What is Greenwashing?

Chances are that you have been a recent victim of greenwashing. What is it and how can you protect yourself in the future? Keep reading.

The topic of going green is really hot right now. Consumers are becoming more and more responsible with their choices to protect our environment, and manufacturers are responding to this. While this awareness of greater social responsibility has given us all many more choices that are safe and environmentally friendly for all of our needs, it has also produced the phenomena of greenwashing.

Greenwashing occurs when a manufacturer produces an overpriced product that claims to be green or healthy for humans and the environment but doesn’t actually live up to its claims. There are two ways this is done. The first is when the company makes claims that simply aren’t true, such as saying a product is green when there is nothing green about it with perhaps the exception of some green dye.

The other way this is done is when a company makes some small concession to the green movement which is overshadowed by other ingredients in the product that are actually quite harmful. For example, a bottle of dishwashing detergent may say that it is phosphate free, which it may be. But this product may also be loaded with cancer causing foamers and antibacterial agents that may be harmful to fish and other aquatic organisms.

How can you avoid greenwashing? Learning to put your trust in a company may take time, but it will be worth it in the end. Meanwhile, be a good label reader. Understand what ingredients cause harm and what to look for in a product. Going forward, I will be sharing information about common household products and the ingredients they contain, in order to help you make informed decision making in your purchases.

Don’t be afraid to ask manufacturers what ingredients are in their products and to let them know that greenwashing is not acceptable. Don’t accuse a company of course, at least until you know all of the facts, but polite questions usually get answered and will help you in the long run.

Understand that there are very few products out there that are actually 100 percent green, but compare the claim of the product to what the ingredients say to determine if it is worth your money. If there seems to be a large gap, then chances are that this is a manufacturer that you want to avoid.

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About Mary Ann Romans

Mary Ann Romans is a freelance writer, online content manager, wife and mother of three children. She lives in Pennsylvania in the middle of the woods but close enough to Target and Home Depot. The author of many magazine, newspaper and online articles, Mary Ann enjoys writing about almost any subject. "Writing gives me the opportunity to both learn interesting information, and to interact with wonderful people." Mary Ann has written more than 5,000 blogs for Families.com since she started back in December 2006. Contact her at maromans AT verizon.net or visit her personal blog http://homeinawoods.wordpress.com