Eco-Friendly Cleaning in Japan: Tips and Recommendations | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

Eco-Friendly Cleaning in Japan: Tips and Recommendations

By Margherita Jun 5, 2024

Eco-friendly cleaning detergent, derived from plant-based ingredients and touted to prevent pollution of oceans and rivers, has been gaining traction in recent years. 

Thanks to the rising environmental awareness, interest in eco-friendly cleaning products has been growing in Japan as well. Common options include biodegradable detergents labeled as “Eco (エコ)” or “Kankyo ni yasashii (環境にやさしい)”, which translates to “kind to the environment”. 

Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products and Brands to Try in Japan

However, selecting the right product can be challenging with various ingredients and container designs.

In this article, we’ll guide you on what to look for when choosing cleaning products and detergents as well as showcase products available in Japan.

The Ingredients

When selecting eco-friendly detergents, choose from plant-based components like ethically sourced palm oil, natural essential oils, and coconut extracts. Look for packaging labeled as “100% naturally derived” or “organic detergent” to ensure their eco-friendly credentials.

Furthermore, consider the source of surfactants in detergents, which can be either petroleum-based or plant-derived. Unlike finite petroleum resources, plants can be sustainably cultivated and harvested repeatedly. Plant-derived surfactants are also highly biodegradable, minimizing the risk of polluting oceans and rivers.

Traditional agents like vinegar and baking soda are also popular for their natural cleaning properties in Japan and can be found in most drugstores and 100 yen shops.

Packaging and Reusable Tools

eco-friendly cleaning supplies

image credit: Canva

If you are looking for more eco-friendly solutions to your cleaning regime, it is important to also think about the packaging and the waste we are producing.

If you already have a bottle container, check if refill options are available. Opting for refills instead of purchasing new products in bottled containers is an excellent way to reduce plastic waste. Refilling the contents allows you to extend the use of the bottle container and contributes to environmental protection.

Additionally, refills often come at a lower cost compared to bottled products, making them a more economical choice. To further reduce plastic consumption, consider investing in large-capacity refillable products.

More people are turning to reusable tools like microfiber cloths and bamboo brushes, aiming to minimize waste. Some brands now provide refillable cleaning stations, reducing the need for excessive packaging. Biodegradable sponges and chemical-free toilet cleaners are also increasingly common choices. Moreover, certain companies focus on zero-waste solutions, offering package-free detergent strips and refillable bottles. When shopping, seek out products with eco-friendly labels: environmentally friendly products often feature the Eco Mark or RSPO certification mark.

The Eco Mark signifies certification for products with a minimal environmental impact, designed to help preserve the environment. Look for products recognized as environmentally friendly throughout their entire life cycle, from production to disposal.

RSPO certification is granted to products using palm oil that meets the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) criteria. Concerns over the decline of tropical rainforests due to increased palm plantations have heightened in recent years. By selecting products with RSPO certification, you can contribute to rainforest preservation and support individuals employed in the oil milling industry.

Recommended Eco-Friendly Products and Brands You Can Find in Japan

Aroma Fresco is a Japanese brand that prides itself on offering a range of detergents, soaps, and creams meticulously crafted from safe, plant-derived ingredients. The company’s commitment to sustainability and well-being is evident in every product it creates. Designed and manufactured in Japan, Aroma Fresco’s mission is to promote a sustainable and fulfilling lifestyle for individuals and the planet alike. Grounded in the philosophy that even the smallest actions can have a profound impact, the brand dedicates itself to developing items that tap into the subtle yet transformative power of nature in daily routines. Aroma Fresco embraces the ethos of learning from nature and integrating its abundance into lives to elevate the overall quality of life.

Ecostore

Ecostore is a brand from New Zealand that has been gaining popularity abroad thanks to their focus on both customers’ well-being and environmental sustainability, by carefully selecting gentle plant and mineral-based ingredients that leave nasty chemicals out of your home.

Talking about environmental sustainability, Ecostore has been using 100% recyclable sugar plastic derived from sugarcane since 2014 in its containers, preventing 7,676 tonnes (and counting) of carbon from being released into the air.

Ecostore even provides refilling services in certain stores, so you can avoid using plastic containers altogether. Bring your own container, weigh it, and fill it with dish soap or laundry soap from Ecostore’s line of products. Find more about the refill stations here.

Shabondama Soap

Using a kettle-cooking process Shabondama soap is gentle on the skin while maintaining its moisturizing properties. Shabondama Sunol, their additive-free laundry soap, is formulated with pure soap and water. Endorsed by the Japan Atopic Disease Association, it is ideal for individuals with sensitive skin, including babies. Moreover, after use, it decomposes quickly, with the soap scum becoming nourishment for fish and microorganisms, making it environmentally friendly.

SARAYA

SARAYA‘s Yashinomi laundry detergent series embodies the ethos of being “kind to both people and the planet.” This detergent is formulated with skin-friendly and highly biodegradable cleaning agents derived from coconut, without adding unnecessary substances. With only a small amount of detergent, stains and odor-causing bacteria are effectively removed without leaving any residue on fibers: SARAYA’s analysis indicates that 99% of the cleaning agents are rinsed away in a single cycle.

Sustainable Solutions: Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products in Japan

brushes and eco bottles on a table

image credit: Canva

As the demand for eco-friendly cleaning products grows, selecting the right detergent can be challenging due to the wide array of options available. However, by focusing on ingredients, packaging, and eco-friendly certifications, consumers can make informed choices that benefit both their households and the planet. Brands like Aroma Fresco, Ecostore, Shabondama Sekken, and SARAYA offer excellent options crafted from safe, plant-derived ingredients and committed to sustainability. With these considerations in mind, individuals can contribute to a cleaner and greener future while maintaining a healthy home environment.

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The Essential Guide to Zero Waste Shopping in Japan

Featured image credit: Canva