environmentalA new study finds that 71 percent of Americans now consider the environment when making purchasing decisions. This is up from 66 percent in 2008.

The Cone Communications study also found that a majority of Americans (71 percent) regularly read and follow instructions on how to use the “green” products they select, while 66 percent also indicated that they follow instructions on how to dispose of products properly.

Jennifer Meek of Enviro-Solutions, which manufactures a line of “environmental preferable” cleaning products called Proven Green, says consumers and companies that purchase goods have to view every product with a cradle-to-grave mentality.

"A green product may have less impact on the environment, but if not disposed of properly, it can just add to a landfill."

The survey also found that 85 percent of respondents would like manufacturers and other companies to offer better information regarding not only how to use products but how to dispose of them properly.

In addition, the survey noted that about three-quarters of those surveyed would like companies to do a more effective job of educating consumers regarding environmental terms.

"This confirms what the FTC believes: that there is a lot of misunderstanding about Green terminology in the market place," said Meeks. "We can hope that the new Federal Trade Commission [FTC] Green Guidelines will help address this issue.”

Also revealed by the study: consumers want companies to be honest about their green initiatives-even when those initiatives are limited.

Nearly 70 percent said they think it's OK for a company to not be "environmentally perfect" as long as it is honest about it. Conversely, 78 percent indicated they would boycott a product if they discovered the company had made a false environmental claim.