It Can Be Easy Buying Green

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Shoppers will soon be able to easily decide what to buy based on how eco-friendly products are.

Apparel companies and shoemakers are working on a new software tool called The Eco Index that tells consumers the environmental impact of an item based on a survey completed by companies and their suppliers, The Wall Street Journal reports.

In the same way that calorie counts on restaurant menus have helped diners decide what to eat, a comprehensive report measuring the carbon footprint of items could very well influence how Americans shop.

The index will measure the environmental impact of chemicals, crude oil use and pollution from shipping as part of clothes and shoe production. However, it’s still unclear when it will be available, according to the Journal.

And the index is likely to skew in favor of certain brands if they decide to take part in the program. A number of shoe companies already market green footwear. Here are a few of them:

•    Simple-brand shoes made of recycled plastic, paper and rubber start at $30.

•    Skateboard shoemaker Vans makes hemp and recycled plastic shoes for about $42.

•    Toms makes casual shoes out of recycled materials and they give a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair bought by a customer. They cost about $54.

•    Terra Plana high-heeled leather shoes are made from salvaged scraps and recycled plastic bottles and start at $50.

•    On the higher end, Olsenhaus makes stylish vegan shoes made out of recycled televisions for about $150.

Manufacturers hope to label items based on their Eco Index rating in the same way Energy Star appliances are labeled with a seal of approval, according to the Journal.

So while some of these so-called green shoes may sound eco-friendly, any pollution produced in the recycling process, or by breaking down TVs for their materials, will likely be taken into account and show in their rating, hopefully making the measure more than just a marketing ploy.

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