How to Read & Label Chemical Cleaning Supplies

Not all labels are easy to get approved. If you handle sanitation or chemical supplies, you know there are specific marks and content that must appear on the product labels.

In this post, you will gain insight into chemical and GHS label markings and how to label them. In addition, we will cover how utilizing an on-demand color label printer can provide the best labeling solution for your products.

What Are GHS and Chemical Regulations?

Janitorial and sanitation products are among the chemicals that require color-coded chemical hazard identification labels in compliance with GHS Labeling regulations.

GHS stands for Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, which are usually represented as red and black pictograms.

Also known as graphic symbols, pictograms are used to communicate specific information about the hazards of a chemical. The GHS regulation standards use a total of nine pictograms.

The purpose of these symbols are to provide workers with better information on the safe handling and use of hazardous chemicals, thereby allowing them (or anyone handling the product) to avoid injuries and illnesses related to exposures to hazardous chemicals.

To read more on each GHS classification symbol, with a more in-depth review of each, please view  our white paper GHS Chemical Labeling Compliance: Requirements & Solutions.

What to Include on Chemical Cleaning Supply Labels

The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) states, “chemical manufacturers, importers, or distributors must ensure that each container of hazardous chemicals is labeled, tagged or marked with the following information: product identifier; signal word; hazard statement(s); precautionary 1 2 statement(s); and pictogram(s); and name, address and telephone number of the chemical manufacturer, importer, or other responsible party.”

Make Compliance Easier by Printing Compliant Labels In-House 

Now that you have a better understanding of the labeling requirements, what’s the best way to create your labels?

If you are in the industry, you already know most GHS label printers offer the ability to print GHS compliant labels in just two colors, red and black.

An ideal durable label printer, QuickLabel’s Kiaro! D tabletop label printer has the ability to instantly print full color GHS labels in 1200 dpi resolution.

QuickLabel’s “D” printers produce durable, pigment based labels able to withstand water, dirt, exposure, abrasion and hazardous chemicals while maintaining color-fastness.

With a Kiaro! D, you can print your entire chemical label in seconds, including your logo and primary display panel graphics and the red and black GHS pictograms, text, barcode and serializations.

See What the Extra-Durable, GHS Compliant Kiaro! D is Capable of:

Printing in full color, 1200 dpi allows your compliant GHS labels to send two messages:

1. A responsible manufacturer has packaged the product safely.

2. The company logo and branding stands out from other competitors.

A QuickLabel printer provides valuable competitive advantages by maintaining GHS compliance and showing off signature brands.

Stand Out on the Shelves

While other companies are stuck with identical packaging, you have the option to stand out with custom messaging. Your custom label and verbiage will ensure customers and clients know exactly who manufactures their chemicals.

To get the perfect package, we recommend using labeling software in addition to an in-house label printer. Labeling software allows you to link your database of chemical descriptions with a label printer for accuracy.

With a robust color label printer such as the Kiaro! D and a fully-featured GHS labeling software such as NiceLabel, it is easy to become compliant and maintain compliance.

Interested in learning more about in-house durable label printers?
Visit our website or contact us for more information.

For more information on GHS and chemical labeling, feel free to read our white paper, GHS Chemical Labeling Compliance: Requirements & Solutions.



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More Cleaning Products Going Green

More Cleaning Products Labels Going Green

Ten years ago, the buzz in chemical cleaning products was about concentrated cleaning efficacy and designer fragrances. Today, it’s all about the eco label. Many cleaning products are now being promoted with “non-toxic,”and “earth-friendly” green labels by companies who are tailoring their products and packaging to consumer demand for chemical cleaning products that are healthier for people and the environment.

The question is: behind the “green label,” are these chemical cleaning products any different from the so-called “conventional” cleaning products that don’t make eco label claims? And, do people really care?

What is Ecolabeling?

Ecolabeling refers to the certification and identification of a product for its low-impact on the environment. Rather than just making a “green label” claim, an eco label is a voluntary standard to which a cleaning product is certified by an agency that conducts and inspection and audit. For example, a Zep Solutions foaming hand sanitizer label that has a certification seal from an organization such as EcoLogo is considered an eco labeled product.

Why do Chemical Cleaning Products Manufacturers Use Eco labeling?

