Making It Easy to Be Green By Lindsay Republished from 2013
When Karen Halo lost her breath she found her calling. Several years ago, Karen was renovating her home office. As most of us would have done, she went to the nearest big box store for paint, carpeting, sheetrock, and all the other supplies needed for the job. Within 24 hours she was in the Emergency Room, having suffered a severe asthma attack. “I’m sitting there hooked up to an inhaler and I’m just so angry. I’m angry that something I brought into my house had sent me to the hospital.” Not one to take things sitting down, that same night she began researching the largely unregulated composition of the products and materials we use in our homes and businesses on a regular basis. The results were chilling … and further motivating.
“That was my turning point,” Karen recalls. “I said, ‘I’m going to turn this thing around. I’m going to use every tool I have to make a difference.’” The charismatic, take-no-prisoners marketing whiz went back to school to become an indoor air quality specialist accredited by the US Green Building Council for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED AP). Drawing on her background in health care, real estate development, and banking, she began advising businesses and families on alternatives to the poisons coursing through their HVAC systems and coming into contact with their children. Nagged by curiosity about how to deconstruct the bad old stuff and recreate its useful properties with healthy new components, she started tinkering with old concoctions from college and consulting with a chemist. Before long, she launched a product line.
The Absolute Green brand of cleaning and personal care products has not just banished all harmful ingredients; it has also done away with the bland, rarefied image too often associated with eco-friendly products and practices. Green is beautiful and accessible in the hands of Karen Halo and company. From the light, natural scents of lemon, lavender, or peppermint that infuse Absolute Green’s multipurpose cleaners and air fresheners to the witty labels on the DEET-free insect repellants, everything about these products is so appealing it is an uncontested pleasure to make the switch. Karen even formulated an aromatherapy version of Absolute Green’s all-purpose cleaner for those who are still tied to equating a strong aroma with cleaning power. She developed this cleaner after a trip to a spa and wishing she could experience that “zen” in everyday life.
And they work—well enough to attract the attention of Whole Foods whom will soon be carrying the Absolute Green line in their stores. Among Karen’s current clients are cleaning companies and large corporations that “would rather pay twelve cents more for something than have people call in sick with asthma and sinusitis and allergic reactions.” The owner of a seafood market in Spokane, Washington orders Absolute Green air freshener by the case, claiming it the only thing that actually neutralizes the smell rather than colliding with it in a revolting aromatic convergence of fish and artificial flower. Vermonters braced for the painful, inevitable black fly invasion of summer have written to say that the Absolute Green insect repellant has made it possible for them to enjoy the outdoors again. On the home front, parents feel more confident about protecting the health of their children by using Absolute Green products throughout the house and nursery. “I’ve started giving my stuff as baby shower gifts,” says Karen. “Why give socks made in China when I can give them something that’s perfectly safe to spray on the crib.” There’s even a product made specifically “for when you’re at the gym and get that skeevy yoga mat.” We’ve gotten that mat; we get it. Thank you, Absolute Green!