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Simple Green Really Isn’t Green!

My proposal to this issue would be to research an actual all-natural cleaning solution that contains no chemicals. This will probably never happen though because money is power and the companies that own these so-called “green” products have all the green! If someone came up with an all-natural cleaner one of the big businesses would just buy them so they would just disappear and the cleaner would disappear as well. Stuff like this happens all the time. I believe that the only way this could happen is to have a major uprising against the big businesses that are producing these “green” products or pass laws stating that in order to claim a green product they have to actually have all green ingredients in said product.

Steven House

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The Cover Up

Ashleigh Shannon

Green-wash (green’wash’, -wôsh’) – verb: the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.

There are Seven Sins of advertisement form companies: Sin of Vagueness, Sin of Irrelevance, Sin of Hidden Trade-off, Sin of Lesser of the Two Evils, Sin of Fibbing, Sin of No Proof, and lastly the Sin of Worshiping False Labels. Greenwashing is most common in three household categories: Kids (toys and baby products), Cosmetics (beauty and health), and Cleaning Products.
From the sinsofgreenwashing.org site, they provide their study of their case in 2009, which unravels the false pretenses of how companies reel in their consumers to make them believe, that they are, in fact, doing the right thing for the environment.
Here’s a excerpt out of their executive summary;

More products are making environmental claims. The total number of ‘green’ products increased by an average of 79% (a range between 40% and 176%) in stores that were visited in both 2007 and 2008. (In a related TerraChoice study, the rate of green advertising was found to have almost tripled since 2006.)Greenwashing is still rampant, with more than 98% of ‘green’ products committing at least one of the Sins. Compared to the 2007 study, there appears to be a small decline in the frequency of greenwashing, but it is not statistically significant. Of 2,219 products making green claims in the United States and Canada, only 25 products were found to be Sin-free.
Eco-labeling is on the rise. Legitimate eco-labeling is nearly twice as common as it was last year, increasing from 13.7% to 23.4% on all ‘green’ products in the report. Kids (toys and baby products), cosmetics and cleaning products are three categories in which green claims – and greenwashing – are most common. These products, among the most common products in most households, deserve particular scrutiny from consumers. Greenwashing is an international challenge, with very similar patterns in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. The most significant differences between these countries are the environmental issues associated with the claims made on products. Water conservation was more common in Australia for example, and recyclability in the United States.

So I propose a question, If there’s a false sense of hope being put into the world by our naive mindsets, are WE willing to change it to actually make a GREEN world?

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The Green Bulb?

Environmentalism is the new fad, with more and more products claiming to be “green”. Green is the new black. Companies are even making public campaigns for their switch to a more “eco-friendly” drive. According to a Terrachoice 2010 report “since 2009 the number of “greener” products increased by 73%.” But are these claims true? Most likely not, this phenomenon is called green washing. Green washing is false and misleading environmental claims made by companies that are labeled on products. These claims are thus used to conceal corporate behavior that is environmentally harmful. Moreover, it can be considered a PR aim that a company claims to the government, public, and press, that it is “green” when it is in fact the opposite.
These endorsed CFL bulbs are actually quite harmful to the environment contrary to the information that is on the package and what our own government is telling us. Let me tell you why: first off, the lighting of these CFL bulbs is poor, they are not proven to technically last longer, the carbon footprint of the product is not considered, and they contain MERCURY. Yes, MERCURY!! How can an item that contains mercury be “green”, “eco-friendly”, or “smart”? It cannot be, it is almost a contradiction. That’s like saying that the new Carl’s Jr. hamburger that has eight strips of bacon, four slices of cheese, onion rings, two meat patties, and fried pickles is a healthy because it is made with a gluten-free bun and organic veggies. You are ignoring all of the bad ingredients and only focusing on the few good ingredients to make your decision.
The bulbs have even been shown to emit toxic substances, and through electromagnetic exposure can be deemed harmful. The effects of mercury are and have been proven extremely harmful in the past, even so that the use of it has been banned in thermometers. So how is it that they are legally used in these CFL bulbs? I think it is because they are more profitable, but then I would be considered a paranoid conspiracy theorist. Even so, mercury is a dangerous nerve poison which can effect almost every organ in the body, and can even lower ones IQ. The mining of mercury and the toxic substance itself is harmful to the environment! These bulbs also carry a pretty extensive carbon footprint. They are produced in hazardous settings in oversees where the workers to do wear protective gear. The disposing of the bulb is often times not done properly which adds to the environmental hazard that the CFL bulb produces.
I think a green solution to this problem is simple, stop pushing and marketing the CFL’s over the conventional incandescent bulb. They are not eco-friendly or even smart. The incandescent bulbs have better lighting and fewer harmful substances. The bulbs are even safer and relatively simple to manufacture. The government in the US and in Europe should reverse their decision to ban the use of the conventional halogen bulb, it is wrong, is can more harmful implications than beneficial.

