Have You Been “Greenwashed”?

Greenwashing is a marketing ploy designed to make a product appear sustainable and/or environmentally safe when in fact it is not.  Often packaging, labeling, and advertising use terms such as “natural, earth-friendly, eco- friendly dermatologist-recommended, fresh scent, plant-based, no harsh chemicals, and even hypoallergenic.  Packaging and advertising will usually have lovely nature and floral themes embedded throughout.

I fell for this recently when I purchased laundry detergent sheets online.  The description said all plant-based ingredients, unscented but with a fresh scent.  No specific ingredients were listed.  It was the cheapest choice and then I found on arrival this product was made in China, another red flag.  On arrival that “fresh scent” was an obnoxious chemical smelling odor.  Who knows what was in those “plant-based” ingredients? Dawn detergent claims it is wildlife friendly when in fact it contains chemicals that are toxic to wildlife.

The problem is that the terms I listed above are totally unregulated in the USA so it’s buyer beware.  The only way to know for sure is to look for certifications on the packaging of the product.  There are 21 regulated certification symbols.  You can find them all here.  All others are fabricated.  

Here is a free downloadable pamphlet on greenwashing courtesy of MindfulMomma.com, a great website on sustainable living.

Below is a very informative short video on greenwashing to help you figure this out.  Good luck.  It’s a jungle out there!

Also blogging on byalannapass.co

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