Buyer beware: New survey looks at environmentally friendly products

Green buyers, beware: Many products that promise to be good for the planet aren't as environmentally friendly as they claim.

That is the main message of a new survey that examines a blizzard of consumer products from cosmetics to copy paper, aluminum foil to baby diapers, and finds that most exaggerate or fail to document their green credentials to one degree or another.

The survey, released under the title "The Seven Sins of Greenwashing," does not disclose which products it found deceptive. Instead, it cites common ways that manufacturer claims and product labels can mislead consumers, including the use of overly vague language such as biodegradable or natural. It also cites a failure to disclose less-than-obvious trade-offs in the manufacturing process, such as greenhouse gases emitted in the process of making paper.

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