IKW-Guidance on Sustainability Criteria for Detergents, Cleaning and Maintenance Products in Private Households

The German Cosmetic, Toiletry, Perfumery and Detergent Association (IKW), Home Care Department

The members of The German Cosmetic, Toiletry, Perfumery and Detergent Association (IKW) have long been committed to sustainability under the umbrella of the association. This commitment has already led to a series of declared initiatives, such as the dialogue platform FORUM WASCHEN [1], the IKW report on sustainability in the detergents, maintenance and cleaning products industry [2] as well as voluntary initiatives.

The constant further development of initiatives and products in accordance with the concept of sustainability secures the sustainability of the detergents, maintenance and cleaning products industry in a constantly changing world.

Sustainability means the balanced linking of economic and social aspects with ecological aspects to meet today’s needs while at the same time preserving all possibilities for future generations [3].

Nonetheless, manufacturers of detergents, maintenance and cleaning products (home care products) frequently find themselves drawn into goal conflicts. For example, efforts to compact products more and more lead to the handling of such concentrated products posing a higher health risk in comparison with less concentrated products.

The social benefit of the home care products with regard to hygiene and value-preserving aspects is undisputed. The products make a considerable contribution to present-day living and health standards, for example by prolonging the lifetimes of textiles, dishes, floors and other household items. In principle, targeted communication with consumers is necessary so that they can also use the products sustainably.

This guidance was prepared in the IKW by a working group of experts from manufacturers of home care products.

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