When it comes to the many different types of holding tank products and RV chemicals on the market it is important to understand some of the biggest differences between some terms that are often used to define different types of products. Organic, Safe, and Natural. What exactly does each mean in the grand scheme of things?
Before we get started, we want to express how important we, at Unique Camping + Marine, believe it is for companies to be transparent in their packaging, labeling, and ingredients.
We understand why a brand would want to keep secret it's formulas - no one wants their hard work stolen or replicated! But we also believe that consumers need to be made aware of potential health or environmental hazards when using everyday products.
We've been noticing for several years now an increase in products that are being labeled as safe, organic, or natural and we want to help you navigate these waters, because, unfortunately not all companies believe in transparency like we do.
Sadly, there are numerous manufacturers who make unfounded claims of having natural, safe, or "organic" holding tank treatments and offer no proof or transparency in validating these claims. In fact, the very documents that are there to protect consumers, the SDS sheets, are often made to be misleading, causing one to believe a product is safer than it actually is.
These offenders are often using a technique called "green-washing" where they intentionally (or unintentionally) downplay the dangerous aspects of their products to trick the consumer into believing that their products are safer than they actually are.
We aren't saying that ALL manufacturers do this. We just suggest you look deeper into claims of "organic", "natural", and "safe". Are they disclosing what's in these products? Is there an organization that is validating their claims of being organic? Do their SDS sheets have warnings on them?
At Unique you can request an SDS at any time and every product we make (except for one, Tank Odor Eliminator - which has some safety precautions) is completely safe for people, pets, and the environment! You can read more about our ingredients and our commitment to transparency here.
Organic is a term you hear a lot these days whether its on food packaging, clothing (organic cotton) or various types of cleaning products. It can sometimes be misleading. The biggest issue being that a majority of cleaning products are not regulated by the USDA. Because cleaning products are not made for intentional consumption by humans (unlike food, shampoo, body care products) they do not fall into the same realm of regulation. Therefore the term "organic" is not regulated strictly in cleaning products and cannot provide an accurate description of what is inside the product. For a product to be considered "organic" it has to meet the USDA's standards. Most cleaning products often wont fit into this category so it is important to be cautious about cleaning products that claim to be organic and you should look for proper certification.
Note: Sometimes companies will use the term "organic" in reference to the fact that their products contain ingredients that are organically found on earth. Simply being found on earth doesn't make something safe! Arsenic, mercury, asbestos, anthrax, formaldehyde, and even cocaine would qualify as "organic" or as a natural ingredient using this labeling methodology! Buyer beware of products that claim to be organic but don't validate their claims with a seal from the organization that certified it as being organic.
"Natural" is another term that often has issues because it also has no proper federal regulation when it comes to uses on product descriptions. Natural by definition means that it comes from the earth without human involvement. Often it us used correctly, but also has it pitfalls because of the lack of regulation of the term for food and non-food items alike. In short, there is no set of rules that make a clear distinction of what is a natural product and what isn't when it comes to what a company can and cannot say about their own products.
Safe is based purely on the danger to people, animals, and the environment. This makes it a little more clear because it is based on tangible dangers that a product may have. All products used for cleaning require a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS or SDS) that outlines the ingredients within the product that may be dangerous to people and the environment. Truthfully, this is the best way to determine the safety or danger of the product(s) you are looking for more information on. It is often why we are quick to offer an SDS to our customers who ask for one. It is incredibly important as it is one of the only ways to establish the true safety of a product.
After all is said and done, it makes these waters hard to navigate for companies that want to be environmentally conscious and create quality cleaning products that are truthful within the hazards of personal use. Terms like "organic", "natural", and "safe" are easily tarnished by companies when used inappropriately and this is only made worse because of the lack of term regulation within the cleaning product marketplace. We do our best to notify our customers of potential hazards and will not label something safe, natural, or organic if it doesn't fall into that category.
If you would like an SDS of any of our products, please email us here!
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