Bath + Beauty

Published on March 4th, 2011 | by Wenona Napolitano


Where Did the Eco Go?

can of Freshaire paintTwo to three years ago eco was everywhere. Stores were offering eco-friendly products including home renovation stores like Lowes and Home Depot.

But now when I need these products I can’t find them.

I recently went to several of my local do it yourself home renovation stores looking for eco-friendly paint and I couldn’t find any eco products. Not one option. Not even something slightly eco. Oh the paint guy said the Martha Stewart Living paints are considered low VOC but that was it.

I wanted Freshaire, the no VOC paint that is eco-friendly in other ways as well. Their brochures and paint chips are printed on eco friendly recycled paper and can be recycled, the paint can is made from 100 recycled materials and can be recycled and the label on the can is made from 75% recycled fiber and printed with soy ink.

But no, nothing.

So there goes my eco dreams of redoing my bathroom as green as possible because the hubby is tearing everything apart this weekend and hoping to have it completely finished by Sunday night. We don’t have time to shop around because in a household of five we can’t be without a shower for long.

My question is where did all the eco go? Where are all the green products that filled shelves a couple years ago in the height of the green frenzy? Did they not sell well? Was there something wrong with them?

My husband blames the economy and interest in eco in the area we live. He said he doesn’t know anyone who cares about VOCs and how paint smells other than me. He also says people are going to choose what is cheapest and that they aren’t going to pay a couple extra dollars for something eco-friendly.

I guess that’s true, at least here in Flint, MI where the economy is worse off that in a lot of other areas of the country.

Have you seen a decline in green products on your local shelves or an increase? Are there still eco paints at your local home stores? I’d love to hear about how things differ from city to city and state to state.

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About the Author

Wenona is married with three crazy kids that range in age from 4 to 18. She is a freelance writer, poet and the author of The Everything Green Wedding Book.

She enjoys reading, writing, crafting and gardening. She tries to do all of these as “greenly” as possible.

Her writing has appeared in several local and regional publications, Pack O Fun, Today’s Creative Home Arts, and Indiana Living Green magazines as well as numerous online sites including,,, eHow, Associated Content, Suite101 and

11 Responses to Where Did the Eco Go?

  1. K.E. says:

    Must be that ‘eco’ is already old-fashioned. That is bound to happen when a serious matter develops as a fashion: it comes and goes, because at one point it doesn’t sell anymore. I stand to my principle that the real solution is not just buying more eco-friendly, organic, whatever products, it is to halt all the unnecessary consume.

    • Jsfreeman says:

      Yes, to halt all the e.g. excessive consume and consumerism. A very important point, with which I totally agree. But it goes against the popular and standard advise for our economy – that people need to spend and have money to spend – in order for our (capitalist) economy to recup itself and grow. How unfortunate.

  2. Tracey says:

    It is harder to find. Our Sherwin-Williams store still carries their brand Harmony. I talked to the manager and he said there is still a large demand for it – so I am hopeful it will stay around.

  3. Wenona says:

    So I found out that Freshaire is no longer being made because Home Depot was the exclusice distributor and they dropped the brand. I did find out that Glidden Premium and Martha Stewart Living paints are low to no VOC so we are going with Glidden paint.

  4. Erika says:

    Yea, I went to Home Depot also to find that and they still had some of it but not in many colors and I asked about it and they said they were phasing it out. No business ethics I guess.

  5. Wenona says:

    Yeah they said some stores still have some and are just selling out the remainder of the stock but no more is being made

  6. Marie says:

    Here in the Boston area, we still have some good options for environmentally-friendly and sustainable products. Along with Sherwin Williams Harmony option, we also have a store called Green Depot that makes it their entire business to be green and sustainable.

    I’ve never had much luck at Home Depot for either environmental products, or even basic ethics…so sadly I’m not surprised that they would take a Big Box view of profit over environment. Lowe’s seem to have a slightly greener profile, but really not by much.

    When I’ve traveled away from the North East, I’ve been struck by how little attention is being paid to greener, healthier more environmentally-friendly products. Sad to say…very sad!

  7. Amy says:

    I live in PA and the Lowes has a zero VOC paint, the brand is Olympic.

  8. that’s really unfortunate. can you get some online? (i imagine you’ve looked, but just in case…)

  9. Vwhippielu says:

    I work at a Lowes store in Virginia and I see new “green” products coming in every day. Lots of brands are also changing their labels to highlight the products green qualities or changing materials to make the same product greener, such as paint brushes now being made with bamboo handles. I am glad someone mentioned Olympic premium paint because it is the most cost efficient zero VOC paint available.

  10. Jan says:

    Olympic Primium paint at lowes as no VOC. I use it all the time!!

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