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Green Is The New Black: A Good Trend To Beware Of

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Whatever our personal favourite colour, the new “black”, so to speak, is living green. So, from shopping organic, holistic, all-natural and chemical free, many of us may find ourselves getting “caught up in” the key words and tricky phrases that get our attention and our purchase. But, some experts caution buyers to beware.

In fact, they note that with many companies engaging in what’s known as “greenwashing”, a practice of labeling items and products as environmentally friendly when they’re not, can have many consumers singing the blues.

According to experts, the Federal Trade Commission which oversees “truth in advertising” and the claims being made, recently set out to update the guidelines and standards for environmentally conscientious advertising. They note the measure was overdue and necessary and an area that had not been updated in 10 years. In fact, the FTC revealed that in many instances discerning which products were authentic could prove quite challenging, especially to the consumer since the guidelines allowed companies to use catchy phrases such as “certified organic”, “energy efficient” or “100% natural”, with little or no specific proof or justification. And, that’s what the new guidelines are geared at addressing.

In the mean time it’s up to the consumer to “caveat emptor”, and according to experts, that means doing our homework and our research. It also means not always believing every claim made, or every label your read.

Experts recommend looking into the company’s website and following up on their claims, and if the information is not there, learning to read “between the lines” as well as reading the fine print to see exactly why they claim they are environmentally friendly and “green.” They also suggest asking questions. Call the company and grill the operator or the supervisor if you have to.

Be weary of promises that may seem too good to be true, experts say they usually are. They note that if a detergent claims it’s chemical free, your next thought should be, “what exactly is added to actually clean the clothes?” And, if something is taughted as biodegradable, investigate the means justifying these claims and make sure the product isn’t simply winding up in some landfill.

But, if you’re looking for a little piece of mind, here are some credible certifications you can trust.

· Energy Star appliances and electronics
· USDA seal for organic items and products
· Green Seal and EcoLogo for household cleaning items
· Forest Stewardship Council for wood and paper products.

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