The Green Spot: Green Products

Alright one aspect of everyone trying to live a bit better with respect to the environment is a huge surge in ‘green’ products.  I see the world green put on cleaners, paper towel, dishwasher detergent and even reusable bags.  Which is good to have a choice, but I do have a problem.

The issue I have with this surge is the lack of transparency on backing up the claims on the products.  What exactly makes a cleaner ‘green’ or not?  What does ‘all natural’ really mean?  After all uranium ore is ‘all natural’ and I would hardly call that safe for use in the home or good for the environment.  Green has turned into a marketing game with little rules to help to determine what really is useful or not.

So in a maze of products how do you tell what is good or not?  Well here are a few of my rules of thumb.

  1. Recycled Content – If a paper towel is 80% recycle fibers it is likely a good choice.  Using less raw materials in anything is typically a good idea.
  2. Use Less Energy – Energy Star is a good starting point to compare energy use between products, but also consider what features you need on the product.  If you can get away with less things on a stove you can often find a base model that uses less energy.
  3. Use the Ecologo – One actually useful logo to look for on products is the Ecologo which was started in 1988 well before green become in fashion.  For a list of products see here.
  4. No Claims – If a product has ‘green’ in the label but makes not claims on why you best put it back and find something else.
  5. Avoid Once Use Items – An unbleached coffee filter is a good idea, a better one is to buy a reusable filter and skip the once use item all together.

So that’s my short list of ideas.  What do you use to help determine what is useful or not?

4 thoughts on “The Green Spot: Green Products”

  1. i avoid items with elaborate packaging, especially plastic.

    Single use items or portable, “on-the-go” products, i also skip.

  2. there’s definitely lots of greenwashing going on. buying local is one of the best green things one can do. and of course, don’t buy something that is available for free with patience 🙂

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