Welcome to our Green Products Standard To make it easier for you to understand why a particular product is considered 'Green', we have developed a Standard. This Standard is applied to every product we sell. The Standard addresses the total 'lifecycle' of a product in a manner that is simple to understand, yet comprehensive enough to be of value.
We call them the Green Products Standard and you can refer quickly to our basic rating found on every product picture. For those who want to dig a little deeper, we provide a complete online review too.
At the very least, you can be sure that every item on BuyGreen.com has been thoroughly analyzed and researched, and meets or exceeds this Green Products Standard.
With this in mind, outlined below is an overview as to how our ratings are structured. This detailed information allows you to better understanding what the Green Products Standard mean to you, to your family, to your organization, and to the environment.
Our Green Products Standard: each product we sell is reviewed and rated in respect to its environmental impact. The four key areas that we look at are: 1). Source Material, 2). Manufacturing, 3). Usage, and 4). Disposal. We refer to these as the product Lifecycle. In this way, each product is rated from a 'cradle to grave' perspective.
As you look at each product on our site, you will see our rating emblem with all four Basic Lifecycle elements displayed as circles inside a box (see above). If the product meets or exceeds the minimum criteria of that element the applicable circle will be displayed in color. If it does not meet the Standard, the circle will be displayed in grey.
The Score: Additionally, we provide an overall score for each product. The score is displayed on the photo of the product, along with the four Basic Lifecycle ratings (the circles in a box above). The higher the score, the better the product's positive impact on your life, and on the environment. The scores can range between 1, meaning fewer positive 'Green' attributes, and 100 having many positive attributes. The score is an easy way for you to compare products.
An important perspective to keep in mind is that if a product is on our site, it is fundamentally better for the environment than a traditional product. So whether a product scores a 92 or 32, or meets just 1, or all 4 of our Basic Lifecycles elements, it is still a better alternative.
The four Basic Lifecycle Standards are described in greater detail below.
The Green Standard sub-elements: each Basic Lifecycle Standard has sub-elements that affect the product's score. We accumulate the assigned scores for each sub-element in each Basic Lifecycle, and if the score exceeds our minimum score for that Basic Lifecycle, than it will be displayed in color.
The following is a descriptive analysis of each of the Basic Lifecycle Standards and its supporting sub-elements:
Detailed Review of Basic Lifecycle Standard and their sub-elements:
Source Material: Simply put, what is the product made from?
General Overview: In general, this standard looks at the material(s) in the product in three distinct areas and quantifies the amount of the overall product.
- Toxins: Are there any Toxicants? This is a minimum standard. If there is a prohibited toxicant that is present, or that toxicant exceeds our allowable dosages, the product will NOT be sold on BuyGreen.com. Click here for a list of the Toxicants we review.
- Raw material: What is the product made from? We look at three potential types of source materials and assign a percentage to each area. Each of these three sub-elements receive a proportional score based on the percentage of the content.
- Natural and Organic: Is the content Natural? This is intended to be broadly interpreted. Next we ask, is the content Organic? If it meets this first requirement, it then may also receive additional credit for being Organic too. As an example, Cotton is Natural and can be Organic too.
- Sustainable: Is the material from a sustainable source? To score for this element, there must be some percentage of sustainable content. As an example, bamboo is a source material that has good sustainable qualities.
- Recycled: How much of the content is made of recycled material? And how much of the recycled material is Post-Consumer? These are measured as a percentage. As an example, there are a number of products that are made from recycled paper, or chopsticks or old billboards as just a few potential materials that get used again in BuyGreen.com products.
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Manufacturing: How is the product manufactured?
This Basic Lifecycle element looks at the manufacturing and delivery of the product. We make comparisons to like products. We rate the product in this Basic Lifecycle based a 'like' manufacturing benchmark with the following relative measures; Good - above the benchmark, Average - no difference, or Below - less or worse than the comparison benchmark. A weighted numeric value is then assigned to each sub-element.
This Lifecycle element looks at the manufacturing of the product in these areas:
- Animal Testing: is there any testing done on animals? This is a minimum standard and is an absolute. If it fails this sub-element, it will NOT be carried on BuyGreen.com irrespective of any other attributes.
- Resource Consumption: does the manufacturing process have an adverse impact on resources - as it relates specifically to the overall manufacturing process. In other words, are there additional resources required in the manufacturing process? If there are, how does this compare to traditional Manufacturing methods for like products? A good example is paper manufacturing which is resource intensive and requires the significant use of water as one example, to manufacture the product.
