Eco Friendly Product – Really?

eco friendly product

Are You Sure it’s an Eco Friendly Product?


Last week, a friend said to me “Clare, you’re going to LOVE this product!  I found it in the supermarket, it’s  eco friendly”

“Great!” I said.  “What makes it an eco friendly product?” I asked.

My friend (bless her heart, she’s such a lovely lady), looked confused.

“It says on it that it’s eco!”, she said, brightly, as she rushed off to bring me her eco friendly product purchase.

Yes, it did indeed say “Eco friendly product”.  In large letters.

But was it “Genuinely Green”? (that’s my yardstick for truly eco friendly products).

I examined the bottle.

Nowhere did it say WHY it was an eco friendly product.

I looked at the back, to see the list of ingredients.  Unable to read them (they were microscopically small), I moved into the light and borrowed a pair of reading glasses (an uncomfortable sign of slight aging).  With the exception of “aqua” (water), everything else was unpronounceable chemicals.

“What do you think?” said my friend, beaming.

“Greenwashing” I replied, sadly.  (If you’re new to the concept of greenwashing, you can find out all about it here ).

Next: what does make items ‘genuinely green’, eco friendly products?

Photo Credit: fotolia

19 comments… add one

  • Mil Apr 13, 2012, 4:34 am

    There are also lots of cleaning recipes using simple baking soda, vinegar, etc. I am now preferring to use these products instead of these “green products” that have “suddenly” appeared in the market aisles.

  • Kevin Hogan Apr 12, 2012, 10:09 am

    I’ve read a lot about these terms. It doesn’t seem that a lot is regulated, like “Natural.” Apparently, Eco Friendly isn’t either. Are there any others that we should watch out for?

    Mark Hogan

    Promotional Expert For

    • Clare Delaney Apr 12, 2012, 10:50 am

      You’re absolutely right Mark. It makes it difficult for the genuinely green products to shine through. But I’m covering what to look out for, so we can all make more informed choices.

  • Cherie Miranda Apr 12, 2012, 8:38 am

    Great article. There seems to be so much greenwashing these days. I look forward to the follow up article!

    Cherie Miranda

  • Dr. Wendy Schauer, D.C., R.K.C. Apr 12, 2012, 8:16 am

    It drives me crazy that they can put anything on the label. You really have to read everything before buying. No assuming the label is true.
    Yours In Health!

    Dr. Wendy

    • Clare Delaney Apr 12, 2012, 10:51 am

      Yes, unfortunately, you’re absolutely right. But in this series of articles, I’m covering what to look out for, so you can choose genuinely green products.

  • Shane Apr 12, 2012, 5:56 am

    HA HA!

    I saw that coming. It is true, every company markets to the trend. Many also market to their weakness. After all if everyone knows you are the biggest in the area, you don’t need to advertise that… But if you have the worst customer service on the planet… Your commercials will be about how great your customer service is.

    Crazy World

    • Clare Delaney Apr 12, 2012, 10:54 am

      LOL Shane, that’s true! But I think by the end of this series of articles, we’ll all know how to recognise genuinely green products.

  • Lyle R. Johnson Apr 12, 2012, 4:37 am

    Great information.

    I was at Procter & Gamble when “Silent Spring” was published. Few people give P&G the credit it deserves for eco-friendly products. That is, by the end of 1966 every P&G product was bio-degradable … yet they never used that as an advertising ploy.

    So I applaud your information and add that look to the social responsibility of the company / manufacturer.

    • Clare Delaney Apr 12, 2012, 10:56 am

      Yes, P&G have a very bad name when it comes to eco friendly products. I suppose in 1966, people wouldn’t have understood the concept of bio-degradable, nor realised why it was necessary. Thanks Lyle!

  • Eva Palmer Apr 12, 2012, 1:51 am

    I went the other day to an organic shop and bougth some milk that was supposed to be organic. When I got home I realised that it had so many added things that I just went back and returned it.
    From now on I will check to see if what I buy is really eco or not!

    • Clare Delaney Apr 12, 2012, 10:58 am

      Well done on returning it – that’s a great way to tell manufacturers what people want. Thanks Eva!

  • Margarita Apr 12, 2012, 12:16 am

    very informative and useful information. From now on instead of being satisfied with the “Green” label I will look for more proofs. Just asking the question “Why” is an eye opener.

  • G.E. Moon II Apr 12, 2012, 12:01 am

    “Green Washing”, I have never heard this term before…you should Trade Mark it!

    I am also not a fan of “mouse print”.

    Yours In Health!

    G.E. Moon II

    • Clare Delaney Apr 12, 2012, 10:59 am

      “Mouse Print” – I love it!

  • Suzanne Laramore Apr 11, 2012, 10:37 pm

    Read the ingredients! (I do wish they would stop making the print smaller every year).

    I had never heard of greenwashing but now that I am I will be more aware.


  • Neil Dhawan Apr 11, 2012, 9:50 pm


    Absolutely BRILLIANT!!! Just because something is labeled “eco-friendly” doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Thank you for pointing out the importance of actually taking some time to read the ingredient list. I can’t wait to find out what the criteria is for eco-friendly products in tomorrows post!

    To a Successful Life, Neil

  • Sonya Lenzo Apr 11, 2012, 5:39 pm

    As consumers become more knowledgable about using “green” products, thanks to blogs like yours, advertisers will try to exploit that knowledge and that willingness to “go green”. Some of it will be as you say “greenwashing”. This is an important topic to discuss because I think once someone feels “duped” by greenwashing, they can become discouraged about the whole “eco” thing.
    Sonya Lenzo

    • Clare Delaney Apr 12, 2012, 11:00 am

      Excellent point Sonya, well said. I agree!

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