Beyond Recycling

 Joel Makower, author of The Green Consumer, is thinking of giving up:

It's only a matter of time before...the public recognizes that for every pound of trash that ends up in municipal landfills, at least 40 more pounds are created upstream by industrial processesand that a lot of this waste is far more dangerous to environmental and human health than our newspapers and grass clippings.

At that point, the locus of concern could shift away from beverage containers, grocery bags, and the other mundane leftovers of daily life to what happens behind the scenesthe production, crating, storing, and shipping of the goods we buy and use...

Truth is, there's no reliable way of judging the environmental commitments of companiesall companies, not just the ecogroovy brands we know and love. Ecolabels, activist watchdogs, and governmental regulatory schemes can't tell us. They focus on what is in the product, but not on the upstream activities involved in producing it.