Alexandra Adesalu

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Green Bum

Mariam Mirza

Today I present to you a diaper that is also eco-friendly. Realizing how much space and money it takes to purchase diapers it just keeps adding up. With that going eco-friendly to help with the environment was a positive benefit as an outcome. Is it really though? Are we being misinformed or being led on? That is where we are being green washed or as they say “brainwashed”. As much as the outside of the box looks eco-friendly with the color green all over, it is hiding much of that dirt in the label section. Having done research found some dirt on how this is considered green washing. They cannot confirm if they are free of fragrance. Also don’t warn us about the gel they use to keep the diapers absorbent.

As considering it is taking an approach towards the eco-friendly and making it green shows the customer it is supporting a good cause. The box in color green shows awareness for our planet. Another thing that caught my attention was the different races of babies shown on the ads and boxes. This promotes the product to many different people making it a favorite for many. The wide variety of selection in sizes is also a smart idea for keeping the customers with them throughout the baby’s diaper years. This will help the company make more profit in the long run. Marketing is a big way to keep a product in the eye for the customers of today. Like many people, when it comes to their child they want the best of the best. By marketing the Huggies diapers with logos of organic and green signs shows the customer it will be the best for their kid. Today’s technology being so advanced is able to promote the product online and give some facts and details before the customer purchases. Also available for an online purchase it benefits the companies make profit in that sense as well. Instead of still using chemicals to make the dye of the diaper appear white even after the baby goes potty, having it stick to the old roots and making it a cloth diaper. This also is recyclable. In the long run this could benefit the company as well.

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False eco-claims in the hospitality industry

There is an increasing trend in going green and claiming eco-friendly services. Many companies including hotels are marketing more eco-friendly alternatives, but are consumers aware of the legitimacy of these “greener” options. Many hotels spend more time and money claiming to be green rather than actually applying these practices to reduce their environmental impact. They slap a green label on anything possible to attract visitors. Of course the savvy eco-friendly traveler will pay a little more to help the environment, but are they really getting what they paid for. Lets take towel usage as an example, it is common to see a place holder to give visitors the option of reusing their towel by hanging them up, thus reducing water usage. Think about it, housekeepers replace towels on a daily basis, does one towel really make that much of a difference. A great amount of water is still being used, making the reuse of a towel insignificant. The same situation goes for sheets, but in reality, not getting your sheets washed everyday during your stay does not save the planet, and often, sheets and towels end up getting washed anyway. Another green alternative in some hotels are the use of recycling bins, but unfortunately housekeepers are still seen throwing recycled items into their trashcans when cleaning rooms. At the end of the day, these placeholders are suggesting that we recycle in anyway possible and to always choose an environmentally friendly alternative. This should remain unchanged although the effect of reusing towels and sheets seems to be insignificant compared to all other energy used in a hotel building.
For hotels to be less green washed there should be only one organization to oversee the legitimacy of a green hotel. Because of independent organizations, standards are obviously going to be different. So some hotel may have certifications that would not pass another organizations requirements. But this would be difficult for one place to oversee all hotels worldwide, which choose to take a more eco-friendly route. Or better yet, one towel per person, no sheets washed until check out, reduce prices for customers because they wont have a fresh pillow case or towel every morning.

