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Consumers Union Goes Green

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This weekend Burlington had the privilege of hosting the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) national conference. There were almost 800 attendees including about 350 reporters. The SEJ is a wonderful group that I want to cover in a separate post. But for now, I’m just going to mention a couple of things while they’re fresh.

I had the opportunity to speak on a panel titled “Sticker Spin: The Murky World of Green Labeling.” Urvashi Rangan, a Senior Scientist and Policy Analyst for the Eco-Labeling Project (see below) at Consumers Union, was part of the panel, and two of her organization’s “green” websites deserve a mention:

The Consumers Union’s Eco-Labels initiative covers a wide variety of products that claim to have environmental benefits. It compares them to those that are conventionally farmed or produced, keeps track of labels recently introduced, and compares everything via an interactive report card that you can easily print to take with you while shopping.

Greener Choices is a CU site that focuses on consumer decisions and the impact (for better or worse) they can have on the environment. Greener Choices covers major environmental issues related to energy, climate change, waste and toxic substances, and connects these larger issues to the things people buy in more than a dozen product categories, including autos, appliances, electronics, home & garden, and food. Find out where your energy dollars go, how the products you buy and use can reduce the trend of global warming, and how they can save you money while they save the planet, Discover new ways to reuse or recycle what you would normally throw away and (this is topic #1 for me) learn how toxics found in everyday products impact the environment and your health. There’s a "green ratings" section for several product categories that features evaluations of a product's energy-, water- and fuel-efficiency, and other attributes.

Both of these sites are extremely helpful guides to navigating today’s consumer waters and making the best choices we can make for our families and the future.

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