How Do You Define “Green”?

Recently Joy and I were interviewed by a reporter who wanted to articulate the difference among all the eco-terms out there: natural, green, non-toxic, organic, etc. Our conclusion? Most people use these words interchangeably! The word “green” is especially slippery. When we use it here on the Green Baby Guide, we’re usually referring to something that helps the planet by limiting our impact on it. However, more and more we see people equate “green” with non-toxic—even when the product in question may not be “green” in other ways. (A sulfate-free shampoo in a small, non-recyclable bottle, for example.) So now we’re wondering: when you use the term “green”—what do you mean?


  1. You mean, other than the color? 😉

    I’m with you, I equate ‘green’ with ‘easier on the planet’.

    One thing that does drive me crazy is when people conflate ‘natural’ with ‘safe’. Just ’cause something is natural doesn’t automatically make it a safer greener product. For example, snake venom is very natural. Not very safe. Red tide toxin – natural but not at all safe!

  2. I use green to mean both less toxic to humans and better for the earth. In my opinion, natural often intersects with green (breastfeeding, bed-sharing, less consumerism), but does not equal green.

    I will also admit that I am much more focused on reducing my kids’ exposure to toxins than saving the planet, although I try to do both. Of course, what’s bad for humans is usually bad for wild animals and ecosystems, so by not using toxic chemicals, you are helping out the earth too.

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