Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What's in a label?

Eco-friendly shopping for your family is very difficult these days. Labels read "all natural," "organic," "free-range," "fair trade," "healthy choice," "low VOC"...what do all these labels mean? Then once you have made your choice, what kind of "carbon footprint" are you leaving?

There are a number of organizations and groups that have created definitions for eco-lingo, but even so, what guarantees that the food you are buying is truly grown with the highest standards, and how do you know that you are getting something for the extra money you are paying? On top of it, do bamboo environmentally friendly sheets really make sense if they travel all the way from China to get to your door? How do we make sense of all these labels?

As we move toward a greener world, we are going to be more effective if we get on the same page. One area that government could be incredibly helpful...yes, I said helpful...is if they could establish clear standards for eco-friendly labels so that the terms are clear and consumers understand what they are getting. Some states have taken a crack at this--California for instance, but wouldn't it be great to have some kind of consistency? Is there more than just the feel good experience we get from buying eco-friendly? Is it actually better?

Check out this website link...it does a fairly good job of tackling the labels: http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/homestyle/04/18/speak.green/index.html
Let us know of other links that you find helpful on the green labeling as well as your thoughts on how you shop.