Whenever a big company formerly in the habit of peddling crap to the masses says they're going green, my greenwashing antennae pop right up.
And then Clorox, the bleach people, got into the fray by buying Burt's Bees, which had environmentalists in a cold fury for months, and by launching their own line of "green" products.
Now, we have seen this kind of thing before. For example, many Windex products have a Greenlist(TM) sticker on it, suggesting that all the ingredients are somehow environmentally friendly, but the prized list is actually describing their own internal rating sytem of all their ingredients, and it doesn't say which, if any, ingredients in the bottle you're buying have bad ratings. (Treehugger has a great review here.)
The thing is, unlike Method stuff, the Green Works products can be found on sale in big bins at my local A&P. I scanned the ingredients lists, and other than corn-based ethonol, it doesn't look half bad. And I think it works great. It beats my green Trader Joe's all-purpose cleaner hands down (Sorry, TJ!) and smells a lot nicer than plain old vinegar and water, my default all-purpose cleaner.
There is another question: By supporting a company that may have other practices I object to, like selling other cleaning products with bleach that can hurt us, is it wrong for me to buy other of their products? Or is any improvement a good thing? Shouldn't we applaud green initiatives that make an impact by their sheer volume (Green Works has an approximately $40 million market already)? According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Green Works hasn't cut into the market for other green products in the same category. Except for me, that is.
The Verdict: Undecided.