Dear Lazy Environmentalist,

How can I clean my house well and still preserve the planet?

In 2008, green cleaning welcomed a new product line with a familiar name. Green Works by Clorox tapped into the company’s extensive research and development resources to develop a line of products made of natural plant-based, biodegradable ingredients like corn, coconut and lemon. Green Works features all-purpose cleaning products, glass and mirror sprays, bathroom and toilet bowl cleaners, as well as dish soaps that have repeatedly performed as well or better than conventional products in blind at-home and laboratory tests. The products are never tested on animals and are packaged in plastic recyclable bottles made with at least 25 percent recycled content. Look for Green Works products at Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and thousands of other locations around the United States.

Green cleaning products that are effective, affordable and available everywhere -- that's an eco-trifecta that this Lazy Environmentalist fully supports. This is why I’ve signed on to be a spokesperson for the Green Works brand. While some environmentalists may resist eco-solutions presented by large corporations, I’m all for them, provided those solutions are substantively more environmentally responsible than the conventional choices. Sometime when big companies offer a green alternative, they may be accused of jumping on the green bandwagon to make a buck. From the Lazy Environmentalist’s perspective, this green bandwagoning is exactly what’s called for. Every company, consumer, citizen and government official must jump on the green bandwagon if we are going to successfully restore balance to our lifestyles and the planet. As far as I can tell, Mother Nature doesn’t care whether we create positive environmental change because we are morally compelled or whether we do it to save a buck, earn a buck, live a healthier life, look cool or get lucky. As long as substantive, positive environmental change is happening, it’s all good.

Clorox has some significant competition in the green game. Method’s design-centric packaging — containing some of the most effective earth-friendly cleaning products — is now made from 100-percent recycled plastic. And the company’s Go Naked line ups the eco-ante with all-purpose cleaners and dish detergents that are dye- and perfume-free. Target, Costco, Staples and Safeway are just a few of the many retailers who carry the Method brand.

Led by founder, CEO, and green movement luminary Jeffrey Hollender, Seventh Generation also continues to excel in green cleaning. The darling of natural supermarket chains and mom-and-pop grocery stores, Seventh Generation continues to serve its exceptionally loyal following while reaching out to new audiences. Thanks to price-competitive products and widespread distribution at stores such as Walgreens and Duane Reade, everyone can access these incredibly efficient, all-natural products.

TerraCycle — maker of all things natural, reclaimed and recycled — also entered into the natural cleaning products category in 2008. The company’s cleaners — including all-purpose, window, and bathroom, as well a natural degreaser and drain maintainer and cleaner — derive their cleaning power from the concentrated oils of plants, shrubs, fruits, herbs and grasses. TerraCycle packages its cleaners in reused soda bottles, helping make it one of the most affordable and eco-responsible cleaning lines available. Find them nationwide at OfficeMax and Home Depot.

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Excerpted from Josh Dorfman's latest book, The Lazy Environmentalist on a Budget.

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How can I clean and stay green?
These cleaning products get the lazy housekeeping thumbs-up.