By Ron Jarvis, Vice President of Environmental Innovation

I am often asked, “What is Eco Options, and why does The Home Depot have this program?”

The Eco Options program identifies products that have less of an impact on the environment than comparable standard products. Our intentions are to make it easier for customers to identify which purchases will help them reduce their environmental impact.

One thing I have learned over the past 12 years of environmental product management is that the boundaries surrounding environmental claims are rarely clearly defined. To me, the confusion is usually created by single-attribute environmental claims. An example of this is the claim on a plastic handled tool stating the product is “environmentally friendly” because the handle is not made of wood. For this tool to be an Eco Options-classified product, the supplier would have to present a detailed 3rd-party report illustrating the life cycle assessment of the tool handle that proves the plastic has less of an impact on the environment than a wood handle.

Until all industries create and abide by a reporting formula that measures an all-encompassing sustainability formula, we will utilize the Eco Options program to help you sort through the “green” claims.

Awareness of the challenges facing the environment is at an all-time high, but that awareness prompts a profound question in people: What can I do?

The answer to that question lies in our everyday actions. Just knowing the impact of certain products or behavior may help us all to make better decisions regarding energy use, water consumption and healthy homes. With thousands of people going through our doors on a daily basis, The Home Depot is in a unique position to educate and influence our customers on products that are good for them, good for the environment and good for our economy.

Our purpose of this Eco Options blog is to continue the education on sustainable products and to offer you insight to real solutions that lessen your environmental impact through your everyday purchases. We will use this venue to showcase product information from industry, manufacturers and other stakeholders so we may all be educated consumers.