household products that work, do the job quickly and conveniently, and don't cost a fortune. And no one wants to risk their family's health -- or that of our environment.

Yet, most of us have purchased ineffective products that cost a lot, and contain dangerous chemicals. In fact, the typical New Brunswick home may contain dozens of different hazardous products.

Many people are extremely sensitive to various chemical ingredients of common household products. Paints, solvents, drain opener, oven cleaner, batteries, certain hobby supplies, chlorine bleach, and pesticides are high on the list, and children tend to be more susceptible than adults. The effects may be cumulative, and especially noticeable in winter when we may restrict fresh airflow in the interests of heat conservation.

In some cases, products that are relatively safe for the environment may pose health and safety concerns for people. They are required by law to carry standard warning symbols.

On the other hand, something safe for humans may be harmful to the environment. Products like these won't have a hazardous product symbol.

Some hazardous household products require special precautions for use and disposal, and for others, safe disposal methods simply do not exist yet.

Fortunately, there is often another choice.

Simple, safe alternatives -- many straight from the kitchen shelf -- can replace a lot of the hazardous household products we use every day.

We can pick products that do the job safely, and that cause the least environmental damage throughout their life-cycle of manufacture, use and disposal.

'GREEN' MEANS . . . ?

One of the easiest ways we can make a difference may be to buy the 'green' products which aim to help reduce packaging waste and the use of harmful chemicals. Dozens of products labelled 'environmentally friendly' are on the shelves of your local stores. But the truly good choices aren't always easy to identify, and some claims made about 'environmental friendliness' are simply misleading.

For example, a product may be promoted as a "green choice" simply because the manufacturer has changed the packaging from an aerosol to a pump spray. The product itself may still be harmful to human health or to the environment.


Warning Symbols












As consumers, we need to look beyond the advertising, to read the fine print, and to ask tough questions.


A limited number of products for sale in Canada, after rigorous testing, have been given the right to display the EcoLogo. That's one label you can trust as an environmentally better product choice.


If your favourite products are not acceptable from an environmental standpoint, write to the manufacturer with your concerns.

If enough people raise their voices, and as more manufacturers realize the economic benefits of selling environmentally responsible products, we'll see more companies reformulate and repackage their goods.

EcoLogo Products

For information on the Environmental Choice Program and Ecologo products, contact:

Environmental Choice Program
c/o TerraChoice Environmental Marketing
1280 Old Innes Suite 801
Ottawa, Ontario K1B 5M7
Fax: 613-247-2228

A Word About Packaging

Many cardboard boxes are made from recycled paper fibres, a good choice because the paper we send to be recycled needs to have an end use in the marketplace.

Are containers made using recycled plastics, and are they recyclable in your community? If the product you want is sold only in a plastic bottle -- white vinegar, for example -- you might buy the biggest size available. Concentrated products and larger-sized "refill" jugs or envelopes are other possible choices.

Although they no longer use CFCs, aerosol containers can still be an unwise and even dangerous type of packaging. The fine spray does not always go where you want it to, and may be inhaled. With an aerosol, you're also paying for less useable product than the size of container suggests: about half the can is taken up just by propellants. Some liquid is always left in the bottom of an 'empty' aerosol, which increases the danger of harm to people if the container is accidentally heated or punctured. For information on proper disposal of aerosol containers, and household hazardous waste, contact the Regional Solid Waste Commission in your area. Some RSWCs have Household Hazardous Waste programs.