Eco-Labeling Takes Scientific Leap Forward but Will Consumers Digest So Much Detail on Waste and Pollution? RATING GREEN PRODUCTS

By S. C. Llewelyn Leach, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, August 24, 1992 | Go to article overview

Eco-Labeling Takes Scientific Leap Forward but Will Consumers Digest So Much Detail on Waste and Pollution? RATING GREEN PRODUCTS


S. C. Llewelyn Leach, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


WHEN a parcel arrives in the mail padded with starch peanuts, the biodegradable cousin of polysterene pellets, all you need do is "dump {the packaging} down your toilet, let it dissolve, and forget about it," as Stanley Rhodes, president of Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), puts it.

But you may have unwittingly started a destructive cycle. Starch encourages algae, which rob the water system of oxygen and eventually suffocate plant and fish life. Recycling the polystyrene pellets is actually the path of least environmental damage, Dr. Rhodes says.

Conventional "green" wisdom falls short. And this case is no exception. In trying to make a product less detrimental to the environment on one level, says Rhodes, whose company is one of the country's largest independent certifiers of environmental claims, manufacturers may create secondary but greater problems.

The solution to consumer confusion over misleading "green" claims is in sight, however, Rhodes says. This autumn SCS's "environmental report card," a cradle-to-grave inventory of a product's burden on the environment, will appear on products that companies want independently certified.

"It's a revolutionary disclosure step," Rhodes says. Like the nutritional label that came about after a long period of false claims by the food industry, the report card will tell consumers that not all recycled products are good for the environment, he says.

Some critics of the report-card concept wonder whether consumers will be able to cope with the new level of detail, which goes far beyond current labels - some verified independently - touting products as "recycled" or "biodegradable."

Another concern is whether these studies are really definitive.

Factors going into the production, use, and disposal of a product are so complex, says Douglas Blanke, a member of a 10-state Attorney General task force on environmental advertising, that "it is simply beyond science's ability today to reduce all that to an overall single score or a single conclusion."

Green Report II, put out by the Attorneys General in May 1991, concludes that companies should do life-cycle assessments of products for their own internal use and to improve product design, but "using such assessments now to make comparisons between products" is "misleading."

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has produced draft guidelines for life-cycle assessment methodology, but is silent on its application. In contrast, in Europe, Scandinavia, and Japan governments are taking the initiative in defining environmental standards for manufacturers.

A second area of contention, is how much consumers want to know. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Eco-Labeling Takes Scientific Leap Forward but Will Consumers Digest So Much Detail on Waste and Pollution? RATING GREEN PRODUCTS
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.