10 Greenwashing Claims To Look-out For

10 Greenwashing Claims To Look-out For

(cover image credit: Sprout Video)

What is Greenwashing? 

Greenwashing? Nifty little trick where companies slap a bunch of green labels on their packaging and throw around buzzwords like "sustainable" and "eco-friendly" just to make you feel all warm and fuzzy about buying their stuff. Yep, they're banking on the idea that if they blind you with enough nature-themed advertising and vague environmental claims, you won't notice the not-so-green reality behind their products. It's the corporate version of sticking a salad on top of a giant burger and calling it "health food." Quite the magic trick, isn't it?

To Look-out For

  1. "Made with recycled materials" Well, just because something's been through the recycling merry-go-round doesn't mean it's doing Mother Earth any favors. I mean, in fashion? They're basically ending the life of plastic in the most stylish way possible.

  2. "Carbon neutral" Here is the thing, "I will go run 10 miles after eating this 1lb chocolate chips cup cake with icing on top to off set it. Therefore, I'm living healthy." Sure, it's better than nothing, but it doesn't erase the fact that there's still a whole lot of carbon foot-stomping going on.

  3. "Natural" Right, like that's clear as mud. A product being "natural" could still mean it's full of chemicals that could knock out a horse. And don't even get me started on the environmental toll it could be secretly taking.

  4. "Biodegradable" Sure, eventually it'll break down, but by the time it does, it might have already leached enough toxins into the earth to create a mini Chernobyl.

  5. "Recyclable" This is my favorite one. Just because it CAN be recycled, doesn't mean it WILL be recycled. Keep it mind, only 34.6% of waste in the U.S. will go into the recycle system, way less than half. AND only 75% of those waste are actually recyclable. So...

  6. "Sustainably sourced" Right, because every company out there has a tree-hugging team, meticulously ensuring each raw material is gently coaxed from Mother Nature. As if the entire manufacturing process isn't already tangled up with countless third parties that are practically impossible to track down.

  7. "Carbon-free" Now, this is the unicorn of eco-claims. It's more elusive than a yeti on a summer vacation. It's one thing to aim for it, quite another to actually achieve it. I mean...I am emitting carbon right now typing this blog.

  8. "Ethical" Ah, the catch-all phrase that sounds good but can mean as little as a politician's promise. It's a bit like claiming to be a 'good person' while robbing a bank.

  9. "Renewable" Yeah, because slapping the 'renewable' label on something is an immediate halo, right? Bamboo's renewable, but clear-cutting entire forests to grow it isn't exactly a green thumbs-up.

  10. "Eco-friendly" The favorite word of marketing departments worldwide. It's as vague as it is overused. So always do your homework before buying something that claims to be 'eco-friendly'. Chances are, it's as eco-friendly as a plastic straw in a sea turtle's playground.

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