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Our Product History

Our commitment to you is that we will be completely transparent in the disclosure of the ingredients in all of our products, and will provide you with as much information as possible to give you the highest confidence that you are making a conscious, informed choice when you choose Seventh Generation products for your home.

Understanding ingredient descriptions on Seventh Generation products.

Seventh Generation has listed ingredients on its home care product labels since it began making them in 1990. We do this because we believe that consumers have a right to know what ingredients are used in the products they buy, and because we are proud of the care we take in our ingredient choices.

As our formulas have improved over time, so too has our communication about them. For example, where we once described our ingredients simply as "plant-based surfactants," we now describe them using International Nomenclature for Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) names, familiar to most consumers as the ingredient names used on cosmetic products like skin creams and shampoos.

The origin of ingredients is often of concern to consumers, particularly the origin of ingredients that contain the element carbon. Carbon can be obtained from either plant oils or from petroleum or other fossil fuels. Because oil from plants can be harvested each year, but oil from petroleum takes millions of years for nature to make, Seventh Generation uses as many ingredients from plant oils as possible.

Often, oils taken from plants need to be modified before they can be used effectively in a product. Seventh Generation uses five terms to communicate if an ingredient is from a plant oil, and how much it has been modified, if at all. These terms (Natural, Plant-Derived, Plant-Based, Plant-Modified Synthetic, and Synthetic) are defined as follows:

Natural: Ingredients that are derived from plant oils without any chemical modification are considered by Seventh Generation to be natural. These ingredients are listed on the product label without any further description. An example of a natural ingredient used in Seventh Generation products is an essential oil used as a fragrance, lavendula angustifolia (lavender).

Plant-Derived: Some ingredients obtain their carbon exclusively from plants, but have been modified from their state found in nature to provide functional performance. Seventh Generation refers to such ingredients as plant-derived. For example, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) contains carbon derived exclusively from coconut oil or palm-kernel oil that is modified with sulfur and oxygen (that come from nature) to produce a cleaning agent. Because all the carbon in the SLS that Seventh Generation uses is from plants, Seventh Generation refers to SLS as plant-derived.

Plant-Based: Sometimes a plant oil is minimally modified with carbon from other sources to improve its performance. When carbon in the modified plant oil is mostly (more than 50%) from the plant, Seventh Generation refers to the ingredient as plant-based. An example of a plant-based ingredient is lauramine oxide, which contains an average of 12.5 carbons from plant oils, and two carbons from natural gas or petroleum.

Plant-Modified Synthetic: When most (50% or more) of the carbon in an ingredient is from sources other than a plant, Seventh Generation identifies the ingredient as plant-modified synthetic. ppg-10-laureth-7, used in Seventh Generation automatic dishwashing products, is a plant-modified synthetic.

Synthetic: Finally, if the carbon in an ingredient is derived exclusively from petroleum or natural gas, the ingredient is synthetic. An example of this is methylisothiazolinone, used as a preservative in many household and personal care products.

Many ingredients do not contain carbon. Typically, they are found in nature as minerals. Seventh Generation considers a mineral used without any chemical modification to be natural, and is listed on our product labels without any further description or with the description, mineral. Sodium chloride is an example of this. If the mineral has been processed to form an ingredient, it is referred to as mineral-derived or mineral-based. Sodium percarbonate, used as a stain-removal agent in Seventh Generation Laundry Powder, Automatic Dishwashing Powder, and Automatic Dishwashing Pacs, is described as mineral-based. Sodium hydroxide, used to adjust pH in Seventh Generation laundry liquids is described as mineral-based.

Please read labels carefully before you buy a product, and if you have questions, be certain to ask the manufacturer. We believe you have a right to know what is in the products you buy, and we will continue to communicate this information to you on our product labels an on our website as clearly as we can.

Packaging & Recyclability

Laundry Powder, Dishwasher Powder, and Dishwasher Pacs Recently it has come to our attention that, due to the polyethylene lining in the boxes of our Natural Powdered Laundry, Automatic Dishwasher Powder and Automatic Dishwasher Pacs, the recyclability of this packaging may vary by municipality. The purpose for this lining is to keep moisture from getting into the product and degrading it.

The best way to determine whether you can recycle these boxes is to call your local material recycling facility for their policies regarding cardboard boxes. If you include these boxes with your regular cardboard recycling, it is possible they will be sorted out and put in the landfill if the capability to recycle this material does not exist in your area.

We plan to remove the statement "Please recycle this package" from the packaging of these 3 products until a point in time when we can secure a 100% recyclable box for these products. We are currently working closely with our vendors to identify and integrate a more widely-accepted recyclable box for the packaging of these products.

Safer Detergents Stewardship Initiative

Seventh Generation is proud to be recognized at the Champion level of the EPA’s Safer Detergents Stewardship Initiative (SDSI), which is the highest recognition available. In sharing our participation in this program and the level at which we've been recognized, we hope it helps illustrate our deep commitment towards the use of safer surfactants.

At Seventh Generation, we are committed to using surfactants that are safer for you, your family, and the environment. Surfactant is a word that comes from "surface active agents", and is a cleaning agent commonly used in laundry detergents, dish detergents, hard-surface cleaners, and other cleaners. The surfactants used in our cleaning products are chosen for their effectiveness and safety for human and environmental health. Our surfactants are not chronically toxic, and do not contain alkylphenolethoxylates (APEs), such as nonylphenolethoxylate (NPE), which have been found to cause human health problems such as endocrine disruption.

Seventh Generation is committed to creating products that are safe and effective. We recognize this as a continuous process of innovation and improvement, requiring dedication and passion. Our R&D team consistently reviews the performance and ingredients used in our product formulations in order to ensure we are creating products that are safer for you, your family, and the environment.

Seventh Generation® Teams up with CleanWell Company on Innovation in Botanical Disinfectants

When we set out to bring to market EPA registered disinfecting cleaning products made from essential oils, we knew we had our work cut out for us. In the hunt for disinfectants that met our strict standards, CleanWell Company was a natural fit. The CleanWell™ scientific team was the first to discover how to blend thyme oil to kill 99.99% of household germs. Just like us, they're dedicated to providing healthy ways to care for our families and homes. And just like us, they won’t compromise to get the job done.

The results of our partnership are our Seventh Generation Disinfecting Cleaners. They have the tough cleaning power you expect from Seventh Generation, along with CleanWell™ patented disinfecting technology. We are proud to partner on this streak-free formula that easily cleans and deodorizes your home and other important places with the disinfecting power of thymol, a component of thyme oil, which is obtained from the common garden herb thyme.

The rewards of this approach are clear: A botanical disinfecting household cleaning solution that kills 99.99% of household germs* botanically on hard nonporous surfaces.

Want to learn more? Visit CleanWell Company on the web!

*Refer to label for details.

 

Sustainable Palm Oil

View our Supply Chain Certification.

 

Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) certifications of compliance