Green or Just Greenwashed?

More and more consumers are seeking ecologically friendly alternatives to everyday products and as a result manufacturers have responded with a plethora of “green” products.  But how valid are these green claims?

TerraChoice, an environmental consulting and marketing firm, outlines the “Seven Sins of Greenwashing”.   They define greenwashing as “ the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.”  Vague claims, zero proof and outright lying are rampant in the marketplace.  So how do we know if we’re really getting green?  A good place to start is to read TerraChoice’s  Greenwashing Report 2010.

You can also visit the following websites; these organizations certify truly green products:

Energy Star – If you are in the market for a new appliance, or even a new home, make sure it has Energy Star certification.

Forest Stewardship Council – “FSC is an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests.”

Greenguard Indoor Air Quality – If a product is Greenguard certified you know that it meets strict chemical emission limits for indoor environments.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) – The US Green Building Council created LEED, “…an internationally recognized green building certification system,  providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.”

Scientific Certification Systems – “Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) is a global leader in independent certification and verification of environmental, sustainability, stewardship, food quality, food safety and food purity claims.”

Cradle to Cradle (C2C) Certification –  While many companies try to minimize any negative environmental impact, using Cradle to Cradle design means that nothing is wasted.  Even after the product has lost its usefulness, C2C means the “technical nutrients can be recycled or reused with no loss of quality and biological nutrients composted or consumed.” (The Dictionary of Sustainable Management)

So with a little research you can easily find out if a product’s claims are true or if you’re being “greenwashed”.

Are there any products that you’ve come across that claim to be green but really aren’t?

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