With environmental concerns on nearly everyone’s personal radar, more and more of us are purchasing items marked as eco-friendly, sustainable, nature-loving, organic and the like. When a company claims a product is green, often the public believes them. Greenwashing – falsely claiming or implying that a product or service is environmentally friendly – has become common practice even if not intentional by manufacturers, brands and retailers.
Greenwashing can be as blatant as using a picture of wild flowers on the label of a dangerous synthetic chemical – subconsciously making the consumer think that it is natural – it can also be innocuous. Even the consumer who knows what materials to look for can be misled. For example, someone who chooses a bamboo table knowing that bamboo is sustainable. It’s what happens before the table makes it to the store that is the concern – that bamboo may have been sourced illegally from a old growth rain forest that was cut down to farm the bamboo.
TerraChoice, a labeling outfit in Canada, says that as many as 98% of products labeled green by the manufacturer are mislabeled. That statistic doesn’t inspire confidence. And the haphazard labeling has created a truckload of skepticism and confusion for the consumer.
Unfortunately, in the world of green products where there are no universal standards, it is still the Wild West - most anything goes. So how do we know if a product is truly environmentally preferable? Determining where a product falls in the range of environmental positives or negatives is the trick to identifying a true green product from a greenwashed one.
Yes, you could do your own research or stay tuned to my blog and gradually find out what products to trust. But a short cut is to shop at stores that have a green mission and have done the research for you stocking the products that fit their definition of green:
Moss Envy – in Minneapolis near Lake Calhoun featuring green products for your home and life. My favorite green picks for fall are: recycled content green tote bags and purses, colorful Lifefactory glass water bottle with silcone sleeve, Solio hybrid solar charger, Ecovoltaic solar juice bag/briefcase, Rainshow’r Crystal Ball bathwater dechlorinator, and the IonatorHom chemical-free spray cleaner appliance. They also have natural latex and wool mattresses for adults and kids.
The Wedge Coop – in South Minneapolis has an enormous collection of the safest and most eco-friendly personal care products and a well-trained staff to help you find the best product at the best price. Some of their more affordable and accessible personal care items are: Alaffia shampoo and conditioner, Everyday Shea moisturizing lotion, Weleda face care, Weleda baby all-in-one body wash and shampoo, Tom’s of Maine clean and gentle toothpaste with fluoride.
Peapods Natural Toys and Baby Care – in St. Paul feature safe and green toys, baby gear and accessories. Peapods was green before green was cool. They are the go to experts for help and instruction with none plastic diaper alternatives. A few of my favorite green products: Laptop lunches Bento Box 2.0 for a waste free lunch for the kiddos, recycled plastic recycling truck by Green Toys, a lifesize child measuring stick from Wood from the Hood, and SoftBum drawstring re-useable and growable diaper.
Design Within Reach – in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis for sustainable furniture and home goods. Some of their green goods: Loll Adirondack chair made locally in Duluth and Brazo task lamp the body is 97% recylcleable and the LED is very energy efficient.