8 Common Logos and What They Mean

Everyone nowadays is trying to be organic, green savvy, healthy, energy efficient, earth friendly, super human environment saving heroes…and it can be exhausting!  There are so many organizations and companies out there trying to convince buyers that they’re all about chemical free and earth friendly products.  But how can you be sure?

I came across this list about a month ago and thought it would be great to pass along.  Here you will find a few of the most trustworthy eco-certification stamps that check out as being legit…for the most part…

The US Department of Agriculture

 The US Department of Agriculture:  You’ll find this label on various food and personal care items.  When you see this label, it means the product is free of hormones, antibiotics, genetic engineering, synthetic fertilizers, and most synthetic pesticides.  According to their rules, if a product bearing this label has multiple ingredients, at least 95 percent of them must be certified organic.  HOWEVER:  Some products still may contain certain synthetic pesticides.  There are loopholes in everything and many farmers can use certain chemicals on their products and still get the USDA seal of approval.

Rainforest Alliance

The Rainforest Alliance:  You’ll find this symbol on various food and produce.  The Rainforest Alliance is a nonprofit organization that “works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods.”  This label shows that various companies take actions to reduce water pollution, soil erosion, deforestation, and waste.  If the RA finds out certain pesticides were used, the company may be disqualified.

Energy Star

Energy Star:  Energy Star is a branch of the EPA, created to reduce energy consumption.  You’ll find this symbol on appliances, electronics, and many lighting fixtures.  Seeing this on your product means that a third-party agency has tested the product for energy efficiency.

Green Electronics Council

Green Electronics Council:  This nonprofit organization brings “focus to the special issues of electronics and sustainability.”  This logo is found on electronic devices, such as computers and monitors.  Products bearing the EPEAT logo must help in reducing toxic materials and must have a long life cycle.  Products are awarded a gold, silver, or bronze seal based on their efficiency.

Marine Stewardship Council

Marine Stewardship Council:  This organization creates standards for sustainable fishing and traceability, so naturally you’ll find this on seafood packaging.  This label means your food comes from fisheries that don’t contribute to over fishing or environmental degradation.  HOWEVER:  The factors that determine what “sustainable fishing” is have been criticized for being too broad and general.

Forest Stewardship Council

Forest Stewardship Council:  The FSC dedicates their efforts to the responsible care and maintenance of forests.  Various paper and wood products will bear this symbol.  Seeing this means the paper or wood company are acquiring their goods from suppliers that use sustainable forestry practices, such as erosion control and habitat preservation.


WaterSense:  WaterSense is an EPA program that promotes water efficient products, programs, and practices.  Water fixtures will bear this symbol if the fixture helps save on water costs.  HOWEVER:  Ironically, WaterSense partners with KB Home, a housing manufacturer that the EPA fined for violating the Clean Water Act.

Green Seal

Green Seal:  Both products and companies can bear the Green Seal logo.  Paper, paint, restaurants, hotels, and many other goods and services bear this symbol.  What it means depends on the product or service, but Green Seal has been helping organizations learn to be green…whether it be through energy efficient means or using less chemicals in products such as soap and paint.

Courtesy of Sierra Magazine.

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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