A few months ago we had to replace the light bulbs just outside our garage. We went to Home Depot, the local home everything store, and spent 20 minutes going through what seemed liked hundreds of options for bulbs. There were white, off white, yellow, colourful lights, lights that twinkle. There were LED lights, eco friendly lights, or just good old cheap light bulbs. We settled on the eco lights that they offered even though not only were they the most expensive option, but they were a lot more expensive than other eco light bulbs we had bought in the past, in particular in Europe. We bought them not only because they are more energy efficient, but largely because the promise that they would last many times longer than the cheap bulbs made the economics work out

When we got home we replaced one lamp with a cheap bulb that was left over from the previous owner and the other with our new eco bulb and went back to our business. Literally a couple of months later one of the lamps went out. We assumed it was the cheap bulb…but no, it was our new eco light bulb! We have already had to replace it a couple of times while the cheap bulb is still burning bright. So in this case, the cheap bulb is definitely the most ecological, and economical choice.

So my question now is what happened? When we lived in Cambridge UK we always used ecobulbs and loved them. They did exactly what they promised and for very little more price wise. Here in the US we try products that promise their eco credentials and seem to be constantly disappointed. The boxes promise all the right things (although it is difficult to tell because eco labels and many other words such as 100% natural are not regulated here in the US) but when we open the box it isn’t what we expect. How can we expect consumers to make the right choices if we are making it pretty much impossible for those same consumers to do so?

It is obvious that something needs to be done in the US when it comes to labelling and eco product quality. Don’t get me wrong, there are many products I have found here that work perfectly well and have all the eco credentials I am looking for. When I speak to locals they are constantly telling me that they don’t want any regulations, let the market be free. So what now? Any thoughts from my US readers?