Feeling Skeptical about “Green” Products?

Companies, organizations and individuals across the globe are celebrating Earth Day on April 22 by discussing “green” initiatives and, perhaps, boasting about their own eco-friendly accomplishments. But with the proliferation of green products and promises, how can you determine whether your environmental choices actually make a difference?

To find the line between greenwashing and environmental victory, Wake Forest University Sustainability Director Dedee DeLongpré Johnston advised, “If something sounds too good to be true, it likely is.”

That means even products touted as organic or eco-smart might not be as Earth-friendly as they seem. Before purchasing that product, consider the following:

  • Where was the product made, with what materials, and under what conditions?
  • How much water and energy was used during production, and how much waste was generated?
  • Is the manufacturer committed to safe labor conditions?
  • Is the product durable or does it require many replacement components?
  • Can the product be recycled?
  • Is the product truly necessary in the first place?

Not all environmental initiatives represent greenwashing – but by being informed, you can help ensure your efforts truly make a difference.

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