Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Theme Thursday: Green

Are you eco-centric or eco-chic? When I was visiting my dad’s nursery in Florida, one of the trade journals in his office had a short article about how committed customers really are to green living. A market research firm found that among shoppers claiming eco-friendly beliefs, there are two very distinct segments:

1) Eco-Centrics who are willing to change their behavior and demonstrate a commitment to using environmentally friendly products, and

2) Eco-Chic consumers, who are more interested in trends, and failing to follow through with their purchases.

I do wonder if they took into account the fact that eco-friendly products are often more expensive than those that aren’t.  For example, I would have liked to buy an organic mattress and even researched it, but in the end decided not to purchase one (no doubt, opting for formaldehyde!). Eco-Centrics tend to be higher income, educated and urban.

There’s also the issue of time contraints and ability to find “green” products, but I find that this is becoming less a problem. Even in grocery stores, it’s easy now to find recycled paper napkins and paper towels at prices that are becoming more affordable. That seems like a no-brainer.

But what about products that are jumping on the “green” bandwagon and labeling themselves as such when  there is really very little about them that contributes to a green environment? Have you come across any of these? I admit that I’m attracted to the eco-packaging, and don't always take the time to research what I'm buying. 

It’s always good to research your purchases, but even better to avoid making them in the first place. When you do need to buy, here are some places to start:

Goodguide - ratings of natural, green and healthy products


Skindeep - cosmetics safety reviews and database


Climate Counts - vote for responsible companies with your dollars


Caring Consumer - find cruelty-free companies and products

And here's another question for you:  Is one member of your household more eco-centric than others?  How do you reconcile that when making purchases?

Check out the Theme Thursday Blog and join us next Thursday!

23 comments:

Talon said...

So true that "green" packaging is really eye-catching. I was looking at some products the other day - skin care - and it turned out that the "green packaging" was about all that was green about the product. You are so right - you really have to do a little research to know how things are processed in order to know if it's an actual green product or not.

We recently purchased new armchairs and I was thrilled that they were manufactured in a green fashion - organic cottons, non off-gassing shellac, etc. And they weren't any more expensive than the usual. That was a nice surprise.

The whole green bandwagon reminds me of when food manufacturers started labelling things trans fat free and most of the products didn't have trans fat to start with.

The term Eco-Centric is too close to Ego-Centric for my liking, but I'm definitely not an Eco-Chic consumer so I must be Eco-Centric after all because I have no problem adjusting to environmentally friendly products and I'm glad that many of them are becoming less expensive and more widely available. It is sad when you want to purchase a green product - like your mattress - and you simply can't afford that option.

I guess my hubby and I are Ego-Centrics - lol. I don't know any Eco-Chic types, though.

Thanks for the site info, JGH. Those will be really handy.

Kris said...

Green is restful to the eye. Studies have showns that a green environment can reduce fatigue.

Ronda Laveen said...

I am more apt to shop green than my husband but I do most of the purchasing so it works. You are right about the cost being a deterent on many larger items.

subby said...

Working as I do in a grocery, I haven't seen a reduction in cost betwix "organic" and "non-organic" foods; more the former is usually double in price and most of it is never sold ere it goes out of code...and then it just ends up in the landfill ( in all it's polystyrene-packaging )...

tina said...

Good points. We are definitely ego centric when it comes to recycling. We don't jump on trends and have changed our behavior (forced to many years ago) in order to recycle. Now if I could just ingrain those behaviors in my teenaged son...He might be ego chic.

AshKuku said...

It is like u say green & every one would just say green, even without knowing what it is all about.... I just saw a polythene cover yesterday, where the guy packed all the purchases.... It said GREEN & eco friendly... I still do not understand... Though green, it is still POLYTHENE..... What is so green about it???? I fail to understand.....

Ash....
(http://asha-oceanichope.blogspot.com/)

Joanne said...

I'm aware of the growing green consciousness, and will look at green items, but I'm such a basic shopper and generally my old shopping habits stick. Though we do make efforts not to waste in many ways, including cautious driving habits to pollute less and conserve fuel.

Squirrel of Nyack said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Squirrel of Nyack said...

We are often taken in by expensive creams and "natural" cosmetics and perfumes -- to harvest plants and trees like mahogany and sandalwood and others --(their oils are used in cosmetics and perfumes) many acres of rain forest are destroyed. So when you see an "all natural" product, what had to be destroyed to harvest those ingredients?

