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Think You're Green? Think Again.

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Photo by poloroid-girl via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr

You can't walk three steps down an aisle in any store without running into eco-friendly or "green" products. You probably have many of these products. Is your refrigerator or dishwasher Energy-star compliant? Do you have a paperless Kindle? Maybe bamboo guest towels in the bathroom? A Prius?

Why do you have all of these products? Is it because you care about the environment? It is? Really? Are you sure? It's okay if you say "no." I won't tell.

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Vladas Griskevicius, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management, and colleagues, think that something else might be going on. "People want to be seen as being altruistic. Nothing communicates that better than by buying green products that often cost more and are of lower quality but benefit the environment for everyone." In other words, green products are considered a status symbol; that they are environmentally friendly is an accidental side-effect.