How to spot greenwashing from a mile away

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written by LeeOnna S. | Greenwashing refers to the many ways certain companies take advantage of buyers and involves falsifying claims about certain products being green when in actuality they are not. These companies claim to provide consumers with eco-friendly products that are green or organic. However, the truth is they are not.

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How companies “greenwash” their products

There are a few different types of greenwashing and different ways companies are getting away with this. Many consumers that are new to the green living lifestyle may not know how to recognize this method. One method companies use is to labels that state how the products are green as well as what features make them better than others. This leads to many consumers being distracted from the components that make the product not green. For example, some companies claim they sell appliances that are energy efficient yet they fail to state that the product is made from hazardous materials.

Yet another example includes a company that has created their own line of cleaning products for the home. The company may claim that they eliminated carcinogens that are found in their products such as bleach, and they have only because it was mandated by the FDA. But, their products still contain chemicals and other elements that prevent their products from being green.
In addition, there are some companies that will simply lie about being green. One prime example is Holy Cow. This company flat out put a label on their product that stated the product was a knock off and they placed a knock off USDA organic label on the jar and they never actually earned this seal. This is a shame because there were a lot of people that enjoyed how powerful this cleaner actually was.

How to avoid being tricked

Greewashing has become more and more popular and there are a few things that can be done to avoid being sucked in. You should research, and do a lot of it to learn all about green products and how to tell the difference between genuine green products and fake ones. These companies are getting smarter and this has led them to making huge profits unrightfully.

The FDA and other government agencies have been working hard year after year to bring awareness to this greenwashing and they have set guidelines into place to hopefully discourage it. These guidelines are still new and therefore are not completely effective yet. You need to make sure you’re educated until these companies can be called out and a stop can be put greenwashing.

The Better World Shopper allows you to learn more about companies and products to determine if they are in fact green or not. This list helps evaluate products as well as a rating of A+ to as low as F. This allows you to choose products that are green and are true green living products.  You’ll find that a majority of products you thought sounded green are in fact not at all.


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Kylie Wiser is an herbalist specializing in skincare and women's health. She shares recipes and resources on Everblossom to help others live a more holistic lifestyle. She lives in Fargo, ND with her huge family and lots of houseplants.

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4 Responses

  1. Brittney

    It is very important to be informed and read labels, but at the same time it is so hard to understand ingredients sometimes! I always try and buy “green” products but I am sure that I have been wronged without even realizing it! Thanks for the reminder to look into companies and products!

  2. Nicole @ Some Call It Natural

    It is getting harder to know what is ‘green’ anymore! My daughter’s like, “but mom, it ‘says’ natural on the front!” I’m having to teach her that natural doesn’t always mean natural!

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