The Co-operative Group is the latest retailer to launch an environmentally friendly household range as the trend for eco-products gathers pace.
The seven-strong Co-operative Ecological brand, which hits shelves this week, includes laundry powder, fabric conditioner, all-purpose cleaner, washing up liquid, toilet cleaner, dishwasher tablets and laundry liquid. It will be promoted as part of an eco-awareness event running through Co-op stores over the next month.
The new lines, which meet EU eco-standards and are not tested on animals, follow a consultation with Co-op members last September, where it emerged that environmental protection should be considered a priority.
Rather than going down the plant-based route as other brands have, the range has instead been accredited by the EU Eco Flower scheme and will carry the logo.
"To meet these standards, the entire product lifecycle needs to be assessed," said a spokeswoman. "So rather than it simply being about the product content, it also considers other aspects from how it's manufactured and packaged to how it's disposed of."
The range will go head to head with specialist brands such as Ecover and Method as well as Unilever's double-concentrate Small & Mighty sub-brands for Persil and Surf. It follows similar launches by Sainsbury's, which introduced the Cleanhome eco-range in October, and Tesco with its Naturally sub-brand in 2006 and its Greener Living household range earlier this year. It is priced from £2.29 for the 1kg biological laundry powder to 99p for the all-purpose cleaner.
However, prices will be 25% lower for the first month, with the Co-op's long-life light bulbs and own-label Forest Stewardship Council-accredited paper also on offer in a bid to raise eco awareness.
The eco-event was the brainchild of a team involved in a staff challenge last year, based on the BBC2 series Dragons' Den, to pitch ideas to management. The winning team, a group of store managers from North Wales, presented the concept of running a nationwide eco-themed promotion across stores.