Heidi's consumer product posts have always generated discussion among Greenwash Brigade readers. Start 2009 with a list of Heidi's favorite consumer resource sites. Enjoy, and happy new year!
- Greener Cars: http://www.greenercars.org. The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy put together this site -- all energy, all the time.
Personal Care Products (shampoos, cosmetics, deodorants)
- The Environmental Working Group runs the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics' site, which contains a searchable database called the SkinDeep database. The EWG spent over a decade compiling this rigorous database on all things slick and pretty- this is a particularly important site for parents choosing products for babies and growing children.
- The Organic Consumers Association has a drop-down menu so you can find local food groups in your state.
- the Chefs Collaborative is an organization of smart, yummy and ecologically sound chefs and foodies -- they first brought contextual farming issues to the table for chefs on a national basis. (Disclaimer: Siegelbaum is a member of the Chefs Collaborative.)
- The Healthy Eating Advisor is a balanced nutrition and healthy eating site.
- The Food Alliance offers ecolabels for food, including the unexpected!
- Buy local food from your farmer's markets when you can, and organic if possible.
- Environmental Working Group's Food News has information on which foods contain the most and least pesticides. Don't miss the easy-to-download wallet guide to pesticides.
- Healthy Toys is a relatively new site. Many toys are laden with lead and other toxics that will wreak havoc on your kid's development -- 2009 is the perfect time to return your toxic baddies!
- This PDF on carbon offset programs lists the programs where you can buy carbon offsets -- though they're fraught with difficulties in choosing wisely.
- Buying renewable energy: http://www.green-e.org
- Appliances: Energy StarÂ®
- Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool, or EPEATÂ® is a program of the Green Electronics Council. Although not applicable to all electronics, it provides easy-to-download information on monitors, laptops and notebooks and is being used by many cities and states to help green their computer purchases.
- Responsible End of Life for electronics at computertakeback.org: Be smart about exiting your electronics -- this site offers tips on putting your computer to rest responsibly.
Healthy Indoor Decor
- Many indoor products contain toxics that can trigger asthma, allergic reactions and are developmental or neurotoxins. Never use fragrances to mask odors. http://www.greenguard.org.
- Avoid any consumer product that is labeled with "perfume" or "parfum."
Put your faith in non-profit and government sites that provide 3rd party certification for products. Although not always air-tight, they are almost always better than company-generated eco-claims.
- EPA's Database
- Women's Voices of the Earth shows you how to make your own great cleaners -- a fun project with kids.
- Don't assume because a non-profit logo is on a product it's safer or greener.
(Disclaimer: Siegelbaum is involved in chemical policy through a chemical policy planning committee by the Product Stewardship Institute and the North American Hazardous Materials Management Association.)