KANSAS CITY -- GreenerChoices.org, a website published by Consumers Union, evaluates green labels based on whether the labels are meaningful and verifiable; consistent from product to product; and the certifier is forthright about its motives.
Here's a look at some of these labels:
This logo is offered by Scientific Certification Systems, a neutral third-party group that evaluates products' claims of environmental sustainability and stewardship, as well as claims of food quality, safety and purity. You can find this label on biodegradable soaps, detergents and cleaners. By awarding use of this label, SCS verifies that the product doesn't contain phosphates, will biodegrade when used as directed and will not be toxic in water.
Another SCS label, indicating that hard-surface flooring products -- including linoleum and hardwood -- and adhesive products comply with rigorous indoor air-quality emissions requirements, including low levels of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.
This SCS label ensures that furniture, wall coverings, paints, cleaners and adhesives don't contain high levels of harmful chemical emissions.
You'll find the Green Seal logo on general purpose cleaners, carpet and rug cleaners, glass and window cleaners as well as toilet paper, paper towels and news-print. Green Seal is an independent certifying organization that has developed standards for evaluating the environmental claims of products, including its impact from manufacturing, use and disposal.
Wearing the GreenCheck logo means the Sierra Club has determined the manufacturer of the product makes a concerted effort at sustainability. The GreenCheck seal also can be awarded to businesses that work to leave little impact on the environment.
This logo comes from the Greenguard Environmental Institute, an industry group. It can be found on building products, such as hardwood flooring, tile, cabinets, air filters and furniture.
This label comes out of Canada but is recognized worldwide. The third-party certifier was established by the Canadian government in the late 1980s and verifies the environmental claims of a wide variety of products, from cleaners to building materials to furniture.
Found on Sherwin-Williams products, this label on paint or stain means the company assures consumers the product is environmentally responsible, a company spokesman said. Sherwin-Williams claims its GreenSure products are durable, require fewer coats of paint and have low VOCs.
U.S. Green Building Council
Companies that use this label comply with the nonprofit group's sustainability requirements for construction.
Green Shield Certified
Pest management businesses that practice integrated pest management use this logo. This form of pest control reduces or eliminates the use of pesticides.