Greenwashing – what to look for on labels
Last month we looked at a couple of examples of products that you can easily be duped by when using the “all natural label”. This over-used label can be found throughout the supermarket from the cleaning aisle to body care products and even in packaged foods.
When we buy these products we think we are doing the right thing but as we discussed last month it’s not that simple.
To avoid being trapped by green washing be sure to look for eco labels on products. This give you a level of assurance that a third party has tested and verified the claims made. Some of the certification labels you might like to look for include:
While by no means a perfect system these labels are a starting point for understanding the claims some companies are making about their products. They are a response to deal with the rampant greenwashing going on.
We strongly recommend you take the time to do your research. Words like eco-friendly, sustainable, earth friendly, non toxic, compostable, recyclable can often be throw-away lines that have no substance.
If you can only compost it in a commercial composting facility but there are none in your state, is the product really compostable? Many local governments do NOT have the facility to compost at high enough temperatures for many so called compostable items to break down.
As Choice Australia has highlighted in their article Let's grab a coffee – billions of them "paper-based cups are usually lined with a membrane of polyethylene (plastic) to make them waterproof but it means they are not recyclable ..."
"The well-intentioned caffeine lover who tries to do the right thing and recycle their cup may be doing more harm than good. The plastic waterproof lining of many paper coffee cups means they can't be recycled with collections of paper and cardboard and may actually contaminate a load, causing the whole lot to be sent to landfill."
It's food for thought - read labels carefully and do your own investigation to make sure the claims are backed up with proof and not just marketing statements made to reassure you of the products "green credentials".
Sue and Nikki