In the cleaning industry, many manufacturers believe that having an eco label certification and a prominent eco label seal printed on their cleaning product label will set them apart from competitors and win over consumers as well as professional purchasing agents who need to decide which soap, detergent, carpet cleaner, or floor polish to buy for their institutions.

Do Eco Labels Make a Difference for Cleaning Products Manufacturers?

The answer is yes, according to Todd J. Foret of Waxie Sanitary Supply, “Ecologo provides a market incentive to manufacturers and suppliers of environmentally preferable products and services in more than 120 product categories and thereby help purchasers, consumers identify products and services that are less harmful to human health and the environment.”

Waxie Sanitary Supply supplies commercial, industrial, contractor, and institutional markets with quality sanitary supplies. Waxie Sanitary Supply has a section in their catalog dedicated to EcoLogo certified products, “we have a dedicated section in our new catalog which is labeled GPS (Green Partner Support). In this section we review products that are Ecologo certified and we provide 8 steps to guide the consumer on the path to a more sustainable cleaning solution.”

Are there also competitive advantages to having products with the Ecologo label?

“Absolutely! EcoLogo certification provides the assurance that EcoLogo’d products and services meet stringent environmental standards that have been verified by a third party auditor. In today’s ever changing world, products with the EcoLogo assist me in closing sales because my consumers are educating themselves and prefer products that are environmentally friendly,” said Foret.

Ecologo is the only standard in North America approved by the Global Ecolabeling Network, an international association of ecolabeling programs, that meets the ISO 14024 environmental labeling standard to ensure compliance among distributors and manufacturers.

Are Eco Labels on the Rise?

Todd Foret of Waxie Sanitary Supply told us he’s seen growth of eco labels. “The demand is increasing daily as end users are learning more about these products.” He attributes the use of smart phones to this trend, saying that consumers and business owners can now access information instantly, a fact which ultimately impacts the decisions they makes about the products they choose to purchase.

When we asked Foret about what he foresees in the future of eco labels, he told us “We will see a shift as more products receive third party certification through EcoLogo. More and more chemicals are being manufactured with EcoLogo certification in mind.”

Who Certifies Eco Labels? What is EcoLogo?

There are several eco label certifiers for the cleaning products industry. The EcoLogo green-certified program , managed by TerraChoice, is a worldwide recognized eco labeling program that describes itself as North America’s largest and most esteemed eco labeling certification program. EcoLogo is known for certifying eco labels for “big name” industry leaders in sustainable cleaning products including Cleaning and Janitorial Products.

What is the EcoLogo Certified Green Program?

The program also develops precise and scientific criteria which is consistent throughout the products entire life cycle. Only those products which meet these specific criteria and are verified by a third party certifier are granted permission to use the EcoLogo seal.

The EcoLogo Program has been audited by the Global EcoLabelling Network (GEN) and verified as compliant with the ISO 14024 standard for eco labeling. The EcoLogo Program is a Type I eco-label. To be considered a Type I eco label standard, the program must evaluate products by comparison with other products within the same category.

Now that spring is upon us, Underwriter Laboratories Inc. is helping consumers with eco-labeling as a part of the “spring greening” process. Working in conjunction with TerraChoice’s and their Sins of Greewashing: Home and Family Edition UL is helping to make consumers more aware of home and family products’ greenwashing “sins.”

UL wants consumers to understand how to recognize legitimate green labels (valid claims vs. hype marketing claims) by clarifying what the tell-tale signs of what really makes a product green. Scott McDougall, President of TerraChoice has stated “The good news is we’ve found consumers are changing the world by demanding greener goods, manufacturers and retailers are working to make headway in combating greenwashing, but there’s still a long way to go.”

EcoLogo Revises Standards for Hard Surface Cleaners

On August 3, 2011 EcoLogo revised their environmental standards for hard surface cleaners that will limit the use of asthmagens (chemicals known to trigger and/or aggravate asthma) in surface cleaners. Common asthmagens used in cleaning products include: ammonia, formaldehyde, and phthalates. This is an important revision considering the fact that 25 million Americans suffer from asthma.

