All Natural. Organic. Eco-friendly. Green. Farm Fresh. These are the sexy buzzwords that draw us in to products that unscrupulously exploit our desire to go green. The FDA doesn’t regulate these terms, and they are often nothing more than just words. “Green” products contain the color green on the packaging. “Farm fresh” covers essentially any meat or dairy product. “Natural” is more of a sentiment than a descriptor. And just to give you a sense of the word “organic”, Dichloromethane is an organic compound and is toxic. I definitely wouldn’t want that in my salad. So then, how should caring consumers discern the environmentally-sound eggs from the chemical-ridden cosmetics?

Comic from SlideShare.

After reading up on greenwashing, I have come to the conclusion that it is nearly impossible to pick the right product. You can’t tell a product’s constituents from a quick glance at the packaging, and you cannot deduce the company’s environmental efforts from the ingredient list. There’s no way to do a full background check on everything you buy. Ultimately you should purchase the items that you feel are environmentally sound, whether that means they are locally made, worth the cost on the label, or are from a brand name you trust. It seems backwards to just go with your gut on something as prevalent as environmental consciousness, but it is a solution that works.

Greenwashing: “When a company or organization spends more time and money claiming to be green through advertising and marketing than actually implementing business practices that minimize environmental impact” –Greenwashing Index

Links: Greenwashing in Cosmetics Industry, How to avoid being greenwashed

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