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HOW TO SHOP GREEN

What to do

Now that you know that it makes a difference to buy products that are environmentallypreferable, how do you know which environmental claims to believe?

Look for the Green Seal, of course! The Green Seal Certification Mark - a blue globe with agreen check mark - assures consumers that the products bearing the Green Seal have met stringentenvironmental standards. Green Seal aims to give scientifically-based, unbiased advice. Productsare Green Seal-certified only after rigorous testing and evaluation. Underwriters Laboratories Inc.is the primary testing contractor for Green Seal.

The organization studies products to develop environmental standards for product categories,then submits its proposed standards to a public review process involving environmentalists,manufacturers, consumers, and government agencies. Green Seal's standards typically address theenvironmental impact of a product, its packaging, and its performance. And Green Seal considersthe impacts of a product from manufacturing through use to disposal or recycling.

Dean urges consumers to buy only what they need, and says people should be aware that whenthey make a purchase, they are sending a strong message to the manufacturer. "Buy a product thatmeets Green Seal's standards," Dean says, "and you are, in fact, casting a vote for the Earth withyour wallet." Use your purchasing power to tell manufacturers you care that the product was madein ways that cause less harm to the environment. They will listen and respond by making greenproducts more readily available.

San Diego Earth Times


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