You have probably taken notice of the excessive amount of “green” products on store shelves. But you might be wondering how so many products, that are clearly chemical-based, sealed in plastic, and shipped via a giant diesel-burning truck could possibly be “green”.
As it turns out, around 95% of the products that have a pretty little green leaf on them aren’t environmentally friendly at all. This is the phenomenon known as greenwashing, and here are 3 common ways that companies make their products appear to be healthy for the planet.
1 Hidden Trade-Offs
You have probably seen little badges or stickers on products that boast about how this product has been harvested from a sustainably harvested forest or something similar. Now this sounds good on the surface, but the reality is that this takes extra energy to accomplish.
What the companies aren’t telling you is that in order to harvest from a sustainable forest, they have to use large, powerful helicopters to hoist trees out of dense forest. Or maybe they have to travel farther with heavy trucks to get to these healthy forests. Whatever the case, it’s been shown that there is always an environmental trade-off.
This is a great one. We have all seen products that claim they are “All-natural” or “organic”. But did you know that, in scientific terms, organic simply means that it contains carbon molecules? In that sense, pretty much everything on the planet is organic. Beyond that, the terms “natural” and “all-natural” are a bit misleading. For example, arsenic, mercury and formaldehyde are natural, but the industrial mining, processing and fallout of these elements are far from environmental.
3 Fake Labels, Awards & Organizations
While on your day-to-day shopping outing you might notice another encouraging yet misleading green sticker on cleaning products. This sticker makes it sounds like some committee or organization gave its approval for the product. Something along the lines of “GreenHeart Award” or “GreenHeart Organization Seal of Approval”, but the thing is, there are no laws to certify these claims, or even that a GreenHeart organization even exists. The reality is that these stickers and awards are, more often than not, completely invented by a marketing team. This is done for the sole purpose of misleading consumers to conclude that their product is healthy and safe for the environment.
When it comes down to it, you simply can’t trust a vast majority of the labels on “green” products says. If you really want to know if a product is actually environmentally friendly, you should do extra research about the company and product that does not consist of simply reading to label.