Simple Green: An Environmental Passion
Caring for the planet in product and practice
April 18, 2019

At Simple Green, taking care of the planet is a hands-on commitment every day. This reaches back to our earliest beginnings as a company. The original motivation for creating the Simple Green formula in 1975, long before "environmentally friendly" products were on the market, was to find a way to safely clean surfaces without harming the person doing the cleaning, the surface itself, or the natural world where the rinse ends up.

Alongside his father, founder Bruce FaBrizio developed a safer alternative to the toxic cleaners originally designed to remove tannic acid (a byproduct of coffee roasting) from machinery. The father-son team spent three years tirelessly working to perfect the biodegradable, not-toxic, non-flammable and non-abrasive formula. Formulas were colored red, yellow, blue and green during testing.

The result was Simple Green, a promising new product which found early success as word spread quickly that it was amazingly effective and could be safely used on almost any surface. And while establishing a foothold as a safer cleaner for everyday use, Bruce set his sights on broader, more environmentally-impactful horizons.

Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner was one of the first products identified on the EPA National Contingency Plan for oil spill cleanup. The Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 spilled 10.8 million gallons of Prudhoe Bay crude oil into a remote body of water in Alaska, devastating a biologically productive area in the worst oil spill in U.S. history at the time. The U.S. Coast Guard was cleared to use Simple Green for the cleaning of ships and wildlife in Valdez Harbor affected by the massive spill. Several sea otters oiled by the spill were cleaned using Simple Green, and lived their full, healthy lifespans at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.

In 1990, Simple Green teamed up with the International Red Cross, a 156 year-old organization that had never endorsed a cleaner before. Bruce began the "Help the Red Cross Help Others" campaign to donate a percentage of sales to international relief cleanups all over the world. The Red Cross was shown on select Simple Green packaging for 5 years as we supported their disaster relief efforts in the USA.

Also in the early 1990s, Bruce initiated the Environmental Technology Division at Sunshine Makers headquarters in Southern California, setting out to help define the cutting edge technology of cleaning solutions and high standards for environmental responsibility. Throughout the late '80s and early '90s, the safety and efficacy claims of Simple Green were extensively researched, challenged and verified.

During this formative time period, Bruce headed to Washington DC to try to get a Truth in Environmental Labeling bill passed, which would compel manufacturers and marketers to be transparent about their environmental qualities. He spearheaded a coalition of like-minded companies to address the lack of science behind marketing claims.

"I said look, it's not ok to show dolphins and flowers and streams on the front of your bottle, then when you turn it around, on the back it says 'harmful or fatal if swallowed,'" explained Mr. FaBrizio. "I don't care if you sell bleach, but don't try to sell me bleach with a kid's face on it and say it's ok. Because more calls go to poison control centers and kids to emergency rooms from ingesting and inhaling bleach than from any other household chemical out there."

After a two year battle to ratify the Truth in Envrironmental Labeling bill, an oil recycling rider was added to the bill which nobody could agree on, and the effort came to an end. But rather than give up, FaBrizio continued to lead by example.

As Simple Green continued to thrive and lead the charge in environmentally conscious cleaning products, Bruce simultaneously realized the need for a longer-term positive impact on the world around us.

Having launched the non-profit EGBAR Foundation in 1989, Bruce put focused effort on the youth of America to promote the principle of environmental conservationism. EGBAR is an acronym for "Everything's Gonna Be All Right," and the foundation's focus was to educate and ultimately mobilize young people to be environmental caretakers.

EGBAR also kicked off the Adopt a Beach program, beginning in our backyard of Huntington Beach, CA. In 1993, locals began to see EGBAR and Simple Green on all the lifeguard towers along miles of beautiful coastline, plus:

"We had community cleanups during Earth Week for the next ten years," explained Fabrizio. "Soon enough that became a statewide program sponsored by the State of California, which then became Coastal Cleanup day."

"The EGBAR Foundation also sponsored Ian Kiernan of Australia, who wanted to start Clean Up Australia Day in 1991," Bruce continued. "We sent $50,000 for him to organize, promote and get people all over Australia to do a cleanup project. His focus was on Sydney Harbor, and they literally pulled out tons of garbage from the Harbor in one weekend. By 1993 that event grew to Clean Up The World Day, and millions of people in 80 countries around the world participated in community cleanup projects. Ian received the Medal of the Order of Australia in '91, was named Australian of the Year in '94, and appointed Officer of the Order of Australia in '95."

