Archive for November, 2009
For those of us whose lifestyle and livelihood are focused on educating others about healthy, sustainable choices, it’s a always a feel-good moment to read that consumers are increasingly putting a high value on green products, and willing to spend a little extra $green$ to have them. I’ve been intrigued by the various studies and consumer polls that are showing a preference for green products despite the struggling economy. This may be a testament to the “less is more” philosophy but also “quality over quantity,” with a growing number of Americans committed to purchasing practices that are both socially and environmentally responsible, and also simply better for them.
A study by Miller Zell, Inc. reported that the “majority of shoppers polled indicated they would be most likely to pay a 10¢ premium for household products.” Interestingly, the study also showed that low-income shoppers were more willing to pay a 10¢ premium compared to middle and upper income groups.
Writer Basil Katz’s recent article, “Shoppers going green despite struggling economy” in Reuters said that “despite the worst U.S. recession in decades, sales of organic and sustainable products have continued to grow, with shoppers willing to spend a few more dollars in a bid to become more green.”
The article also reported that U.S. supermarket sales of environmentally sustainable or “ethical” products — from energy-efficient light bulbs to organic produce — will rise about 8.7 percent in 2009 to nearly $38 billion, according to a recent study by Packaged Facts, a market research provider.
Other excerpts from the article state that “President Barack Obama’s commitment to tackle climate change, a string of scandals over tainted food and effective marketing of sustainable products have helped convince more Americans, whose environmental credentials lag behind Europeans, to buy green.” And, that sales of goods specifically labeled organic rose 17 percent to $24.6 billion in 2008, according to the Organic Trade Association.
The Miller Zell study reported that women are more eco-conscious, closely followed by Gen Y. One of the frustrations with both of these groups, however, is the level of communication offered in-store about green products.This is something that I hear often from my household clients, especially when I educate them on pros and cons of certain green products.
For example, many people are willing to spend a little more money upfront on compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) to save energy and money long-term, but many people are not aware that you should not throw CFLs in the trash (See Earth911.org for recycling centers), and that there are safety precautions if one should break in your home (See EPA guidance).
With an increasing number of consumers purchasing green products, companies producing them have a responsibility to be transparent about what makes their products green. Consumers also have some due diligence of their own to do in making sure they are not victim to green-washing.
Here are some resources that can help consumers determine what companies and their products have been vetted by a third party and are legitimately green:
Green America – offers a directory of green businesses that have been Green America approved
Green Seal – provides science-based environmental certification standards for products and services
Responsible Purchasing Network – an international network of buyers dedicated to socially responsible and environmentally sustainable purchasing
Green Guide – National Geographic’s buying guide for green products
With the holiday season in full force, there are many ways to be an environmentally responsible shopper and gift giver. Our West Coast sister company, Greenshops.com, has many green products to offer this holiday, and eco-labels to explain exactly what makes their products green. Enter Code GLC2009 for a 10% discount on your first purchase.
be well. live green.
It’s official! Beginning January 1, 2010, Washington D.C.’s businesses that sell food or alcohol must charge 5 cents for each disposable paper or plastic carryout bag.
According to DC’s Department of the Environment (DDOE), the business keeps 1 cent, or 2 cents if it offers a rebate when you bring your own bag, and the remaining 3 or 4 cents go to the new Anacostia River Protection Fund. DDOE will administer this fund. The money will be used it to provide reusable bags, educate the public about litter, and clean up the river.
The District has also partnered with CVS/pharmacy to produce and hand out 112,000 reusable bags primarily to District residents, with many going to seniors and low-income communities. Some of the bags have been distributed at recent kick-off events, but it was not clear exactly where and when new distributions will be made other than announcing they will take place in 2010.
What does this mean for green in DC?
This tax sends a pretty clear message that DC is getting serious about it’s Green Agenda. If you don’t already know, DDOE offers a number of FREE eco-support services:
- Free ENERGY STAR appliances (must meet household size and income requirements)
- Free weatherizing help (must meet household size and income requirements)
- Free home energy audit (All residents can apply for homes under 4,000 square feet)
Guess what DC? It looks like it’s time to finally get our green on and be a model green capitol (or at least aspire to be)!
be well. live green.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Did you know that approximately 4 million tons of junk mail are sent every year? The U.S. spends 340 million dollars to dispose of that junk mail, often with it going straight from the mailbox to the trash. That’s a true waste on a lot of different levels.
Here are some simple steps you can take to reduce junk mail:
1) Catalogs – call number on catalog and ask to remove your name. This can be time consuming, especially when you account for holding times and navigating the automated voice messaging systems of most businesses today. But it’s a start and if you don’t have that many then an easy fix.
2) For first class mail – cross out your name and address, circle and write Refuse, Return to Sender.
3) Credit offers – call 1-888-5 OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) or go to https://www.optoutprescreen.com
4) Coupons – Val-Pak or Velassis, call and ask to be taken off list. There is usually a number on the packet (you may have to hunt a bit).
5) Hire someone to do the dirty work for you! There are various organizations/companies that you can pay to remove you from lists and help you manage unwanted mail. One we recommend is Precycle. Formerly Green Dimes, Planet Green and Tonic.com partnered to form Precycle (better than recycle because you stop it before it hits the bin). There is a one-time fee of $36 + shipping and handling. You receive a kit for stopping unwanted mail. They plant 5 trees. Sign up at http://precycle.tonic.com. You might also check out DMA Choice – an organization that will also help you manage which marketing lists you want to be on versus those you don’t. It also helps you with email subscriptions. Call 888-567-8688 or visit www.dmachoice.org
Check out Green Living Consulting’s West Coast Partners on Bakersfield news giving Junk Mail tips!!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )