Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How do you tell if a product is Eco-Friendly or Not?

In an article by Mary Macvean, titled “Clean and Green…Shopping Aisles transformed by variety of Earth-Friendly products” appeared in The Daily News On January 26, 2011 talks about how the grocery aisle of cleaning products is now offering better choices in cleaning products for the consumer. There is dizzying selection of these products and liquids that claim not only to clean but also healthy for people, pets and the planet. The most common eco-friendly brands that one may find in the market place would be Meyer, Method, Seventh Generation and Dr. Breuner. In the last two years there has been a real change in the large traditional brands such as Johnson and Johnson who are introducing greener versions of their products. But one wonders if they really are truly Earth-friendly are not.

An early complaint about one company called Earth-Friendly was that their products did not cause any harm but they really not effective either which means they did not clean very well. Products have now improved, but now consumers have to sort through the claims for non-toxic, green, planet-friendly and other attributes without clear definitions.

If you are really wondering if a product is really eco-friendly, one thing to do is check for the EPA’s Design for the Environment seal indicating the product has met the program’s sustainability requirements or criteria. This seal will include the product’s effect on human health. According to the article, in 2003 43 products qualified for the seal and now more than 2,000 products from 300 manufacturers qualify for this seal including store brands and traditional older manufacturers. Plus government and private efforts are underway to regulate product testing, ingredient disclosure and the ways companies communicate green marketing messages. In late 2010, the California Air Resources Board adopted a rule that will mean reformulations of about 2,000 consumer products to release volatile organic compounds or VOCs.

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