Gen Xers grew up recycling in elementary school and I, at least, was told to scold my parents if they didn't recycle, too. Today when I attend conferences like Sage Summit this week, I'm happy when I see recycle bins and notes that the conference—and company—are going green. But it's not long before I found out that green has many shades.

The Denver Convention Center had places where I could discard my multiple bottles of Diet Mountain Dew, but they still served our wine in plastic cups.

Sage, which is trying to introduce more "paperless" options to its customers still proceeded to hand out thick booklets detailing their customer award winners—even though they appeared on stage and in press releases.

Nearly every vendor showcases their applications in the tradeshow tried to force pamphlets on me even though they had scanners to capture my information without even writing anything down. I refused to take anything and told them to email me the electronic versions of the same information. I'd be less likely to lose it or throw it in a garbage can in hopes it will disintegrate within the next century.

I admit, I print out a lot of paper, but I'm not claiming to be paperless or trying to recruit college students by telling them I'm green.

I recycle as often as I can and get annoyed when someone visiting my apartment throws their mail in my garbage can when my recycling bin is right next to it. I even take the stuff out of the trash.

When we introduced Accounting Tomorrow earlier this week, one of the topics we said we want to cover is green initiatives, and we heard some good feedback from firms that wanted to share what they were doing in the arena.

But I'm starting to wonder how green they really are. And who's measuring the results?

It's not easy being green.

If companies want to start any kind of green initiative, they may want to ask those in the younger generations to pitch in and keep them in line.