Thursday, January 31, 2013

Green Washing -- What does that mean?

Greenwashing is a term that I've seen floating around for a while now. It's simply defined as a company advertising it's eco-friendliness in an untrue way.  Imagine that, people not telling the truth.  Greenwashing can be compared to whitewashing, a term used when one wants to cover the truth. Here's the definition taken right off of The Sins of Greenwashing:

Greenwash: the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.

One helpful website I've stumbled upon is The Green Washing Index.  It's a community based website where users post ads they see where companies say how environmentally friendly they are, and the community judges these ads as greenwashing or legit.

For example, Dawn dishwashing soap.  Everyone's seen the commercials of people using dawn to clean off animals that were victims of oil spills.  They give the impression that they're supportive of the environment, however a user here points out some harmful chemicals.

One of these concerning chemicals is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate.  It's an ingredient added to many cleaners and soaps because it moves oil, and foams.  One way to avoid this chemical is to make your own cleaners, but I'll get on that subject on another post.

So here's a green looking item.  Lets pick it apart a bit.

  • Hypoallergenic disposable diaper.  So are most diapers, and disposable still fills up a landfill.
  • No perfumes added to the diaper.  Again, why does this stand out from other eco diapers?
  • Soft organic cotton used in the diaper.  Really?  What percentage of the cotton is organic?  Where did it come from?  Is it certified organic?  Huggies doesn't really say.
  • Few inks used in making the diaper. what kinds of inks did you use?  Water based?  Soy based?
What they don't tell you:
  • The diaper is not biodegradable.  In fact, huggies doesn't sell any diaper that is biodegradable, so your "green" diaper will sit in a landfill for who knows how long.
Bottom line, you really want to go green with diapering, stop using disposable diapers.  This is green washing, and a very sneaky way to sell you diapers that are more expensive.

Would love to hear any of your experiences with green washing.  Have you found any that just disgust you?


  1. Greenwashing is so shameful. I like to hope that consumers are too smart to fall for this, but I think some still need information like this post to help them be discerning at the grocery store on online.

    1. You know, sadly sometimes it takes research and some people's lives are just too busy for that. They see a green label, the word organic and think it's good to go. It's just not always the case, people have to get informed. :(



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