When determining what products would make the most sense for your facilities budget, task at hand and now sustainability initiatives, let’s clarify a few things…
Logically then Bio-Logically.
American consumers face a renewed outpouring of environmental marketing claims – boasted by companies that their products are everything from “100% Natural” to “Recyclable,” “Eco-Friendly,” “Sustainable,” “Biodegradable,” or just plain, “green.” Along with these claims has come a new wave of environmental seals and certifications aimed at helping consumers sort the real from the hype. There are more than 400 green certification systems and eco-friendly labels in a variety of industries, making it difficult to determine which company is “green” and which company is “greenwashing” – deceptive promotion of a company as environmentally friendly.
First and foremost there is some confusion as to what constitutes a “Green” product. It seems as though a new “Green” endorsement seal pops up every couple of weeks. We now have the likes of: Green Seal, Design for the Environment, True Green, Green Clean, Ecologo, Organic, Better 4 Environment, and even Good Houskeeping joined the fray with the Good Houskeeping Green Seal. Why? Because selling the rights to display a “Green” product seal is very lucrative. Most of these companies are charging upfront testing/evaluation fees, ongoing use fees and in some cases a percentage based on total product sales. Other “Green Seals ” have been developed by industry groups with a vested interest in boosting their sales. In some product categories, there are even competing green standards put forward by different organizations. Unfortunately, the criteria used to determine what constitutes “Green” is vague at best and the general public has often been duped into thinking a product that displays a “Green” seal is more environmental than one that does not.
What these seals fail to inform the general public is that although the chemical companies that display the seal paid dearly for it, the products they are promoting as “Green” still contain harsh chemicals that are not only harmful to humans and plants, they are not really good for the environment either. In order to fully understand the process of what is environmentally friendly, you first have to understand the chemical table of elements, which most of us don’t. To put it in layman’s terms, if there are two chemicals you pick the lesser of the two evils to put into your product, that is technically considered being environmentally friendly because one of them is less toxic to the environment than the other and after the money is paid, you can display the “Green Seal” on all of your products and marketing materials. In other words, don’t base your purchasing decisions on some “Green” dot unless you know what that “Green” dot really means.
This isn’t America’s first flood of environmental marketing. In the 1980s, companies were making so many misleading and confusing environmental claims that the Federal Trade Commission drafted a set of green marketing guidelines that were released in 1992 and updated in 2011 due to changes in the marketplace in response to a surge of unfair deceptive environmental marketing claims. The FTC states that very few products, if any have all the attributes consumers seem to perceive from such claims. Also, proposed under the new guidelines are specific requirements that will virtually eliminate all of the “Green Seals” currently being displayed on products touting environmental benefits. The FTC does not set environmental standards or policy, but rather protects consumers from unfair or deceptive practices.
This brings us to the second relative point. Currently, there are very limited policies, procedures, or testing standards in place to evaluate and certify bio-products. Due to the lack of resources, any bio-product certification procedures currently available are VERY expensive, favoring only the largest of product manufacturers, thus making it virtually impossible for smaller environmental service companies like BioLogix to qualify for any seal. Most of the “Green Seal” products tested are petroleum based and there is no data and or qualified personnel available to compare bio-based and petroleum based products. According to government sources, obtaining any type of “Green Seal” at this point, would not be advisable until the determination is made as to what if any environmental seal will be endorsed by them.
What are Bio-Based Products?
“A product determined by the Secretary to be a commercial or industrial product (other than food or feed) that is composed, in whole or in significant part, of biological products or renewable domestic agricultural materials (including plant, animal, and marine materials) or forage materials”Definition used for Federal Bio-Based Product Preferred Provider Program
USDA unveils new green, bio-based product label
- Reduces our dependence on imported oil.
- Reduces the need to drill for oil in our environmentally sensitive areas.
- Provides a stable market for our farmers.
- Avoids many of the health and environmental consequences of using fossil fuels
- Products may be healthier and safer for the user and the environment.