Thursday, September 25, 2008

Green Standards for Eco-Style Stuff

As I review more and more ‘green’ products these days, I’m kind of baffled that there isn’t more of a standardized rating system. I googled ‘green product standards’ and I found the Green Seal of course, which is great for paper products and cleaners. The EPA even has a database for information on environmental products and services - if you go there and you can figure out what the standards are and actually find product lists, please let me know! It’s a little confusing.

What about standards for all the wonderful eco-style stuff? What about clothing manufacturing, which by the way is traditionally a pretty harsh industry on the environment? What about other textile products, great green designed kitchen gadgets, and what about all those awesome accessories - green bags/purses, belts, jewelry, shoes!?!

I found one promising standard system . . . seems to have a rating system that works. It is a flexible system and offers an opportunity to become more educated about certain types of products and their inherent characteristics in terms of their basic product life cycle. It also seems to lend itself well across a very diverse range of products from clothing, to toys and yes, accessories! They even offer office products.

The four main categories are designed to rate a product from ‘cradle to grave’ and represent a product’s ‘basic lifecycle’. The categories used are: source material, manufacturing, use, and disposal. Every product offered on their website uses a rating box, which has all four of these categories represented by an icon. If the product meets or exceeds that categories requirements, it will be displayed in color. If not, it is there, but in grey.

There is also a number rating for overall green attributes 1 - not so many: 100 - lots of good green attributes.

You can see an example of this on the image at the top of this post. Note that this hemp blouse has a fairly good rating. The ‘use’ icon is not highlighted. Not really sure what that is about exactly. But, if you want to learn more, you can go to their extremely informative standards page and understand what their rationale is.

I’ve seen some very rudimentary attempts to rate products, but this one is by far the most detailed and perhaps most useful one I’ve come across. Go!

Eat. Blog. Be Merry!
GD Meg

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