Sins Of Green Washing

When you buy a product, whether it be a consumer based product or a food product, always read the labels and look for signs of false information -especially “GREEN WASHING”!At least 95% of products commit at least one of the following sins:

1) SIN OF THE HIDDEN TRADE OFF: say the product is “Green” based on an unreasonably narrow set of attributes without attention to other important environmental issues.

2) SIN OF NO PROOF: committed by an environmental claim that cannot be substantiated by easily accessible supporting information or by a reliable third-party certification (i.e. tissue products that claim various percentages of post-consumer recycled content without any evidence).

3) SIN OF VAGUENESS: committed by every claim that is so poorly defined or broad that its real meaning is likely to be misunderstood by the consumer. (i.e. “All-natural” is an example. Arsenic, uranium, mercury are considered all naturally occurring and poisonous).

4) SIN OF IRRELEVANCE: involves making an environmental claim that may be truthful but is unimportant or unhelpful for consumers seeking environmentally preferable products. (i.e. “CFC- free” is a common example, since it is a frequent claim despite the fact that CFCs are banned by law).

5) SIN OF LESS OF TWO EVILS: committed by claims that may be true within the product category, but that risk distracting the consumer from the greater environmental impacts of the category as a whole (i.e. organic cigarettes might be an example of this category).

6) SIN OF FIBBING: making an environmental claim that is simply false (i.e. most common are often products that say they are “Energy Star” certified or registered).

7) SIN OF WORSHIPING FALSE LABELS: committed by a product that, through either words or images, gives the impression of third-party endorsement where no such endorsement actually exists; fake labels, in other words (i.e. fake “biodegradable” labels -strict testing and labels are required for something to be certified as biodegradable or compostable).


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