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How Green Are You, Really?

By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter

Images-3 NYT: As Consumers Cut Spending, ‘Green’ Products Lose Allure

Since it's Earth Day, and time for my Lip-sticking post...and most household products are still purchased by women...the above headline immediately caught my attention. 

"While farmers’ markets and Prius sales are humming along now, household product makers like Clorox just can’t seem to persuade mainstream customers to buy green again."

Good news about farmer markets. Bad about those green products...or is it, really? Could part of the problem be that we "mainstream customers" suspect that the companies slapped green labels on slightly tweaked products (Nature’s Source Scrubbing Bubbles?! What? What?) and are charging premiums? Nahh, that'd never happen.

Images-1 Maybe we don't really trust those big corporate brands. 

"According to the American Marketing Association, green marketing is the marketing of products that are presumed to be environmentally safe.[1] Thus green marketing incorporates a broad range of activities, including product modification, changes to the production process, packaging changes, as well as modifying advertising."

On the other hand, the companies that have always been green - different story.

"...the market shares of green products generally were down from their peak — especially those offered by the big consumer-products companies. But the market share of the independent brands, like Method and Seventh Generation, is starting to increase relative to the shares of traditional brands’ green products in categories where they compete."

Then we come to this:

"Heidi Dorosin, vice president for marketing for the cleaning division of Clorox, said Green Works’ sales had been battered by the recession and inconsistent pricing. The company has lowered its prices and made them more consistent, she said."

Inconsistent? Or, trying to get that premium?  Hmmm...

So here we are, at another Earth Day, and most of us try to be green. However, it's impossible to be completely pure. It could be a full-time job reading the fine print on labels and researching corporations that sell all those green labels.

Here's how I simplify. I stopped reading the labels. Sounds irresponsible, doesn't it?  Well, I also stopped buying just about all "cleaning products." (Instead, I use vinegar. I've been doing this for years. Vinegar is THE all-purpose disinfectant and cleaner. Mix with a little baking soda to unclog drains.) 

P.S. I also did the research and found it was "greener" for me, bottom line, to keep driving my 10-year-old Jeep than to buy a new Prius.  It ain't easy being green...;-)

Read More: The Sins of Greenwashing

Happy Friday -  and Earth Day - to all.





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Yvonne DiVita

The whole vinegar thing is intriguing. I need a crash course - who wants to create a "20 Things You Can Clean with Vinegar" document? Mary?

Diane Catrambone

Absolutely perfect, as usual! I've been using white vinegar and baking soda for years. I just started adding a bit of essential oil for smell (lavender, rose, etc). Also...check this out. When I clean my hardwood floors I use white vinegar, just a bit of the essential oil and 1 little drop or two of olive oil! Shiny beautiful floors!! That's when I clean, of course, which aint too often!

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