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Going Green and Natural: Not all products are equal

I am a third generation ecologist and alternative-seeker. Grandma preached the problems we would have by drenching our planet with chemicals and my Mom told us to ignore those that laughed when we cleaned up a campsite to leave it better than when we arrived. I guess all forward thinkers have to endure the idiocy of society, but I am glad that we set ourselves apart and were not part of what everyone refers to as normal. Over the last twenty years I have been pleased to see that so many people and companies have joined the bandwagon to recognize that natural and green efforts will humanity and the planet. However, the general public seems to have embraced these terms with the assumption that all that state them, are healthy.

Going Green and Natural

The term natural seems to cause an automatic response that whatever is proclaiming this statement must be good. People simply don’t stop to think that there are many substances that are natural, but actually have negative affects going all the way to being toxic. Marketing companies took on the natural term in an attempt to induce a healthy feeling to their products and remove any concerns that they might contain harmful substances. This was clever move on their part, as the general public bought-into-it. Products appeared on shelves with flowers, plants and all forms of nature. Pleasant scents were added to give the appearance of healthy. However, hiding in the boxes and bottles were contents that had some derivatives of nature, but, not necessarily healthy ones. The marketing geniuses thought that people were just dumb enough on the topic to continue to buy their products; and that was the case for a while.

The next term that really came into play was ‘going green’. Unless you have your hands over your ears and are singing la-la-la, most people have come to grips with the fact that we are trashing our world and environment. Recycling is available now in almost every area, but that was not always the case. It took us many years to fight for recycling, and it’s a very expensive proposition for a community to support. The term ‘green’ is so broad, that just about anyone can add that to their label or branding. If a company participates in a recycling program but continues to waste in all other facets of manufacturing, they can still call themselves ‘green’. Green-washing is when a company acts like they care about the environment through the advertising, but is not really involved in any kind of green program. Consumers, however, are becoming more savvy and are not falling prey to these types of companies. There are some companies that actually don’t care at all. They know you will buy their products, even if they package them in multiple layers of plastic and Styrofoam. Makeup manufacturers are some of the worst. Their bottles of miracle elixirs are often in larger non-recyclable or green containers so that the little bottle actually looks bigger than it is.

The latest to enter our shelves has been organic products. If the branding doesn’t include the words “USDA Certified Organic” it’s just another company trying to play on the consumer’s desire to buy a healthy product. Unfortunately, it’s the customer that is getting ripped off, while the company takes their profits to the bank. It’s not easy to comply with all of the regulations required to be certified organic, but organizations and companies that are focused on these topics as healthy for our future are willing to make the investment. Buying their products will help them to continue their efforts and make the dollars they have spent worth while.

A new generation of conscious companies is emerging. They have come to realize that investing in a truly green company and healthy product is not only good for the environment and people, but good for their bottom line. The internet has brought the ability for people to investigate, find out and share information; both good and bad. Social media spreads this information like wildfire and a company can be made or broken when it ‘goes viral’.

So what can you do? Here are some tips: Look at the labels of those products that are touting ‘natural’ as well as just ‘organic’. Go to the company website and write a quick letter of complaint if the products have contents that are not natural or not listed as certified organic. Share the information about the company on your social media pages. When you are shopping, really look at the packaging. Is it made from recycled materials? Sure, you might be able to recycle some of it, but ask yourself why? There are many new branches of business that specialize in creating packaging that is earth-friendly.

Finally, some of the responsibility of green and natural has to fall on ourselves. I know when I go into any shopping mall or store, that I am one of the few that bring in the few plastic bags I have to recycle as well as the canvas shopping bags. Yes, it takes a moment for me to remember, but for the rest that don’t its pure laziness. Not all stores will be equal in the future. In some counties, states and even countries, plastic bags are illegal. In some areas, they charge you for the plastic bags. If you don’t want it to begin hitting your wallet, take just the few seconds to examine and take action.

The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.