Green product

March 18, 2019

What Is A Green Product?

By Michael D. Shaw

A cheeky answer to that question would be: If the seller calls it “green,” then it is. These days, though, people want a wee bit more depth. Before we delve into this matter, I offer an anecdote, indicative of how product definitions occasionally work…

Some years ago, I attended a large trade show, devoted to safety products. As you might expect, the exhibitors included glove and safety shoe manufacturers; suppliers of personal protective equipment such as earplugs and hard hats; and makers of a variety of instruments to measure toxic compounds in the workplace. But there was also one company showing its line of racking and shelving products. Curious, I asked one of the salespeople: “How are these safety products?” He replied: “You can store your safety equipment on these racks and shelves.”

As to the definition of a “green product,” a number of academic papers including this one lament that there is no universally accepted delineation of this term. Still, the paper cited does list 51 definitions found in the literature from 1975 through 2017, some of which are for closely-related terms. One of the more rational and succinct definitions comes from this 2016 paper by Andrea Moser: “Generally, green products are defined as products that are less or not at all harmful for the environment in comparison to a substitute of the same product category.”

Most authorities consider “green product” and “sustainable product” to be synonymous. And, many—including Matthew Speer—suggest that the consumer rely on certification bodies such as Green Seal to help find the right stuff. However, there are several classes of products that are not yet certified in this manner. Kudos to Green Seal, though, since unlike just about any other NGO, its standards can be downloaded free of charge.

Then, there are those academics who might be accused of taking things too far, as in an article from 2016, entitled “There Is No Such Thing as a Green Product.” The authors argue that instead of considering a product to be green in itself, it makes more sense to figure its “net green” value: “The environmental benefits of green products are not that they somehow fix the environment or have zero impact, but rather that their environmental impacts are less than those of similar products.”

This sounds good in theory, but the calculus involved here can be complex, to the point of being unreasonable and impractical. Or as one might put it, “Paralysis by analysis.”

Sometimes lost in all this excitement over being green and sustainable is that the health and well-being of humans are also part of the picture. Indeed, the mission of our own EPA is to protect human health and the environment. Related to this are the activities of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), known for its Toxic Substances Portal.

It is certainly admirable if products are green, sustainable, and non-toxic. Which brings us to Healthy Human, a Charleston, SC-based company with a commitment to inspire you to Live Life Healthy, and contribute towards a healthier planet through its innovative and sustainable products. The company specializes in beverage bottles (steins) and tumblers, that are eco-friendly; green—if you will; and technologically a delight.

The products are all fashioned from 100% premium food grade 18/8 stainless steel, and the company even explains what that is. The products are also BPA-free, and offer enhanced insulation, for maximum maintenance of desired liquid temperature. Rounded corners are used throughout to discourage bacterial growth.

Complementing its products, Healthy Human offers its free Zero 2 Healthy Human program, aimed at helping anyone and everyone become a healthier version of themselves, even if they are starting from Zero.

I’ll give the final word to Healthy Human’s Founder and CEO Richard Stanton…

“To promote healthy living, consumers deserve products that are just as healthy to the life of the planet. Our steins are a durable, colorful, and green (for the environment, in any of our colors) way to achieve that goal. By complementing healthy living—by accessorizing that very lifestyle—we show that the good life looks great.”