Taking the green consumer to the cleaners

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Where we look at green and ethical online stores (an oxymoron on both counts) we see one attempt after the other to fleece the eco conscious shopper.

There are first of all the gadgets that really do nothing, such as the Eco Button (still being touted as a great thing), the reinvented glass bottle to carry your tap water, and the bamboo clothing and such which are not green at all. Then there are organic cotton jeans at £64 (US$90), a juicer at £549 (US$800+) and cotton tote bags at £15 (US$22). And this is only a small list of things.

I mean, I could carry on about the wall hooks made from tree branches at £35 each and similar such stuff.

The more we look at it the more we must come to realization that consumption of the ordinary kind has been replaced by greensumption. At least the green stores try to do that and in the process insist on taking the customers to the cleaners.

Greed is not ethical and it does not matter how one happens to dress it up and it is amazing that people actually fall for this.

But then, at times, it is, yet again, not surprising for so many green media outlets are in, what would appear to be, cahoots with the makers and vendors of those goods.

The Eco Button had such glowing reviews and then I had the opportunity to test one myself and what a load of rubbish, literally. Still, however, the Eco Button is being given rave reviews and I still wonder as to whether any of the reviewers has the slightest idea as to what they are reviewing or whether they actually ever have tried out that gadget.

And this, it would appear, is not the only one product that has been hyped like that. Bamboo flooring and bamboo clothing is yet another and while bamboo is a great material when goods are made from it in traditional methods, as they have always been in countries where bamboo is being used, bamboo fabric and bamboo flooring is not green and environmentally friendly at all.

I always thought that the idea of being environmentally friendly and green was also to mean that we would reexamine a lot more than just how much we derive our cars or how high we put our thermostat at home or in the office, etc.

Reduction in consumption, I thought, was to be part of this too and changing the way we used things. But we have now gone from general consumption to greensumption, the green version of shop till you drop and this just cannot be right.

And there are also many makers and vendors who are trying very hard to cash in on the “green” wave.

When we have recycled products such as the “belt lace” for something around seventy Pounds, which is basically money for old rope, literally, or thirty-five Pounds for a bit of tree branch made into a coat hanger, or the reinvented glass bottle for carrying your tap water for around twenty Dollars, etc.

We seem to be going just from one kind of consumption and ripping off consumers to another. It is still all about making a quick buck.

This, to me, is all wrong.

© 2010