Posted by Tim Stobbs on September 26, 2008
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?