When discussing environmentalism, sustainability, and pollution, plastic is a polarizing material. Despite its widespread use and manufacturing benefits, plastic is often regarded as a terrible material that is destroying the planet with waste. While it’s true that plastic sustainability is not where it should be, plastic is far more environmentally friendly and sustainable than most people think. The sad truth is that many people are deceived into boycotting plastic and investing in “sustainable alternatives” due to rampant greenwashing and other misleading advertising. Greenwashing is one of the biggest issues with plastic sustainability and it will only become more prominent if left unchecked. That is why the experts at Change Plastic for Good have put together some information to help you understand what greenwashing is and why it is so damaging.
What is Greenwashing?
Also known as “green sheen”, greenwashing is a deceptive form of marketing that is used by various companies and corporations to persuade the public that their products, aims, and policies are environmentally friendly. Most companies utilize these strategies to distance themselves from the environmental lapses of their suppliers and competitors. For example, companies that use greenwashing tactics might make claims that their products are made from recycled materials or have energy-saving benefits. Although some of these environmental claims might be partly true, companies engaged in greenwashing typically exaggerate their claims or the perceived benefits to mislead consumers. In many cases, companies spend more money on their greenwashing efforts than they do on actual environmental initiatives, making it a detrimental and wasteful practice.
While greenwashing is not new by any means, it has become more prominent in recent years to meet the consumer demand for environmentally friendly goods and services. The term “greenwashing” originated in the 1960s when hotels participated in the “Save the Towel” movement. Hotels would post notices in rooms asking guests to reuse their towels to reduce environmental impact. In reality, all this did was reduce laundry costs for hotels while providing no environmental benefit. Greenwashing has since evolved into far more sophisticated tactics that can be extremely difficult to spot.
What Makes Greenwashing a Bad Thing?
Unfortunately, greenwashing is so much more than a case of misleading advertising. Products are greenwashed through a process of renaming, rebranding, repackaging, or a combination of multiple elements. Greenwashed products might convey the idea that they’re more natural, wholesome, or free of chemicals when compared to competing brands. This makes it extremely difficult for consumers to accurately determine which products are truly environmentally friendly. While some greenwashing is unintentional and some products are truly green, most greenwashing is intentional and detrimental to true sustainability. That is why it is crucial for consumers to be skeptical about a product’s environmental claims and analyze them carefully to determine if they are true or false.
To raise awareness of greenwashing and give consumers the information they need to make an informed purchase, the team at Change Plastic for Good has started the Thunderforce movement. This movement is dedicated to spotting examples of greenwashing and holding companies accountable for their environmental claims, helping consumers make informed decisions for the products they buy and the brands they support.
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.