Earth Friendly?

Over at Garden Rant Michele laments her local Home Depots attempt to be more “Earth Friendly”. Home Depots new Eco-Options program where The Depot says it “has identified more than 2,500 Eco Options products, including all-natural insect repellents, cellulose insulation, front-load washing machines, organic plant food and vegetables in biodegradable pots. The wide array of Eco Options also includes compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs, programmable thermostats and certified wood.”


Michele’s observations of her local Home Depot seem to be worse than our local Home Depot. Judging by her photos her store is a lot less organized than our local store. I too noticed the “Eco-Options” plant stand filled with vegetables grown in fiber pots. Nowhere on the stand did it mention they we’re organically grown but according to Home Depots press release they are.


What I find interesting is how “Eco” is thrown around like some magic word that will appeal to the consumer. According to Michelle “there was also a prominent rack with an awning that said ‘eco-options’ and labels that promised ‘earth-friendly’ vegetables. It was utterly bare except for a pair of bedraggled herbs.” What is "earth friendly" suppose to mean? “Eco-options” and “earth friendly” could be applied to just about anything the company wants.


Many companies want to jump on the environmental bandwagon. They see big money. We should applaud companies for being less wasteful and more conscious of how they affect the environment but to say that their products are “earth friendly” means nothing. Who decides what is “earth friendly”? How is planting a vegetable plant grown in a fiber pot any more of an "Eco-choice" than someone who plants a vegetable plant using a re-usable plastic pot?


The consumer will soon become jaded to all these ecological terms. The best way for our garden center to gain the consumers trust is to not start labeling everything "Eco". It really no longer means anything. Better to offer our “Certified Organic Vegetable” starts and our organic fertilizers as they are than to label them “earth friendly”.