How do you know if a product purporting to be “green” is true? Since there’s no standardized definition of the word “green” it follows that there’s no standardized definition of a green product. Wikipedia offers this defintion of Green Living:
It means living in a way that causes as less harm as possible to the Earth.
Green products purport to cause less harm to the environment than the other products. So, how can you choose a true green product? There are clues you can look for to determine if the claims an ad is making are sincere or if a company is purposely trying to mislead you into thinking a product is healthier, safer, or greener than it truly is.
Ways to Determine how Green your Green Product is:
Look at the words. Look for specific rather than general claims. The following words are essentially meaningless because they are too vague and/or there aren’t any standard definitions for them:
· Fragrance-free or unscented
· Free range
· Eco-friendly, environmentally preferable, or eco-safe
· Made from post-consumer recycled paper
· No additives
· No animal byproducts
· No parabens
What Else You Can Do
Visit Consumer Reports’ http://www.greenerchoices.org to find out which labels and terms you can trust. Look for proof of the “greenness.” Choose products with claims that can be verified or that have been certified by a third-party to meet certain standards. Some credible logos to look for include USDA Organic, Energy Star, and Green Seal. And good news, the FTC is expected to update its outdated regulations for green advertising claims soon.
Websites to Check for Specifics
These websites do the homework for you:
http://goodguide.com rates food, toys, personal care items, and household products based on environmental, social, and health attributes.
http://greenzer.com collects product and merchant info from across the Internet to create a score for each product it features on its site.
http://cosmeticsdatabase.com can help you find the safest and healthiest cosmetics and personal care products.
Personally, I’ve used the cosmetics database site often to help me find good skin care products and was impressed by the amount of information it offers.
Bottom-line is simply that like most consumer products profit is king and to make more money companies are jumping on the “go green” bandwagon. If you sense that a product is taking liberty and doesn’t have a clear label on the back you may want to do a little investigation to know that you’re making a good choice. Until standardized labeling is instituted, we’ll have to investigate green claims ourselves.