- Gaiam Blog - http://blog.gaiam.com -

5 Questions to Ask Before You Buy Something Green

Posted By Cheryl Terrace On September 28, 2009 @ 5:00 pm In Eco Decorating, Green Living | 3 Comments


What exactly is green about green design? It’s a very complex term. In fact, it’s so complex that I’d prefer “Conscious, Healthy, Thoughtful, Mindful, Authentic, Integrity Driven Environmentally Responsible Design” … but what a mouthful!

When I create a room or make a house a home for a client, I always do my homework to ensure that I’m using products that have enduring value and stand up to as many of my holistic values as possible: natural, local, handmade, nontoxic [1], sustainable, fair trade [2], energy efficient [3], …. The green word list goes on an on — so it’s getting harder for people to decipher who and what is genuine.

So where do you begin?

Ask these 5 questions before buying décor, furnishings or fashions — or any product sold as “green”

  1. What are the products made of [4]? Where and how were the materials procured?
  2. If made of wood [5], was it responsibly (and legally) harvested?
  3. How are the materials processed into finished goods?
  4. What is the environmental impact of making and using this product?
  5. What will happen to the product [6] after it’s served its purpose?

By taking simple steps, we begin to make more and more healthy choices. These choices open our minds — and hearts — to far-reaching possibilities.

It’s a good thing to go green [7] — just try and keep it authentic. So many companies large and small are ‘green’ (or greenwashed [8]) … and that can make our choices even harder. Yet pre-eco-buzz, there were companies like Gaiam [9] and my own company, Vital Design [10], that had walked the walk for a long time.

I started my firm in 1997, when not many people were interested in far-reaching environmental concepts. I struggled for years to explain how all of our collective lifestyle choices connect with the greater whole — both people and the planet. I believed then (and still believe) in always digging a little deeper. A product should be good for a person’s well-being and their home environment, great and small — so the word “green” really just isn’t big enough!

Article printed from Gaiam Blog: http://blog.gaiam.com

URL to article: http://blog.gaiam.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-buy-something-green/

URLs in this post:

[1] nontoxic: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/Detox-Your-Home-Best-5-First-Steps.html

[2] fair trade: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/FairTradeWhatagift.html

[3] energy efficient: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/Home-Energy.html

[4] What are the products made of: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/Summer-Rayne-Oakes-Interview.html

[5] wood: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/5TipsonBuyingEarth-FriendlyWoodFurnitureandLumber.html

[6] What will happen to the product: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/ResourceRespect.html

[7] go green: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/id/CAT00004

[8] greenwashed: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/5-Best-Ways-to-Avoid-Getting-Greenwashed.html

[9] Gaiam: http://www.gaiam.com/

[10] Vital Design: http://www.vitaldesignltd.com/

Copyright © 2007 Gaiam Community Blog. All rights reserved.