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Best Buy Q&A: Greenscents

Given their importance during this pandemic, we return to cleaning product Best Buy brand Greenscents for another chat with Christina Hawkes. Greenscents feature in our guides to ethical household cleaners, toilet cleaners, washing up liquid and laundry detergents.

Since we last spoke in September, what is new at Greenscents?

We have been working towards our new palm oil free certification which will be complete very soon.  So far 24 products out of 26 have been accepted so we are nearly there!  (Update December 2020: certifcation process is now complete!) We are very proud of this achievement as so many proprietary ingredients contain palm oil or are processed with it. 

The plight of our rainforests and their inhabitants, especially the iconic orangutan, is a global emergency.  We hope to be able to display the palm oil free certification logo on our labels very soon.

With the arrival of Covid-19, we have been preparing a couple of new products – a hand cleanser with anti-viral support and an anti-bacterial spray with an essential oil blend that targets viruses. Watch this space!

What adjustments have you had to make in the workshop in order to keep the workplace safe for employees?

Our employees already use nitrile gloves and face masks for handling ingredients safely but now some staff choose to wear masks most of the time.  We have been cleaning the workshop and offices very frequently especially hard surfaces, phones, and laptops. 

Aprons and white coats are washed at higher temperatures and everyone has access to a copy of our coronavirus guide.  Although we are located in a very rural area, social distancing rules are maintained with our neighbours and couriers.  Everyone is well and despite delays with some of our consumables (especially bottles), orders are leaving the workshop every day.

What challenges are you facing now as an ethical company?

Cleaning more and washing at higher temperatures are not the most eco-friendly options but in these challenging times we have to prioritise customer and staff safety. Sourcing consumables such as bottles, caps, and containers are also more difficult and our usual ethical suppliers may not be able to help us.

Has the pandemic affected the production of any of your products?

Thankfully for Greenscents, household cleaning products have been in high demand during the pandemic.  Sales of sprays and castile soap have been particularly strong over the last few weeks.  However, finding enough trigger sprays is proving a headache.

Although disposable packaging isn't sterile, some are finding it hard to trust reusables with the spread of coronavirus. What would you say to reassure consumers that they can continue to buy from zero-waste shops in these difficult times?

Our unacceptable treatment of the environment is at the heart of this pandemic and we must continue to do all we can to support our world as conscious consumers. 

Most of our zero waste stores are still making healthy orders and so I feel optimistic that we will ride out this storm and perhaps gain momentum for the green movement along the way.

What do you say to customers that may feel that organic household cleaning products aren't as effective as bleach and regular cleaning fluids?

Our recent blog explains why we should not expose ourselves to unnecessary toxins and risk our health or the health of the planet. There are a number of ways to remove bacteria and viruses effectively and organic products are more suitable for regular cleaning than anti-bacterial ones.

Have your plans for the future changed since the pandemic has unfolded?

The outbreak of Covid-19 has highlighted a need for greater awareness of home and personal hygiene and this has to be a good thing.

Consumers need to understand that organic and ethical cleaning is the only sustainable way forward.  There is no need to panic and regress towards toxic household products and greater plastic use.

Our aim will be to retain as many of our new customers as possible and we will communicate through our newsletter to explain more about how our products work.  It will be essential to give all our customers confidence that they can maintain a happy, healthy home with Greenscents. We will definitely be reviewing our product/size mix and packaging after the lockdown has ended.   

We would like to thank Christina for taking the time to talk to Ethical Consumer. For more information about Greenscents take a look at their website.

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