Twambo Moyo

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Are your “green” cleaning products safe?

I am writing about the greenwashing of household cleaning products. Greenwashing can be defined as being the false advertisement of products being environmentally friendly. This is usually done by using enticing packaging that includes trees, leaves, and recycling symbols. Usually the plastics that these bottles are made out of recycled materials and some may even be biodegradable. But the chemicals inside the bottles are still toxic. Unlike with food production, the companies that produce cleaning products are not required by law to disclose the ingredients that are used. For all we know, companies could be selling us the same product in an ‘eco-friendly” package. Instead of just making products look “green”, why not actually make them less toxic?

When it comes to cleaning products, they are almost always going to be toxic to some extent. If consumers wanted to be “green” for real, they would simply use natural products instead of buying cleaning products off of the shelves. Some natural products, such as vinegar and baking soda, work just as well as your typical chemical cleaner. While I don’t believe that a product like bleach can be completely replaced by 100% natural products. Switching to the use of natural products would reduce the amount of toxins in the ecosystem.

At the end of the day, when it comes to the production of the cleaning product containers, the same amount of energy and wasted resources go into making them. Whether they are advertised as green or not. In my opinion, the only option there is to benefit the environment is to use 100% natural products to clean with. If you’re not going to do that, you might as well continue to use the conventional cleaning products.

http://www.greenfudge.org/2010/07/26/eco-friendly-household-cleaners-may-not-measure-up/

-John Vaughan

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Chevron Greenwashing

Brandon Steele

Chevron has an entire page on their website about how they are “environmentally friendly.” This page dedicated for you to believe that they are a green company. The first thing I noticed was that the front page of the website has a nice picture of a lake and mountain and it says protecting nature. Underneath the picture is a vague explanation of what they do to protect nature. Chevron says “We believe that preserving a clean, safe, healthy environment can go hand in hand with meeting the world’s energy needs. We are continually evaluating and striving to improve our processes to reduce pollution and waste, conserve energy and natural resources, and reduce the potential for environmental impacts of our activities and operations.” This is a great thing but, there was no proof that they were actually trying to do what they were saying. Just below this quote is four pages which you can get more info about how they’re environmentally friendly in water, biodiversity, greenhouse gas, and energy efficiency. Click on the more info page bring you to another paragraph about how they are reducing the usage of water by recycling it. The problem is that they can say they are recycling the water all they want without any consequences. This is greenwashing. Chevron says that they are recycling water but they have almost no proof that they actually are. The other problem is that they have no information on their website about how much they are actually recycling water and how much of an impact it really is making. Chevron could be helping the environment but without solid information and statistics they are just saying they are and greenwashing anyone who reads about how they are environmentally friendly. The same general thing is going on for each page on Chevrons website a bunch of hopes and promises that sound good but little to zero proof.

Chevron is greenwashing in my opinion. I want to believe that every company is doing the best they can to be green but that is simply not the case. Yes, Chevron probably does try to be green, but I believe this is only for a good public image or laws that say they have to be green. I would have liked to see graphs and data collection to show how green they really are and how green they are compared to other companies. The best way to show that they were actually doing what they are saying would be to have a picture by picture step process on how they were green. Chevron should also show stats on how they’re being more green year by year. Another thing they could do is take before and after pictures of the surrounding areas they could be affecting and there factories. I believe that the best way to stop greenwashing all together is for people to be aware of what is happening. I think that their should be laws to help stop pollution but what will push the agenda on this would be public awareness. I believe that greenwashing will be nearly impossible to get rid of big businesses will always be able to convince people that they are being green because of the money they can spend on advertising.