Robyn Griggs Lawrence, editor in chief of Natural Home & Garden magazine, answers reader questions about her magazine, the wabi-sabi movement, and getting rid of elder box bugs in InterActivist today. She answers a question about user-friendly labels evaluating the environmental impacts of products and brings up the issue of cost for many small companies:

Q: Are you supportive of the concept of developing scientifically robust yet user-friendly expanded labels evaluating the environmental impacts of products? Ideally, this “label” would provide us with a “thin slice” of summary information on the product’s lifecycle to make it easy and quick to use. — Deborah Dunning, president, International Design Center for the Environment, Chapel Hill, N.C.

A: I think this would be fantastic! I love that we’re seeing more green certification — in everything from forest products to fish. Most of our readers say they do want to be better informed about life-cycle issues and manufacturing processes, but they don’t have the time or the resources to investigate every single one. I like to think that the transparency such a label would create could make a big difference in how a lot of products are made — and disposed of. (Campaigns like the recent “Green the iPod” from The Green Guide — calling for the iPod to be fitted for an easily replaced and recyclable, toxic-free battery — are great for making people aware of the full life-cycle consequences of ubiquitous products that they might not think about.) The challenge, as you know, is to make green labels and certification affordable for smaller companies. I’d love to know your thoughts on how to address that sticky issue.

Luckily we have just such a place for readers to discuss green issues! Let us know what you think.

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