One Green Thing: Green living is made even harder by the fine print

By Jan Herbert
Rockford Park District

Whether you were “green” before the color was fashionable or whether you’re just ready to find the “shade” that works best for you, here’s information about doing just “one green thing.”

I take pride in my attempts at green living. So, when a friend was visiting recently, we were chatting about the products she had started looking at more closely, and I was confident my bases were covered.

However, when she came back from using the bathroom, she mentioned she had tried the hand lotion and liked it, but wondered if I had read the back of the container.

Of course, I had not, and luckily, that one was not so bad. However, the conversation continued and included looking at a hair mousse can. (It is non-aerosol, but unfortunately contains unpronounceable ingredients.)

I had just finished reading about the many products made outside the country (although often there is no language on the packaging that says that). Hershey’s (chocolate) has a plant outside the United States, but their packaging (what I looked at, anyway) does not say made in the U.S.A. It says distributed by the Hershey Company.

Colgate-Palmolive also has plants outside the United States. Where the toothpaste is made is unknown. My friend added, “and what is IN the toothpaste?” You guessed it — while made in the U.S., the contents include some ingredients I do not want to use.

So, when shopping, I have a new drill. I pay attention to the ingredients and whether or not they are safe for me, I examine where the company’s headquarters are, and I use my Internet-ready phone to see where they have locations/plants. I wonder if there is an app for that (on my “made overseas” phone).

For more information, e-mail Jan Herbert at

From the April 24-30, 2013, issue

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