Living a ‘green lifestyle’ is something most of us are trying to do on a daily basis. Fortunately, green products aren’t as green as fancy packaging and ads would have us believe. Most companies are trying to market their items as “green” while their environmental impact is questionable. Other products or gadgets consume more energy than they save, contradicting the purpose of using the said device in the first place. Apart from a number of products that are misleading us, there are products out there that are actually eco-friendly. Below are green products that aren’t so green.
Compact Fluorescent Bulbs
Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) have become the most sold bulbs for over a decade now. Their manufacturers market them as the new generation of eco-friendly energy saving appliances. What most of us don’t know is that CFLs contain small traces of mercury, a lethal neurotoxin that can’t be safely disposed of with other appliances.
The government is yet to discover an effective way of recycling these bulbs, therefore, the only option left is to toss them out with other gadgets. Day by day mercury, contamination is on the rise leading to waste of time and money cleaning up such mess.
Seventh Generation Lemon Dishwashing Gel
Almost everyone knows the seventh generation. They lure people into loving them by the use of their mission statement which is “To inspire a consumer revolution that nurtures the health of the next seven generations.” Little do they know that their lemon-scented dishwashing gel would receive an F on the EWG product safety scale due to chemicals like sodium borate and methylisothiazolinone. This led to the conclusion that if they state that their products are non-toxic, they actually mean that “not acutely toxic.” That is the kind of language you should watch out for when buying these items.
American Plastic Lumber
American plastic lumber has a logo that says “eco-friendly” in every possible way. As a matter of fact, in their About Us section, they claim that to provide recyclable plastic lumber across the country. For two decades now, they have been supplying plastic without any questionable claim about their products. Unfortunately, they have been accused twice by the FTC for their false claims: their products are said to contain only 15 percent recycled material. However, to be precise, their products contain on average less than 79 percent post-consumer content.
Huggies Pure and Natural
We all want to be all green when it comes to the health of our children. We’ve all been using Huggies Pure & Natural diapers since they claim to use organic cotton and their packaging has a green leaf nirvana. Now, who would have thought that this well-known and respected company would have not so eco-friendly products? The University of Cincinnati has revealed that the cotton used in their diapers is only on the outside. In fact, a federal class suit has been filed against Huggies claiming that they use toxic synthetic ingredients which can potentially strip skin of its pigment. Additionally, the diaper is not biodegradable and the packaging contains only 20 percent recycled material.
Technology did it again and now we enjoy driving electric cars that don’t emit carbon. However, it’s quite shocking how much carbon dioxide they emit during the production of the lithium-ion batteries that powers them. According to a study by the IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, production of electric car batteries releases a surprising amount of carbon dioxide. Take, for example, Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf which have around 100-kilowatt hour and 30-kilowatt-hour batteries respectively. The production of a battery generates around 150 to 200 kilogram of CO2 per kilowatt hour. This means that the Nissan Leaf has already released roughly five ton of carbon dioxide in the air even before it’s purchased. While Tesla battery ranges around 15 to 20 tons of CO2. Electric cars productions are a great idea but its environmental benefits are questionable.
Green Cleaning Products
When dishwashing you require a product that gets the job done with less effort. However, not all the products clean well. Therefore, the manufacturers focus to use more of the ingredients, some of which have negative side effects in terms of our health, to meet the needs of the consumers. This makes their product less green and they mislabel the ingredients used. If you want green products, buy less toxic, less expensive and known products.
Like mentioned in the case of electric cars, this one too is about the production process. Solar panels production can be demanding since it requires harsh, corrosive chemicals such as sodium hydroxide and hydrofluoric acid, lots of power and water. As if that is not enough, it creates very hazardous waste. In addition to that, they use rare metals like tellurium and indium, which are not recyclable. These companies need to take action to reduce environmental toxicity. But until they do that, solar power isn’t as green as we all thought.