Greenwashing – What it is and How to Beat it
Today, we want to talk to you about something that's becoming a bigger problem for anyone looking to live a greener lifestyle. That something? Greenwashing.
Greenwashing is when a company makes its products (or even the company itself) out to be far more eco-friendly than they are. It's a problem that goes beyond false advertising. Think about it – if you're buying stuff that doesn't deliver on what it promises, your efforts to be a more responsible citizen of planet Earth will be in vain.
It's not all doom and gloom, however. There are plenty of things you can do to catch companies in the act. This way, you can avoid rewarding their greenwashing efforts. We also don't want to give you the wrong idea here. Greenwashing isn't always an act of evil. Sometimes it's just the result of miscommunication within a company or marketing teams unaware of what constitutes a green product. In other words, a company that brags about how eco-friendly its products are might not even know that it's not telling the truth. It's important not to grow too jaded and doubt all claims about sustainability. Otherwise, it becomes a "Boy Who Cried Wolf" situation, and that's not good for anybody.
Now we've arrived at the good part. We're going to tell you about some of the most sure-fire signs that greenwashing is taking place. By learning to spot these sketchy signs, you'll be able to make the best choices for the environment and empower your commitment to a sustainable & responsible lifestyle.
First off, you'll want to think twice about going for any product that lays the buzzwords on too thick. Are they talking a lot but not saying anything? If so, you likely have a greenwasher on your hands. Vaguely worded descriptions that claim eco-friendliness without any examples or proof should be taken with a grain of salt. The same goes for any company or skincare that says its products or practices are 100% sustainable. Sustainability is something that can't be described in terms of numbers. It's like saying, "I'm a 100% nice person." That might sound good, but it doesn't mean anything. Sustainability sells, so be on the lookout for anyone looking to jump on the bandwagon without actually doing anything like so many skincare brands on the shelves of big box stores.
You'll also want to guard yourself against falling for lines about items being recyclable, recycled, or biodegradable. Often, a product that brags about being made from recycled materials may contain only about 5% of them. They could also be made from technically recyclable materials but have little chance of being accepted by any recycling programs or local waste authorities. Often, despite your best intentions, these are things that will eventually find themselves sitting in a landfill. The same goes for biodegradable items. Unless you have an efficient way of composting at home, it's hard to guarantee that packaging labeled as biodegradable will be appropriately handled once it's out of your hands. Learn how you can recycle our skincare Bottles and Jars here.
The final red flag is more about what ISN'T being said. Suppose a skincare product is said to be eco-friendly, made from recycled/recyclable materials, sustainably sourced, socially responsible, and all that other good stuff. In that case, you're going to want sources to back up the claims. Suppose the beauty product you are looking to buy are not certified by organizations like the GOTSC, Ecocert, or Fair Trade USA. In that case, it's time to reconsider your purchase. Bear in mind that it can take a lot of time, effort, and money to get these certifications. This can make it hard for a small business to source its claims. That's why we said to reconsider your purchase and not cancel it.
Contact the company itself and get the full scoop on what they're doing to protect the environment and treat workers fairly. As they say, knowledge is power. You can go the extra mile to fight greenwashing by having a bit of a DIY ethic. Make sure you avoid overconsuming. When you buy products second-hand, and in only the amounts you need, you can guarantee that there will be less environmental waste and fewer harmful chemicals emitted into the atmosphere. When you're done using an item, "upcycle" by way of using it for a new purpose whenever you can. An empty skin cream jar can make an excellent new container.
Any questions about greenwashing and how to avoid falling victim to it? Reach out to us, and we'll get a dialog going!