Dan Kilgore clearly remembers the day he decided to develop a line of "environmentally kind" cleaning products.

"My theaters were complaining that some of the products we were sending out were too harsh," Kilgore said of his 5-year-old commercial theater cleaning business.So Kilgore enlisted the help of a chemist to develop cleaning products and detergents free of petroleum, animal byproducts, phosphates and chlorine.

"I didn't think I could do it because everyone told me it wasn't possible," Kilgore said in a recent interview. "We just knew there would be a market for products that were environmentally safe."

A year in the making, Kilgore recently introduced Gentle Earth, a line of household products that includes cleaners, soaps, detergent, cotton mesh shopping bags and recycled paper products. Kilgore claims the products biodegrade in three days, unlike caustic commercial cleansers.

Gentle Earth products are packaged in containers manufactured of recycled materials, and users are encouraged to recycle the empty containers so as not to break the recycling cycle.

The products are sold at Gentle Earth's retail store at 2400 E. 6600 South in South Ogden or by product distributors.

"When I first started this, it was strictly for money. Now the money has become secondary," said Kilgore.

The father of five children, Kilgore said that before developing Gentle Earth, he wasn't aware of the waste disposal crisis facing our nation. Landfill space is limited and products buried 40 years ago have not yet degraded.

Although he is primarily interested in selling products, the distributorships also serve an educational purpose. "We teach people how their purchases affect the environment," he said.

Distributors also are provided mini-recycling centers. "If we're going to recycle, we've got to be willing to buy products made out of recycled products," he said.

The company also is working on a cloth diaper to help ease the flow of disposable diapers into the nation's landfills. Disposable diapers take literally hundreds of years to break down.