One web site in particular, called Green Home Guide has gone so far as to develop a checklist for consumers to make sure their products are environmentally friendly. But I have yet to see anyone in the cleaning aisle of the supermarket reading off whether or not glass cleaner has a clearly stated environmental policy printed on its bottle.
Researching “green products” isn’t a difficult task, either. Here’s a fun fact: more than 149,000,000 Web sites pop up from a Google search displaying companies, web sites, and products that claim to have the advantage over their competitors. The market is becoming too saturated not only with “green” products but also the assumption that if something isn’t referred to as eco-friendly by the company itself then it’s no good.
It appears many companies are getting caught up in the ideology of a “green” society. Some have simply slapped an “eco-friendly” label on their products just for the sake of keeping up with this specific market.
NPR coined the term “greenwashed” to describe what environmentally friendly means in today’s consumer-driven society. Many products that claim to be “all natural” or “organic” show no signs of certification.
At the same time, people continue to buy products, such as food and household commodities, just for the fact that it’s advertised as environmentally friendly. A 2009 National Green Buying Research survey shows that one in 10 people are liable to trust a product is “green” from the label itself. The practice of blindly accepting certain labels that may not be registered trademarks of eco-friendly products poses a threat to these companies. Once they start falsifying claims, consumers may start reading labels more carefully and simply walk away from the brand all together.
There are establishments that manage to stick by their promise and do a great job of waste reduction. A soon-to-be coffee chain in Denver, Colorado, Evobean Coffee, LLC, emphasizes its plans for a small carbon footprint production. The company believes in a fair trade market and uses a distinct process of heating the coffee beans for roasting. It also uses a specific irrigation technique that conserves water. Everything about the company (from the self-sustaining energy powered stores to the recycled materials used to create the coffee huts) seems admirable in paving the way for “green” companies.
There’s no harm done if you’ve already made the jump to use products that are geared toward waste management and energy conservation, but keep in mind that some of these products have no harmful chemicals and are safe to use at all times.