Media

Published on December 29th, 2008 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

22

Five Greenish Products You’ve Seen on TV


shamwow

You know what I’m talking about: those direct marketing ads that offer products you’ve never imagined (and probably don’t really need) for $19.95 (and if you call now, you’ll get two of ‘em). Every now and then, one of these catches my attention… in the sense that “Hey… that’s kind of green.”

Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m not calling any of the products listed below “green” (nor am I endorsing them at all… from what I understand, caveat emptor always applies with these products). That would require some time-consuming due diligence to assess the products manufacturing process, materials, and lifecyle. But, in each case, the product’s selling proposition is based on conservation: use less of another product, make other products last longer, or use less energy, water, etc. These products do show that conservation sells… even if it’s not called that.

Without further ado…

[social_buttons]The ShamWow: “Holds 21 times its weight in liquid!” I haven’t tested that (or the product itself, for that matter), but the ShamWow could also nearly eliminate paper towel use if it works as well as the marketing claims. The greenest option for eliminating paper towels may be the rag bag, but, c’mon, this is pretty cool (but, yes, that spokesman guy is scary as hell!). Questions still to be answered in assessing “greeness”: material (a “rayon type of material” according to the website), manufacturing processes, end of life. The reviews are definitely mixed.

Save a Blade: “Save Hundreds on Razor Blades!” OK, that make take some time (though disposable blades aren’t cheap). But sharpening disposable blades to get up to 200 shaves… that makes financial sense, and also cuts back on blades in the trash. Given the ugly environmental impact of razor production, that’s a good thing. Questions still to be answered in assessing “greeness”: materials, manufacturing processes, energy use, origin of the product (I’m guessing “Made in China”), and end of life. Also gets mixed reviews. Treehugger took a look at a similar product, the Razor Saver.

The Snuggie: Who needs a sweater when you’ve got a blanket with sleeves? Better yet, who needs to turn up the heat…? Questions still to answered in assessing “greeness”: materials (“uper soft, thick, luxurious fleece” doesn’t tell us much), manufacturing process, place of origin, and end of life. JennyReviews took a test drive.

Accu-Pressure Safety Caps: This may be one of the best of the bunch (in concept, anyway) — caps for you tire valves that show when the tires are underinflated. Questions still to be answered in assessing “greeness”: materials (probably nearly all plastic), manufacturing process, place of origin, and end of life. Consumer Reports tried them out.

The Twin Draft Guard: “The Patented Double Sided Energy Saving Miracle.” Yeah, “miracle” is a big promise, but this seems like another one that could be really useful for keeping doors and windows from leading hot or cold air. Questions still to be answered in assessing “greeness”: materials, manufacturing processes, place of origin, and end of life. Energy Boomer reviewed it.

No, the Pocket Fisherman (showing my age there!), Hercules Hook, and Stick-up Bulbs didn’t make the cut… but let me know what I’ve missed. And if anyone can explain how the Neosocket could possibly help people save gas, I’m all ears.

Am I having a little fun here? You betcha! I will give it to the direct marketing folks, though: they know how to seize on opportunities, and consumers are clearly looking for ways to save money by reducing waste.  That’s something I can get behind in concept… of course, if these products are crap, that does no one any good. Looking forward to hearing what you know… fire away!

Note: none of the links above are affiliate links… not selling anything here!

Update: It turns out there are a few more products that fit the bill here, so, if you’re interested, check out “Five More Greenish Products You’ve Seen on TV.”

Image credit: BuyShamWowNow.com



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About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at



  • http://www.alittlegreenereveryday.com/ Robin Shreeves

    What is is about that stupid shamwow that sucks you in. We got rid of cable and get absolutely no tv reception because my boys would constantly see tv commercials for these type of products and come in and say, “Mom, we HAVE to buy…” One of the products was the shamwow. The other was that glass watering glove that you stick in your house plants.

    I know this piece is tongue in cheek, but it says something about the power of marketing that we all know what these products are and from time to time consider the fact that we might actually, really NEED them.

  • http://sustainablog.org Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

    Right, Robin… at the same time, these marketers are on top of what people want, and, thus, make a an excellent “barometer” of consumer culture… if they’re pushing products that have a conservation benefit attached to them, you can bet there’s a demand for it. _Not_ saying these products are the answer to that demand… might be good for budding (and legitimate) green entrepreneurs to keep an eye on these, though…

  • Papapop

    Robin, I just ended up getting the Shamwow for my brother for christmas and I must say it 100% works like the commercial, and I didn’t even think of using them for paper towels. This is now a must buy for me when I move out.

