Dishwasher Dilemmas

By Daniel Pedersen, Ph.D., Director of Science & Standards

New headshot2Which Dishwashers and Washers Are  Better: High Heat or Low Temperature ?
A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from Cerise Bridges, our Certification Specialist, who conducts certification reviews for service providers: hotels and cleaning companies. She makes sure that our certified service providers meet the requirements in our standards, but she also hears from clients about the challenges they face. This email posed a question that often comes up from Green Seal-certified hotels, because our standard, GS-33, does not address this issue directly:

“Low temp laundry and dishwasher systems vs. high temp systems. With the low temp systems hotels can save energy and water but health codes will usually require them to use a sanitizer or chlorine bleach. The high temp systems use more energy and water but bleach is not required. Hotels are conflicted and ask which is better – using more chemicals but saving energy and water or using fewer chemicals.”

So… seems like a simple question, right? But as it usually turns out when talking about sustainability, the answer is: “It Depends…” Or more to the point: “There’s no Single Right Answer (TM)
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My So-Called Environmentalist Life

By Brie Welzer, Marketing & Communications Associate

Best HeadshotI began my work at Green Seal only ten short months ago (Sept. 2012), happily combining my previous positions in environmental consulting and science communications.

In my career and personal life since I can remember, I’ve considered myself an environmentalist:  an enthusiastic girl scout in grade school, a science major in college, a forever fan of recycling, etc.
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Green Seal – Not Simply a Certifier…

By Arthur Weissman, Ph.D, Green Seal President/CEO

Arthur-ColorAs long as I’ve been at Green Seal, I’ve found it difficult to give people a satisfactory cocktail-party response when they ask where I work and what I do. I can say, of course, that Green Seal is an environmental certification organization or ecolabeling program, and (when I get blank stares) that we identify green products and services through our seal of approval. But that doesn’t really explain what we try to do or why – just how we do it. And I don’t think it does justice to Green Seal’s actual mission and purpose.

In truth, I think about Green Seal’s work in pretty grand terms. We’re really about helping to make the economy more sustainable in order to protect our world and everything living within it. To achieve this goal we focus on greening the outputs of the economy, its products and services. We consider the entire supply chain and production process, as well as the use and end-of-life phases, for each category of product or service. Hence, our standards, upon which certification is based, address many different aspects of the economy as it affects human health and the environment.
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Worldwide Web of Ecolabels

By Linda Chipperfield, Vice President of Marketing & Communications

Linda-colorHave you heard about the Nordic Swan? How about the German Blue Angel or the Eco Mark in Japan? Did you know that there are over 110,000 products and services independently certified as having a reduced environmental footprint, offered by over 12,000 companies worldwide? These certifiers are part of The Global Ecolabelling Network, the worldwide environment’s best kept secret.

The Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN) is a non-profit association of third-party, environmental performance recognition, certification, and labeling organizations. These are Type-1 ecolabels as defined by the ISO 14024 Standard, Environmental Labels and Declarations – Type I Environmental Labelling – Principles and Procedures. What this means is that the programs are voluntary; they use multiple, life cycle-based environmental criteria; they are transparent in their development process; and they employ independent, third-party verification. Continue reading “Worldwide Web of Ecolabels”

Welcome to the GS Blog.


By Brie Welzer, Marketing Associate

Best HeadshotWelcome, sustainability professionals, environmentalists, and green business wonks to the Green Seal blog!

We are excited to launch this informative and captivating forum. Through this blog, we hope to share lessons learned and helpful habits developed over years of ecolabeling and environmental work.

Various Green Seal team members will discuss innovative technologies, describe the context of ecolabeling, define confusing terms, and delve into various aspects of green marketing. You will also hear from many of our partners who help us achieve our mission, true game-changers in various industries. Already posted below, learn about Green Seal’s accomplishments over the last twenty years from our CEO Arthur Weissman, and become more familiar with VOCs in a post written by our Vice President of Certification Mary Swanson.

We hope you find this forum useful and enjoyable. We look forward to hearing your reactions, and learning from your sustainability stories as well.

Transforming the Marketplace for Over 20 Years

Arthur-ColorBy Arthur Weissman, Ph.D, Green Seal President/CEO

I am delighted to welcome you to this inaugural Green Seal blog!  Green Seal is excited that social media allows us to reach our constituencies more effectively, including the consumer – who is responsible for 70% of the economy.

As a child (and son of a doctor), I received a desk tray with a curious quote on it:  “Medicine is the only profession that labors incessantly to destroy the reason for its own existence.”  I found this juxtaposition of diligence and self-sacrifice both intriguing and admirable.  (I wish I could say this adage is what deterred me from becoming a doctor, but I was not so clever.)

In many ways, the environmental field and all groups like Green Seal with environmental missions have a similar built-in sunset.  If we succeed, we don’t need to practice anymore.  If the economy and society truly become sustainable, we can all pursue the arts.

Needless to say, we haven’t gotten there yet.  On a global scale human society continues to cause climate change, pervasive toxic pollution, habitat and species loss, and resource depletion.  In the developed countries, consumption exceeds the capacity of our planet to provide for and sustain our lifestyles.  And we are still learning how to assess the environmental and health impacts of our everyday activities and how to design a more sustainable economy.

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Hold the VOCs, Please


By Mary Swanson, Green Seal’s Vice President of Certification

MaryEditors’ Note: This is the first in a series about how we look at chemicals and chemical products.

Like people, chemicals have character traits, including whether they are calm and easy going or volatile. Volatile people are more likely to fly off the handle; volatile chemicals are more likely to fly off into the air. Continue reading “Hold the VOCs, Please”