One of the most challenging aspects of our country's new green consciousness is that it can be impossible sometimes to determine if what you're buying is really doing more good than harm. For example, did you know that "hypoallergenic," a word many cosmetic companies use to assure women their products are gentle, has, in fact, nothing to do with allergens and no regulations at all as to its meaning? Or that a company can claim its chickens are free-range if they let them out of their cages for just five minutes a day? Or that plastic shopping bags are easier on the environment than paper (though the best solution is, of course, to bring your own)? Diane MacEachern's new book "Big Green Purse" was written on the premise that as the people responsible for 85% of all consumer purchases, women are ideally suited to influence the direction of our planet, simply by voting with our pocketbooks. Here are a few reasons to pick it up:
*Practical, easy-to-understand, guides on which certifications mean something, and which ones are totally bogus
*Advice by spend category (food, gas/cars, cosmetics, household cleansers, etc.) on how to, cost-effectively, shop for green alternatives
*Contact information for companies in a range of consumer categories so you can let them know that responsible business practices matter
*Web addresses for tons of companies Ms. MacEachern has vetted and determined to be eco-friendly, from coffee to wine to household cleansers to home decor and gardening supplies
This is a great guide to have in any household, and something marketers should become familiar with to ensure their brand doesn't inadvertently stray into greenwashing. Best of all, this isn't green for the wealthy, Ms. MacEachern is very conscious of the realities of limited time and money in the majority of U.S. households and offers smart tips for going green on a budget.