  • http://www.yahoo.com Bobby B.

    Is it just me, or does ShamWow’s spokesman remind anyone else of a Sleestak from the old “Land of the Lost” television series? BTW, Will Ferrell is slated to release a feature film (comedy version) of the show in 2009. That promises to be…interesting?

    As far as razors go, if you want a green shave you can still purchase a straight razor (better known as a cut throat) and old time shaving soaps. I started using double edge razors, a brush, and shave soap about five years to get a better shave and minimize multi-blade razor burn. I learned later that reducing my plastic and can-o-foam waster footprints was green. Oh well, even I can do something green unintentionally.

    Regarding the Neosocket, if squiggly CFL’s are a legitimate cure for AGW, why not an LED that plugs into a car’s cigarette lighter? I thought everyone knew that the cigarette lighter was/is a magic portal to an automobile’s ECM (engine control module), and that by simply plugging LED’s into them we can trick the ECM into exceeding its design parameters. ;-)

  • http://www.organic.today.com susie

    I want a REAL wow, not a sham one.
    Same goes for poo (real, not sham).

  • http://glueandglitter.com/main Becky

    Sham Wow! I just spent a good part of yesterday morning reading about Vince Offer. He’s an interesting fellow.

    The draft guard sounds sort of like a draft dodger! If you were going for the same effect but wanted to make it a bit greener, you can whip up your own pretty easily – maybe use some organic or second-hand fabric? Here’s a tutorial I found: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Draft-Dodger

  • http://sustainablog.org Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

    Oh, very cool, Becky… thanks for sharing that!

  • http://green-behavior.com/ Terri Ann

    I was watching the Sham Wow commercial the other day thinking the same thing. It’s a bit green. It is a reusable product and that concept is often greener than a disposable product – though more research is obviously necessary before supporting such a claim.

  • mary haze

    i run a dog rescue. needless to say, i’m NOT washing & re-using anything after i’ve cleaned up some of our messes with it. i’m with Bounty until the end. but we have no need for those draft guard thingies or the blanket with sleeves either. not with 18 big indoor dogs:~)

  • Michael Capizzi

    First off, I disagree with your assessment of the Sham-wow guy. Like him or not, he is _great_ at what he does. I saw him hawking something else and he was freakin’ hysterical.

    As for “other products you might have missed”, I don’t have a specific example, but there is a product that _needs_ to be made –

    A Universal Power supply that:
    1) can charge several devices
    2) is smart enough to recognize when there is no power draw on the charging end and and turn itself off.
    3) Extra credit for a device that could self regulate power consumption based on devices attached.

    I’m a software type, the natural enemy of hardware types, but if I had the chops, I’d be on that in a flash…

  • Flamegrape

    You should google “snuggie scam”. You really, really, really should. People who read your article will mistakenly think its a good idea to buy a snuggie. It is not. CAVEAT EMPTOR.

  • http://shamwow john Q Public

    If you watch the Sham Wow commercial closely when he pours the soda on the piece of carpet, picks it up and then sets it down there is liquid coming out the front. When he starts to put the Sham on it there is no liquid in front. Bad cut and paste with no attention to detail. SHAM, SHAM, SHAM!

  • john Q Public

    Snuggle up with some static electricity. Be careful using your laptop and removable storage devices with this lightning generator.

  • catherine

    I see that commercial and Vince makes me watch it. He cracks me up, big city east coast boy. I think he’s worth watching and the product is great.

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  • adan

    the shamwow is pretty cool. Though I can’t vouch for the commercial greatness….I don’t use it to sop up perfectly clean bowls in my kitchen that happen to be full of clean water, for example.

    Nor do I wear an earpiece/microphone in my kitchen.

    But the shamwow does work good for cleaning glass windows.

    Though I have found a good old “micro fiber” cloth will work a LOT better, it’s got those “micro fibers” that do a little bit of “scrubbing” leaving you to not have to scrub as hard/much ;)

    And well, after a couple washes, my sham wows seem to be “pilling” – I only rinse them out, wash them maybe once every clean up – perhaps it’s the warm water that does it? I don’t use fabric softener….and didn’t throw them in the dryer either…

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  • http://rachelreviews.com Rachel

    I always knew those late night TV guys were really just out to save the planet :)

  • http://mystarreviews.com/ Billy

    I’ll bet those shamwow towels would do a great job cleaning up after the next oil spill. Just think about all the innocent little animals they could save!

  • http://insanityworkoutreviews.net Shaun T

    You can always count on the infomerical industry to do what they can to protect the world and consumers ;-)

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