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HOW TO SPOT GREENWASHING?

Disclaimer: We think any steps taken – big or small – to make a brand, business, or individual more sustainable and environmentally friendly are positive. Every little bit helps and any action is better than no action at all – but intentional deception is unethical. In a time where brands want to be seen to be joining the plastic-free, zero-waste movement, we need to be more aware of the details behind the headlines.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when you see a green-heavy headline:

  1. Is the information transparent? Very few are 100% perfect when it comes to the planet but it’s about being honest.
  2. Is the new green product or initiative replacing the old, less environmentally friendly version or just sitting alongside it?
  3. What are the items claiming to be recyclable/green actually made of?
  4. Could the new green product or initiative be hiding an even greener solution? For example, it would be great if all supermarkets swapped plastic fruit and veg bags for paper or reusable ones – but isn’t the real issue that the fact that lots of fruit and veg still come packaged in plastic and the plastic-wrapped versions are often cheaper than the loose varieties?
  5. Please ignore the man behind the curtain: If they are highlighting a specific point about their product, what does the rest of the product look like?  Example:  Air Fresheners claiming to be made with 100% natural citrus ingredients…BUT ALL the other chemicals used are harmful to the environment.

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