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Ron Dembo

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Josh Dorfman

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Jennifer Hattam

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Got a Question?


If you have questions about this change, you're in the right place. Our editors, experts, and community of change optimists have answers!


Question:How can you tell if something is really "green" or if a company is just using the label to jump on the bandwagon?

I'm so suspicious of everything!! How do I know if my food is REALLY organic? Or if my cleaning products are really safe?

Asked by LMAYO9 on 6/5/08 3 Answers»


Good question! It's easy to wonder if companies are sincere now that it's so profitable to be "green". While many products are certified by third parties, the best answer is that there is no substitute for actually knowing the person who provides your food or services. This is possible within a local economy, where you have visited the farm from which your vegetables have sprung. If you buy at a farmer's market, ask the organizers what their requirements have been, or ask the farmer if they have documentation of their organic certification. If you are concerned about a company "green-washing" their products, "The Greenwashing Index" has posted a list of steps to spot greenwashing at Link

Hope this helps!

Answered by: SusanBuhr on 9/21/08


I'm slowly making the switch to really natural cleaning products that I make myself. There's a great book called Green Clean that has simple "recipes" that use baking soda, lemon juice, vinegar, and water. And these solutions work! If you are the one making your window washer, and you use all common ingredients, you can bet they're pretty safe. I'm trying to be responsible for as many "green" things as possible...growing my own vegetables in window boxes (no pesticides!), etc.

Answered by: aliciak on 8/22/08


It's really hard to know for sure.

There are a couple of things you can look for that might help. On cleaning products, look for the GreenSeal or GreenGuard label, and look at the list of ingredients. If you can't pronounce it, it isn't good for your home or your health!

In terms of food, there isn't really a good measure in place yet (read: no national standard). The best you can do is buy locally and ask questions of the grower/producer.

You can also look at a company's overall practices. Sure, Clorox has a new green line of cleaning products, but they still make toxic bleaches and other items. Sounds like "bandwagon" to me!

Answered by: Kiki76 on 6/6/08
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