The only answer is to use a lot less, shop carefully--don't be taken in & look at what nature has to offer locally.

Leah said...

This is a great post! Thank you so much for the links.

I think that, actually, my husband is possibly the most eco-thoughtful person I know, much more so than I am, but he is very quiet about it. I aspire to that.

tut-tut said...

Good links; I also took a similar tack on Green today.

Nanc Twop said...

Had to laugh at your Dog Light pic - we've got those in a store around here too, for $30!

midwestgreen said...

Eco-centric - - as I wait for our solar panels to be installed. I am the more eco-centric but DH is learning how to read labels and stands behind my choices 100%

We really have changed our habitual shopping habits over the last couple of years from weighing cost most heavily to weighing sustainability the most heaviliy. It means we buy less, I think.
(who also needs a new bed...it will be an eco-centric's challenge)

Poetikat said...

For me, it's got nothing to do with trends; it has everything to do with health, safety and giving back to the environment. I buy organic as much as I can (and local, when it's available), I use enviro-friendly products and make my own cleaners and I reduce, reuse and recycle.
I try to buy my cosmetics and beauty products from health food stores. Don't put anything with parabens or Sodium Laureth Sulfate on myself unless it's unavoidable.
I also buy 90% of my clothing and household goods at thrift stores and yard sales (with the exception of some larger furniture).

Great article! I'll be back.

Kat

P.S. Thanks for your comments on my poem. I hope you'll visit again.

Betsy said...

I wouldn't mind having that neat package of eco tools!

California Girl said...

I like your research. I'm on a Green Team in our town and our mission is to educate and facilitate green practices in business and home life. Sounds like a tall order and it is. I'm always looking for new ideas for our newsletter and blog.

Pam at HMG said...

Recent article in the NYT's reports (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/18/science/earth/18family.html) an increase in marital disputes over "green" issues. I can see how that would create a schism. Thankfully in our household we are equally concerned and equally cognizant of reducing waste.

patti said...

This blog is absolutely AMAZING!!!

I am soooo green that birds are landing on me!!!

Sigh. Son and Hubby do not embrace my greenery as I would like. I just have to evaluate each "issue" and do what I can.

sometimes compromise is a good thing.

Thanks for introducing me to more ideas. Haven't done the bedding thing yet...

Pam J. said...

Good post. I agree with Squirrel of Nyack--"The only answer is to use a lot less." I try to avoid the "if it's old and worn it must be replaced" kind of thinking. But I am plagued by feelings of hypocrisy everywhere I turn. I can recycle with the best of them but then I look at my house. With kids grown and (mostly) gone I see bedrooms and bathrooms that I don't really need. When I drive 15 miles to shop at a wonderful Amish farmer's market, I think about the car exhaust I donated to our oversupply while driving there. I should downsize a LOT, my brain says. But my heart and gut don't agree.

lettuce said...

i think about these issues quite a bit - i've cancelled our organic local veg. delivery recently as its so much more expensive
:-[

and we have a household conflict of priorities, depending who is doing the shopping....

its not easy!

k said...

This might not count for much, but - I just had my mother's fountain pen returned to me after many years. I have two others that were bought new, and they both have medium nibs and go through ink like jet fuel. So I'm sticking with my mother's pen.
I can't afford big ticket things, so I'm working on making the little things count.

Karen said...

Could not agree more that some are only in it for the "chic" factor. And that it's sad but true that the truly "green" products sometimes cost more. Then again, the most green thing is to just not buy more stuff or remodel or all the other wasteful things that cause resources and landfill space to get used up! Marketers are very good at convincing people to buy stuff, but the best thing we can do is buy less. Even recycling takes a ton of energy, so it's not enough just to do that. Thanks for the links, I will check those out. In our house, I'm the one who over-thinks all this stuff but then still drives around in a gas-sucking car, while the other adult (usually) rides his bike to work but accepts plastic bags at the grocery store and otherwise does not seem to care too much about those kinds of things. I resolve it by doing most of the shopping and he offsets my driving somewhat with his bike riding, I guess!

How did I not know that your dad has a nursery? Your green thumb - in the blood!

Carol said...

If only we would all consider our purchases as one of our most powerful tools for change... and to buy less would be great. Though the initial cost may be more on some items ... in the long run it will pay us back many times over... being better for our waterways, air, and earth... and of course with all that most green and organic items are better for our bodies as well. I do not think of anything being green that is not organic. Great post! Carol