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Choices, Choices, Choices: How Sustainable Are Yours?

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Choices, Choices, Choices: How Sustainable Are Yours?

“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

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Ronnie Citron-Fink

Ronnie Citron-Fink is a writer, editor and educator. She has written hundreds of articles about sustainable living, the environment, design, and family life for websites, books and magazines. Ronnie is the creator of Econesting, and the managing editor of Moms Clean Air Force. Ronnie was named one of the Top Ten Living Green Experts by Yahoo. Ronnie lives in New York with her family.

75 comments

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6:28PM PDT on Mar 22, 2012

Good thinking good choice for eco labels.

12:05PM PDT on Jun 13, 2011

thanks

1:50PM PST on Jan 30, 2011

nice to have a direction with that. wish who we have to ask had those answers.

9:37PM PDT on May 27, 2010

.

11:18AM PDT on Apr 6, 2010

Promote an eco-friendly home with earth friendly cleaning products... Who says that you can't change your environmental impact?

http://stores.healthy-planet-fundraising.com/-strse-Healthy-Planet-Cleaning-Kit-Supplies/Categories.bok

11:18AM PDT on Apr 6, 2010

Promote an eco-friendly home with earth friendly cleaning products... Who says that you can't change your environmental impact?

http://stores.healthy-planet-fundraising.com/-strse-Healthy-Planet-Cleaning-Kit-Supplies/Categories.bok

1:49PM PDT on Mar 31, 2010

Thanks

4:22PM PDT on Mar 24, 2010

Thanks.

2:47PM PDT on Mar 24, 2010

I also sometimes wish we had these "eco-tags". It can sometimes be a challenge to be certain you're making the best choice.

2:01PM PDT on Mar 24, 2010

a cheap way for us to reduce our electric bill is to use the eheat heater, www.eheat.com, a 400 watt unit, not hot to the touch and no moving parts. ten cents an hour is all. And an evaporative cooler when possible for summer can reduce cooling costs by 75% rather than your air conditioning unit

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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