Dr. Angela Griffiths, Executive Director of EcoLogo Program, stated, “This standard sets a vital benchmark to help identify hard surface cleaning products that excel in protecting health and the environment.” Griffiths continued by saying, “We hope that purchasers and consumers will recognize the level of leadership and innovation displayed by manufacturers that have achieved EcoLogo certification for their environmentally preferable goods.”

The NEW Information-Based Environmental Label

EcoLogo is currently working together with the ISSA (International Sanitary Supply Association) to update the EcoLogo Green Certification standard for Hard Surface Cleaners in conjunction with an updated ISSA/Ecoform green products purchasing tool. Both organizations are working on developing compatible standards so that cleaning products manufacturers are able to simultaneously submit products for EcoLogo certification and for inclusion in the ISSA/Ecoform purchasing tool, saving manufacturers money.  Both new standards are due out in 2011.

The new label will be called The Information-Based Environmental Label (IBEL), and it is being designed specifically for the commercial cleaning industry.

These new set of ISSA/EcoLogo standards will open doors to transparency, providing a foundation for claims such as being “green,” protecting health, and being “safer.” By working together, the ISSA, EcoLogo, and Ecoform are hoping to increase the amount information available to purchasers.

Could it be Greenwashing? The Seven Sins of Eco Labeling

What is “greenwashing”?  The definition given by TerraChoice is: “Green-wash (green’wash’, -wôsh’) – verb: the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.” Typically, this refers to labeling products with “green claims.”

These are TerraChoice’s Seven Sins of Greenwashing:

1. The Sin of the Hidden Trade-off

2. The Sin of No Proof

3. The Sin of Vagueness

4. The Sin of Worshiping False Labels

5. The Sin of Irrelevance

6. The Sin of Lesser of Two Evils

7. The Sin of Fibbing

Knowing about these “sins” can help you decipher cleaning products labels better to help pinpoint companies and products that are greenwashing.

Research studies of the cleaning products industry conducted in 2010 show that, out of 605 chemical cleaning products and 120 tissue products, the cleaning industry is making 2,001 “green label” claims.

A recent EcoLogo study shows that most common greenwashing sin, at 77.4%, is Vagueness. The most common terms associated with the Sin of Vagueness are: eco-friendly, environmentally friendly, earth-friendly, and environmentally safe.

Sound familiar?

“Spring Greening”

Now that spring is upon us, Underwriter Laboratories Inc. is helping consumers with eco-labeling as a part of the “spring greening” process. Working in conjunction with TerraChoice and their Sins of Greewashing: Home and Family Edition, UL is helping to make consumers more aware of home and family products’ greenwashing “sins”.

UL wants consumers to understand how to recognize legitimate green labels (valid claims vs. marketing claims) by clarifying what the tell-tale signs of what really makes a product green. Scott McDougall, President of TerraChoice, has stated “The good news is we’ve found consumers are changing the world by demanding greener goods, manufacturers and retailers are working to make headway in combating greenwashing, but there’s still a long way to go.”

UL is currently helping families become more aware of green-labels with these steps:

  • Examine the existing environmental claims on home and family products.
  • Watch out for terms such as ‘all-natural’ on product packaging, as this does not necessarily mean the product is environmentally-friendly.
  • Watch out for claims of ‘eco-friendly’ or ‘Mother Earth Approved,’ as these should be considered improper marketing if the label does not explain what makes the product safe for the environment.
  • To help make sure products in the home have been independently tested and certified to meet certain industry standards of sustainability by a third-party source, UL recommends families look for a trusted green label or certification mark, such as EcoLogo, Green Seal, GREENGUARD, or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) labels such as ENERGY STAR, DfE, and WaterSense.

Our Questions for YOU:

What do you think about eco labeling cleaning products?

Shoppers: Do you see a difference between certified eco labels and “green claims” on cleaning products? Are you more likely to buy a cleaning product label states that the product has been independently certified to be green?

Cleaning Industry Pros: Are you seeing an increase in demand for environmentally-preferred cleaning products? If you already label chemicals with the EcoLogo seal or the CIMS seal, how have your customers reacted to the green label?

More information on Eco labeling of Cleaning Products:

Application for EcoLogo Certification – EcoLogo

Learn more about the CIMS Cleaning Industry Management Standard – ISSA

Print Your Own Eco Labels for Any Product – QuickLabel Systems