- Energy Consumption: what is the energy required to manufacture and deliver the product? We look at this from two perspectives, Product Production, and Transportation and Shipping. As an example, we have a manufacturer that takes scrap wood from a local lumberyard and uses it to generate electricity through steam. This manufacturer has gone to considerable lengths to reduce their traditional energy consumption. There are certainly many other good, but less involved examples from suppliers we work with today.
- Pollution: what is the impact of manufacturing as it relates to polluting our environment? We look at this from two perspectives, Air and Water. The comparative impact on both air and water will each receive a rating. As an example, one of our manufacturers has a closed loop water process and has essentially eliminated their water pollution. Further, they have significantly reduced their water consumption as an added benefit to adopting this process.
- Packaging: how much packaging is used and what is the packaging made from? We have a number of manufacturers that have eliminated traditional packaging, or significantly reduced the amount they use today. Using recycled or sustainable materials for your packaging are good ways of creating a positive impact from a comparative perspective to traditional products.
- Company Evaluation: how does the company approach what we believe are their four 'key stakeholders'; their customers, employees (including workers in their supply chain), the environment, and the communities in which they do business? This is an absolute measure and either they meet our minimum requirement, or they do not. There are a number of other organizations that provide and accreditation that also looks at all four stakeholders or portions there of. We provide information about these additional certifications when it applies to a given rating.
Usage: How is the product used and what is its effect on the environment?
This Basic Lifecycle element looks at the product from a usage perspective. Does it have a positive impact on the environment? We look at four key areas. Like the last Basic Lifecycle, we rate the product on a comparative perspective to traditional products too, using relative measures: Good - above the benchmark, Average - no difference, or Below - less or worse than the comparison benchmark.
These sub-elements apply to products that are intended to have the following uses:
- Reduce or eliminate material consumption: does the use of this product reduce or eliminate consumption of other materials? Reusable water bottles are a good example of some potentially significant reduction or elimination of the massive amount of plastic bottles we use as a society today. This example can also have an impact on the next area of review, trash production.
- Reduce or eliminate trash production: does the use of this product reduce or eliminate trash? As an example, we have a product that instead of needing to be disposed of, can be used as compost or fertilizer when its intended usage is finished. There can also be a qualitative component to this element. For example, corn based products that are alternatives to traditional petroleum products, have a better outcome when disposed of using traditional methods.
- Reduce or eliminate toxicants in the environment: does the use of this product reduce or eliminate toxicants? As an example, we carry paints that as compared to traditional products, contain significantly less toxicants. Another example are a number of personal care products that also have significantly less, if any toxicants at all.
- Reduce or eliminate energy consumption: does the use of this product reduce or eliminate energy consumption? As an example, a number of our Solar products eliminate the need to use electricity.
Disposal: How is it disposed of and what is the impact?
How is the item disposed of, and what is the impact. This Basic Lifecycle Standard looks at the product from the end of its Usage, and how it can then be 'disposed' of. Pretty straightforward!
- Bio-degradable: does the product bio-degrade after it is disposed? We have numerous products that are bio-degradable when disposed of and this is clearly better because you can compost the material instead of disposing in a landfill or incinerator. Across all the products we offer, there is a range of how long some of these products take to bio-degrade, but only in a few examples is it longer than a year, and none nearly as long as a traditional product. Further, there are a few organizations that provide their own accreditation and when those details are available, we will pass that information along to our customers.
- Recyclable: can this product be recycled? This sub-element is two pronged, meaning either it can or can not be recycled. If Yes, what percentage of the product is recyclable? This element too has numerous examples of products that can be reused for either the same product, or something new. There are of course numerous potential scenarios that may create a condition where a product that can be recycled, does not actually get recycled. We provide significant weight to the characteristic that create the ability for the product to actually be recycled.
Hopefully the information above provides an overview of what we review and consider before we sell a product on BuyGreen.com. Our goal is to create an easy to use and consistent approach to why, and to what extent the products we sell are 'Green' and 'Eco-Friendly'. We believe that the environmental impact of your purchase decision should play an important role as to which product you choose to purchase. We trust our Standards and BuyGreen.com help make your efforts easier to buy eco-friendly products.
We certainly welcome questions and comments. Please feel free to send those to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
The Green Products Standard are Patent Pending
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