It seems to be the trend that the general public views Green as a good thing and the advertising community is taking advantage of it. At first it was mostly companies that were already moving that direction. It then moved to the companies that didn’t need to make much of a change to add “green” to their repertoire. Now everyone and their mother is jumping on the green bandwagon.
A lot of people would say this is good for the environment, but I think that most of these last companies to the table are just looking around to see what sells. Everyone tends to think this is a good thing. "They’re going green, that means it’s good for the environment." Not necessarily. Right now there are no general standards for Green products. Here are some of the claims that I hear from products:
- Green – What does this mean? This claim is usually supported by non-specific claims of being good for the environment or the Earth. Sometimes companies won’t even change the product and make the packaging Green. Yay ambiguity.
- Environmentally Friendly – What environment? Your bathroom, a volcano, toxic waste dumps, the Moon? And friendly is a good word too. Does it sit down and have a chat with the environment? Too ambiguous to mean anything. I am personally Lisa friendly.
- Organic – Aaaaaaugh! This is easily the most annoying statement. It doesn’t convey any real meaning. I guess the idea is that if it is organic, it must be good for you. Organic means something that is created by living things. Aconite, Arsenic, Cyanide and Atropine are all organic compounds. So, go and get you some!
- Recyclable – Raw elements are 100% recyclable because they do not break down. This would include aluminum, iron, copper, lead, gold, silver and other elements. Anything more complex like paper, plastic, wood and similar organic products will eventually break down into unrecyclable messes that are not environmentally friendly.
- Biodegradable – Now this is something that is at least measurable and somewhat specific. This means that if left to itself for a relatively short period of time it will break down into resources that can be used by plants or animals. Rotten produce is a good example of this.
- Reused Materials – Another somewhat specific claim. This means the product was made from materials that were not originally this product.
So what to do? I wasn’t sure either. I have a mild desire to purchase products that will be less likely to damage the natural environments of the earth, but if that is the reason I’m buying a product it had better be what it claims. The same goes for you, if you want to buy something because you want or need it. Go ahead. If you’re buying it just because it says green, double check to see if that label actually means something. If it doesn’t, don’t buy it. That’ll teach them.