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Why It's Hard to Shop Green

Kermit the Frog must be in his glory, what with all the green products being directed at consumers lately.

Advertisers would have you believe you can drive your Toyota Prius hybrid to Whole Foods, or Wal-Mart for that matter, to buy General Electric's energy efficient light bulbs . Some of Kellogg's Kashi brand Organic Promise cereal, and a few of Wal-Mart's own organic T-shirts before heading home to do some laundry in your energy-star qualified Whirlpool washing machine .

Then you can put your feet up (perhaps in some organic cotton slippers) and rest easy, knowing that you and those giant corporations are saving the Earth. It seems big corporations would like to have you believe that it is indeed quite easy being green if you just follow their lead with your money.

If only it were that simple.

Ellis Jones, a sociologist at UC Davis , wrote The Better World Shopping Guide because he believes that many Americans are trying to make more responsible choices with their shopping dollars and don't have any reliable way to do it when choosing between mass-market products in mainstream stores. "The information out there is very scattershot," he says.

"Green-washing," essentially the act of putting forth specious green advertising that at best has little substance behind it and at worst covers up corporate irresponsibility, is a major concern for both everyday consumers and environmental diehards.

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