Let the green shopping begins!

Market data provider Mintel is confirming what most consumers have been seeing in the retail market in the past several years: the bombardment of eco-friendly, sustainable and renewable-based products.

Mintel said 328 eco-friendly products were launched last year compared to 5 in 2002.

“Manufacturers have responded with everything from recyclable packaging to products that maintain the body’s health to entire brands that support environmental causes.”

Around 66% of American consumers surveyed are said to be looking at household paper products when shopping for eco-friendly products, according to Mintel, while 57% look for food, and 48% search for energy efficient appliances.

Major US retailers are especially making it easier for their customers to shop green by bringing in more choices this year.

JCPenney said they’re slapping their SimplyGreen label to a wide range of private brand merchandise to highlight the products’ greenness whether they be organic, renewable-based or recyclable.

For this Spring and summer, Wal-Mart’s offerings now include garden mulch made from recycled tires; organic fungicide spray; Forest Stewardship Council certified furnitures; biodegradable plant pots and solar-powered outdoor lighting.

Office Depot last week launched its Office Depot Green, a line of environment-friendly office supplies. The line includes recycled paper products, re-manufactured inks and cartridges, recycled-content chairs, non-toxic cleaning supplies, energy-efficient bulbs and other electronics/technology, lower-chemical content furnitures, and refillable writing instruments.

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