When it comes to being an eco-friendly traveler, of course RVers are going to contemplate their source of power, cleaning up their campsite and recycling whatever they can while on the road.
But just as green household cleaning products have become popular – 72% of respondents in an Accenture study said they are actively buying more environmentally friendly products than they did five years ago – sustainable RV cleaning products are also catching on.
The RV by Life brand features a product that is environmentally safe – Suds – a popular product, and the company has also produced others for the marine side of its business for years.
“We know the land environment is also important, so we thought it was a good fit for our line,” says Maike Kowal, Life Industries Corp. marketing director.
Suds was reformulated about five years ago, Kowal says, and the concentrated cleaner is even more eco-friendly now than it was in the past. The North Charleston, South Carolina-based company mostly sells directly to distributors, but they’ve heard from consumers at various shows across the United States that they’re looking for environmentally friendly products.
“The older generation – some people they hear ‘green’ and they think it doesn’t work as well,” Kowal says, “the younger generation is more accepting.”
Information about Suds on the company’s website says it is an “environmentally safe, nonphosphate, biodegradable formula. Cleans without removing LifeWax from fiberglass. Perfect for general washing of RV. Safe on painted surfaces. Pleasant fragrance.”
Kowal says RV by Life has recently started marketing the cleaner heavily and sending out samples to debunk the myth that since it’s a “green” product, it won’t work as well.
She explains that because the formula is made with a limited foaming agent, it does not create a large amount of bubbles the way most people expect cleaners to produce bubbles.
Kowal points out that it’s not the bubbles that make the surface clean – so the lack of bubbles does not change its cleaning ability.
“It’s getting more and more popular to create these green products,” Kowal says.
She adds that Suds is sold as a concentrate, so users can add water to the product and use as much or as little water to make the cleaner as potent as you need.
RV by Life once had three other green products – a carpet cleaner, a black streak remover and a hull cleaner – that it discontinued years ago because at the time, many people wouldn’t buy it because they thought it wouldn’t work as well or it would be more expensive, Kowal says. Now she believes that’s changing directions and the company may consider bringing those products back.
To keep themselves informed, RV by Life keeps an eye on reports from organizations such as the U.S. Department of Commerce, which Kowal says has a report on federal regulations on which they try to stay up to date.
California’s Proposition 65 is one the company must abide by and sets many of its standards. Prop 65 was approved in 1986 by California voters and requires businesses to provide warnings to state residents about chemicals that could cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, according to the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.
The proposition also prohibits businesses in the state from knowingly discharging significant amounts of the harmful chemicals on the Prop 65 list to drinking water sources. (For a list of the chemicals, visit oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65.)
There’s a lot to do in the industry, Kowal says, to teach distributors, dealers and consumers about the efficacy of green products.
“I think the industry needs to forward the message that green doesn’t necessarily mean a worse product or a bad product,” she says. “Not just the distributors telling the dealers but on to the end consumer.”