Nothing beats putting 'eco-' in front of your product name to generate utterly cynical marketing credibility. The average consumer is presumed to believe that the manufacture and distribution of a product without the eco- prefix has left a trail of environmental disaster in its wake.
But add those three magic letters and the marketer conjures a kind of damage reversal; and an enviro-pixie waves a wand of green fairy dust every time you buy it. Eco batteries. Eco downlights. Eco bananas, with machine-dipped red wax tips. Yesterday I saw a product in the bathroom department called Eco-Ply. Enough said. Every time you flush, a forest grows somewhere.
But eco- is not new. It pre-existed the green religion. I came across it in an old cookbook.
Half cup sugar.
¾ cup dessicated cocoanut (sic).
¾ cup rolled oats.
Small piece butter.
Mix well with beaten egg, and drop in teaspoonful on baking sheet. Bake in slow oven 20 minutes.
From The Leader Spare Corner Book, Leader Publishing, Melbourne, 1930. ('Spare Corner' was a weekly column in The Leader newspaper and the book was an annual collection of recipes published in book form. The year of publication suggests the eco prefix stood for economy.)