Confusion about the authenticity of green claims on cleaning products can now be solved with the release of a new Cleaning Products Standard by not-for-profit Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA), which runs the country’s only transparent and independently audited multi-sector green certification program.

“Putting a leaf, a globe or a smiley sun on your products does not make them good for the environment,” said GECA CEO Rupert Posner.

“GECA certification guarantees consumers that the product they buy is better for the environment, they have been independently tested and that there are no bogus or misleading claims.

“For example, many cleaning products give the impression that being phosphorus free makes them green. For many types of cleaning products phosphorus isn’t a common used ingredient, so the claim is pretty much irrelevant,” said Posner.

“And simple claims that products are biodegradeable don’t give the whole story. Almost all chemicals are degradable to some extent – what matters is how long it takes. Products certified by our new Standard must biodegrade, and quickly.

“If consumers want to guarantee that their favourite cleaning products are better for the environment they should look for the GECA ecolabel. If it isn’t there they should ask the company to get GECA certification.”

All cleaning products certified against the new GECA Standard are independently tested, and:

  • Do not contain chemicals that cause cancer, genetic mutations, or reproductive damage – including formaldehyde and perchloroethylene.
  • Are low in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which contribute to air pollution as well as conditions such as asthma, allergies and headaches.
  • If palm oil is used, at leat 20% must be certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) with the remainder offset via GreenPalm. This limits the destruction of habitat for endangered species and protects peatlands, which are reservoirs for large amounts of CO2.
  • Biodegrade quickly, reducing their persistence and impact on the environment.
  • Contain no phosphorous and low levels of sodium, which contribute to environmental problems such as algal blooms and salinity.
  • Only use enzymes and microorganisms which meet stringent health and safety requirements.
  • Use minimal packaging, made of environmentally preferable materials.
  • Do not make unsubstantiated claims, or ‘greenwash’.
  • Are manufactured with minimised resource consumption and waste production.


The new Standard replaces GECA’s previous Cleaning Products Standard and provides for a higher level of environmental benefit. Revisions were made in conjunction with a stakeholder consultation group, followed by a period of public comment.


The GECA ecolabel

The GECA 'tick of approval' is available to products that are certified as complying with its independently developed voluntary environmental standards. Those standards are available in product categories that cover a wide range of more than 2000 products and some services. Product categories include cleaning products, paper products, furniture and textiles, carpet, paint, building materials and more.
GECA’s ecolabelling program is built on ISO 14024 guidelines, offering global best practice in product certification and ecolabelling. GECA is the sole Australian member of the Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN).


Like to know more?

Contact Rupert Posner on (02) 8399 2720 or 0438 989 420 or

Visit the Standard page here for details on the Standard including a comparison with the earlier version.