The EGBAR Foundation is committed to:

  • Creating greater awareness of community environmental cleanup needs and what can be done to meet them.
  • Educating youth about the important role they have in protecting the environment.
  • Providing necessary funding and support for communities to educate youth and solve environmental problems.
  • Focused efforts on building a positive outlook, a caring attitude and commitment to action that becomes inspirational to others.

The Foundation has continually expanded its outreach in support of those trying to make a positive impact on their communities. With the financial and volunteer support of Simple Green, various corporate sponsors and generous donations from people all over the world, the EGBAR Foundation is making a difference through educational outreach and by following a favorite motto to, "Think globally, act locally."

Simple Green's contributions to the Los Angeles Conservation Corps (LACC), the largest non-profit youth corps in the United States, helped establish the SEA Lab in Redondo Beach, CA. Offering free and low-cost educational programs about marine wildlife and hands-on activities to more than 30,000 visitors every year, the Sea Lab helps visitors understand how improper waste disposal harms the environment, and how to be environmentally responsible through proper recycling and conservation.

College students trained by the LACC lead tours and activities which include a sea-life touch-tank, hands-on classroom lessons and community service projects. In 2005, a unique submarine themed kiosk named the USS EGBAR was launched as an interactive educational program built and funded by Simple Green and the EGBAR Foundation.

These ongoing efforts are just a few ways Simple Green and the EGBAR Foundation are making a significant difference in raising awareness and involvement in critically important environmental efforts.

Continuing our commitment to environmentally safer products, Simple Green's All-Purpose Cleaners and new line of Oxy Solve Pressure Washer Cleaners are U.S. EPA Safer Choice products. These products not only have to meet stringent safety and environmental guidelines, they are also independently evaluated to meet tough product quality and performance standards.

Simple Green's environmentally-focused commitment to Safer Choice guidelines earned the distinction of the Safer Choice Partner of the Year award in 2018. This award recognizes the leadership contributions of partners and stakeholders who have shown outstanding achievement in the design, manufacturing, promotion, and use of Safer Choice-certified products over the past year.

"For more than 40 years Simple Green has stayed true to its founding mission - to provide high quality, environmentally safer cleaning products. And we will never waiver from it," explains Simple Green founder and CEO Bruce FaBrizio. "We're proud that our All-Purpose Cleaner is an EPA Safer Choice product and that Simple Green has been selected as an EPA Safer Choice Partner of the Year. It's proof that this company can be trusted at its word."

According to the EPA, about 50% of endangered or threatened animal species in the U.S. depend on a wetland for survival. Devastatingly, over half of these ecosystems are reported to be in poor condition. Simple Green and The EGBAR Foundation headquarters are located at the site of Southern California wetlands, and the Foundation has been actively involved with the Bolsa Chica Conservancy in Huntington Beach, California. The Foundation has worked to help preserve and restore the space for many years, as well as funding education initiatives to inform students of the importance of this fragile ecosystem. Simple Green volunteers continue to aid the Conservancy in its efforts to remove trash from the marsh and dune habitats, remove invasive non-native plants and replant native species to increase the viability, health, and diversity of these increasingly rare coastal habitats.

Schools often find difficulty in securing the resources needed to bring students to the wetlands. The Windows to Our Wetlands (WOW) program, funded by The EGBAR Foundation, is a traveling education program that reaches classrooms of students typically unable to see native coastal habitats up-close or understand their great importance to the health of our planet. WOW offers hands-on, science-based learning stations and activities that make the stufy fun, interactive and memorable. In over 28 years, the Conservancy has served close to 600,000 students, volunteers, visitors and community members from over 48 countries and 42 states through its STEM-based education and public awareness programs.

The Bolsa Chica Conservancy recognized Bruce FaBrizio and his generous philanthropy with their Conservator of the Year Award in 2018.

"The Conservator of the Year Award is a great opportunity to recognize exceptional leaders who reach beyond themselves to support conservation work in protecting our wildlife, water resources and wetlands," said Grace Adams, Bolsa Chica Conservancy Executive Director.

The Bolsa Chica Conservancy holds regularly scheduled service days monthly.

Taking care of the planet literally starts in our own backyard. Each year, Simple Green team members remove litter and debris along the coastline of one of the last Southern California wetlands, situated just behind SG headquarters in Huntington Beach, California.

In addition to a rich history of providing families and businesses with orally non-toxic, biodegradable cleaners, we're proud of our legacy of hands-on community efforts to help make the world a cleaner, safer place for future generations.

Learn more about our commitment to environmentally-safer products.

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