“The 800 lb. gorilla behind virtually all of the ‘sustainability challenges’ is you and me, the consumer. The problem is not that we are bad, but that we have been blind to the impacts of our everyday choices which are about to change.” ~ Peter Senge, MIT Sloan School of Management
As we watch the trend of eco-friendly home products and décor cycle towards being greener and hopefully more sustainable, the array of choices blows the field of goods wide open.
Every item we purchase has a hidden price tag. I often wish there was an eco-label that could cut through the web of greenwashing and glean the transparency of products. We consumers have tough questions to ask about all of the hidden impacts of the things that we buy. For instance, I want to know what the social and environmental implications of the furniture, appliances, electronics, and even the sheets and towels I buy are. What are the “people” issues, such as how the workers were treated? Also, the “planet” issues such as waste management and the treatment of animals?
Blaming the past is not really a solution. Yes, many products were conceived in an innocent time when it was virtuous to make things cheap. These items seemed to flow from malleable plastics and an endless source of petroleum. We enjoyed the luster that lead powder gave to paints, and we sourced wood unsustainably to build our homes and make our furniture.
Next: Important questions to ask about products