Buy more to consume less! Duh?

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

This just does not compute now, does it? Buying more to consume less is an oxymoron and a contradiction in terms, for sure. Or is it just me?

However, this does seem to be the message that is being sent out by green retailers all over the globe.

You have to have this item or that, so they suggest, in order to really be green and environmentally friendly, and such.

The entire issue about "Green Consumer Day", or as it even a week, I wrote my thoughts about it at the time last year, is in the same league. It was all about reducing our impact and we are then encouraged to go and shop.

It is going from the ridiculous to the sublime and claims that are made about the greenness of some products are just so outlandish that it is no longer funny. The problem is, though, that too many people who wish to buy “green” and environmentally friendly products are being misled.

Bamboo is one of those but I do not want to keep flogging a dead horse and therefore I shall not repeat what I have said now many a times.

We also have the claims that trees will be saved if you don't use paper. Will they? The truth is that many trees in forests across the country and indeed the globe only exist because they are grown for the paper industry.

Even worse and falser is the claim that by not using paper you protect the tropical hardwood forests. Most paper is not made from hardwoods and especially not tropical ones. Such wood would also be far too expensive for the paper industry.

Paper is – primarily – made from softwoods, e.g. conifers, such as pine, spruce, and “softwood” from one or the other deciduous tree species, and those trees are grown specifically for the paper industry with the exception, it would appear, of where Kimberly Clark operates in Canada. There they seem to be cutting down old forests without even as much as a thought of replanting.

The consumer be advised to do his or her research as to the environmental benefits and other claims of the “green” vendors.

Let the buyer beware, as they used to say.

© 2011