Juliet Dale, a sustainability advocate, was asked recently to promote a new product made from 50% recycled plastic.
Blogger based in Auckland, who writes about her adventures with recycling, refusing to recycle, and reusing. @thegreatecojourneyThe marketing smelled of greenwashing, he said.
It’s still 50% virgin plastic, it will end up in landfill and it’s still a product you can use in the first instance, Dale states.
It felt like a company trying fight the bad reputation they have in plastics.
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Greenwashing is when companies or brands wave a green wand above their products and whisper a lot to consumers’ ears, but they don’t really do much to back it all up.
Protesters are concerned about the large scale of cash flowing from polluters into so-called green projects. November 26, COP26.
Personal preference is what you do at the supermarket to decide which bathroom cleaner is better for your environment and you. .
Look for facts when choosing products for your home. Avoid vague generalizations. Sustainable Business NetworkFiona Stephenson, spokeswoman
Vague words such as natural, eco and environmentally-friendly, and imagery such as green leaves, forests, trees or animals, or even a floating green tick without anything verifiable to back it up, dont tell you very much.
Stephenson says it’s all a little wishy-washy. They don’t tell the consumer anything, but they suggest that the product may be sustainable and sometimes mislead the customer into believing it is.
Instead, you should look for straight-talking information and factual information.
If it says that it is 100% organic cotton, that’s great. What does it mean to be a cotton blend? It might contain only 5 percent cotton and the rest could be made up of polyester.
Get familiar with recognized certifications such as Organic certification, BioGrow NZ, Fairtrade,And Environmental choiceThese will give confidence that a product is trustworthy.
Avoid double-packing, such as an outer biodegradable box with single-use plastic bags inside. This will lead to waste.
Only plastics with the number one, two, or five on them can be recycled anywhere in New Zealand. Cling wraps and film coverings made of soft plastics cannot be recycled in certain locations.
Stephenson states that just because a product says it’s recyclable, doesn’t necessarily mean it is in New Zealand. This is another reason to be cautious.
According to Brianne West (sustainable advocate and founder of plastic-bottle-free beauty company), there are two keys to me. Ethique.
One is independent certifications such as the likes B Corp [an independent assessment lab that takes a holistic view of business sustainability], or carbon neutral certification.
Another is whether a business is displaying a concession-type initiative. I mean, is this just marketing? Or will it have a real impact?”
It is great to plant trees. However, if a company is reliant on this, rather than looking at ways it can reduce carbon production or deforestation within its supply chain, it may not be enough.
West believes that the more a brand shouts about limited sustainability initiatives, then the bigger the red flag should go.
It is not easy, but consumers are more educated about the issues and more aware than ever before.
They demand greater transparency from brands. If you aren’t doing real good, you will be discovered, so I believe greenwashing is a very short term strategy, stated West.
Organisations that are honest don’t always come across as perfect. She says that when an organisation boasts about how amazing everything they do in the environment, it is often a sign of weakness.
There is no perfect brand. Every brand can do better. If companies seek independent accreditation, a mark will be visible on the packaging.
Richard Shirtcliffe, sustainability entrepreneur behind single-use plastic free cleaning brand WildCleanGreenwashing is not only unethical but actively harmful.
He says that companies must play a role in resolving this problem because they played a major role in its creation.
You can try to avoid compromise and avoid greenwashing as a business. Most companies don’t choose to. The reason they don’t is economics.
He says that big companies have made small changes in the supermarket aisle battle for your attention, distracting you from the bigger picture and offering marginally better products.
This is, in our opinion, not enough. Shirtcliffe states that it is not enough to make toxin-free cleaners and still sell a lot of single-use plastic containers.
The [big companies]They have enjoyed their time in the sun. It’s time to get them in touch.
Stephenson states that there is no reason for companies to not have all the information they need on their websites in order to help you make informed decisions. They have to make it easier for customers by providing accurate information about the product.
“We vote with money to a limited extent. You support a company when you buy something. I encourage people to support good companies that go the extra mile.
Businesses will thrive if there are more people doing this.
How to avoid greenwash
Do not be deceived by vaguely ‘green’ claims.
Dale says that pictures of animals, plants, and leaves can be used to make packaging appear more natural and eco-friendly. These labels are often self-created and self-declared.
Clear information about why this product is a better choice and how it compares to others should be sought. West adds that if there is a lot of generic language but no substance – and you can find substance on a package – that’s not a good sign.
According to the Commerce Commission, companies must make accurate, scientifically sound, and substantiated environmental claims. The Commission can investigate and prosecute any violations of Fair Trade Act if consumers complain to it.
What is really “recyclable”?
Consumer NZ recommendsChoose clear, sleeveless packaging made from plastics 1, 2, or 5 and avoid mixed material packaging. Before you buy or purchase any packaging, check with your local council to see what can and cannot be recycled in your area.
Check in and out
According to West, social media does a great job dispelling a lot greenwashing. You can also look beyond the brands and find tons of science communicators on Instagram and TikTok who can explain everything that underpins the claims.
Go online and find out more about a brand through their website.
Check for credentials
There are many green certification marks, or ethical certification marks available. It can be difficult to determine which ones are meaningful. The Sustainable Business NetworkA list of relevant marks in New Zealand is available.
It includes: AsureQuality. BioGro. CoCo. Demeter. Dow Jones Sustainability Indices. Eco Warranty. Ekos. EPD Australasia. Eco Rating Label. Environmental Choice. FairClimateFund. Fairtrade. Fairtrade. Fairtrade. Fairtrade. Fairtrade. Fairtrade. Fairtrade. Fairtrade. Fairtrade. Fairtrade. FairClimateFund. Fairtrade. Fairtrade. Fairtrade. Fairtrade. Fairtrade. Fairtrade. Fairtrade. IFOAM.
Wild Clean is a commercial partner of Stuff. Learn more about Stuff’s management. Here is the content for partnership.