Green (i.e. environmentally friendly) products are no longer on the fringes of consumer options. Theyâ€™re mainstream. In fact, â€œbeing greenâ€ has turned into such a marketing plus that companies are using green language to promote products that arenâ€™t at all environmentally sound. As a result, consumer groups and government bodies are working to combat fraudulent greenness.
How can you tell if your â€œgreenâ€ product isnâ€™t green at all? You can begin by being aware of the six sins of greenwashing (how long before greenwashing makes the dictionaries?). Those sins are pretty obvious when you think about them. They all deal with either deceptive claims or hidden tradeoffs/consequences.
For example, terms like â€œnon-toxic,â€ â€œall-naturalâ€ and â€œchemical-freeâ€ are meaningless without clarification. Everything is natural. Also, in many product categories â€œgoing greenâ€ is of little or marginal benefit. Organic cigarettes donâ€™t really pollute the air any less than regular ones and green lawn-care chemicals are still bad for the environment.
For those who want to make environmentally sound consumer decisions, understanding what is and what really isnâ€™t beneficial is of great importance. Green consumers should take the time to make sure they really understand the products theyâ€™re buying.