Common Examples of Greenwashing
From television ads to your local grocery store, greenwashing can be seen everywhere if you know how to identify it. While many consumers think of greenwashing as just another case of misleading advertising, the truth is that many companies are blatantly lying about their sustainability and environmental practices. Even worse, many of these companies are getting away with it. As a team that is dedicated to true plastic sustainability and raising greenwashing awareness, Change Plastic for Good knows how harmful greenwashing is. That’s why we have put together a list of some common examples of greenwashing to further raise awareness and help consumers make informed purchases.
Learn why greenwashing is a problem.
4 Types of Products That are Commonly Greenwashed
The following types of products are commonly greenwashed in various ways to make them seem like a more responsible and sustainable choice:
1. Food Products
Various food products from soft drinks to eggs often utilize greenwashing through their packaging or advertisements. For example, some soft drink companies like to utilize natural imagery in their ads and packaging to divert attention from their unsustainable plastic practices. Other examples of greenwashing can be seen through the use of vague terminology like “made with natural ingredients” or “vegan approved”. If a product is truly sustainable, it will have a certification from a relevant body like PETA and it will not need to rely on vague terminology.
2. Consumer Electronics
Many consumer electronic manufacturers use greenwashing to divert attention away from their excessive consumption of plastic, lithium, metal, and other resources. For example, you have likely seen electronics that emphasize their energy efficiency and how great this is for the environment. While this can be true, these benefits do not override the poor sustainability practices or bad track record of the manufacturer.
When shopping for clothing, you will likely see the phrase “made with recycled materials” several times from various brands. Although it is true that a lot of clothing utilizes recycled materials, this amount is typically only around 5% for most brands. This means that the other 95% of the shirt, jacket, or pair of pants is made with entirely new materials. When choosing clothing, look for manufacturers that are certified as sustainable or those that have a proven track record in terms of environmentalism and sustainable practices.
Many furniture items also fall victim to the phrase “made with recycled materials”. This phrase is commonly used in reference to the wood, but it can also apply to the metal, plastic, or fabric elements. In many cases, the manufacturer won’t specify what this phrase applies to, making it a clear sign of greenwashing. Some manufacturers also utilize excessive logging practices to produce their furniture only to use these same trees and other natural elements in their advertisements and branding to divert attention away from this. When choosing furniture, it is best to watch for misleading claims about materials or manufacturing and to do your research on the manufacturer.
To learn more about greenwashing or Thunderforce, get in touch with the team at Change Plastic for Good. We can be reached through our online contact form and will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding BDP® or the movement to raise greenwashing awareness.