More and more people are going green, even including the products they use to clean their bathroom, kitchen, and clothing. But what does saying a product is “green” even mean?
Not much, according to Consumer Reports. Same goes for words like “natural,” “plant-based,” “non-toxic,” and “eco-friendly.”
“These are really just marketing terms to make a product seem more appealing,” said Consumer Reports’ Althea Chang-Cook. “It’s sometimes called “green-washing,” a gimmick meant to attract consumers who prefer to buy products from environmentally-conscious brands.”
Still, a lot of people want to make eco-friendly choices. So, start by thinking about what aspect of “green” is important to you. If you want plant-based products or biodegradable products, look for that specifically.
Eco-friendly products may use less plastic in their packaging, but that does not meant they are free from harmful chemicals.
“Another thing to know is that just because a product is “natural” or “plant-based,” it doesn’t mean it is safe,” Chang-Cook said. “That’s something you’ll want to be aware of especially if you have kids around.”
So, how do you choose?
Consumer Reports says to look for a seal of approval from independent groups that check the claims, such as UL, EWG or Safer Choice.
The seal from UL means a product has lower environmental impact than similar products, such as energy or water use.
To be EWG verified, products can’t include certain ingredients that are considered potentially harmful.
Same goes for the EPA’s Safer Choice logo. You can even search their website to see if your favorite cleaner got their approval.