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Fur is “Green” campaign

Fur companies have been taking hits for years about their treatment of the animals they take fur from. One of these companies named, The Fur Council of Canada (FCC), decided to fight back by creating the “Fur is Green” campaign. They even have a website and everything (http://www.furisgreen.com/furisgreen.aspx). This is an example of green washing. They are saying that their product is environmentally friendly to try to redirect attentions from the animal cruelty claims that most fur companies are associated with over the years. The funny thing about this is that the campaign actually worked. On the FCC website, there is an article title, “Fur, A Renewable Resource”, the company claims that “Fur is a natural, renewable and sustainable resource. That means we only use part of what nature produces each year without depleting wildlife populations or damage the natural habitats that sustain them. The goal is to maintain long-term ecological balance.” They also claim that it is durable, recyclable, and biodegradable. The whole campaign is suggesting that we change our views about fur companies torturing animals for their fur and see them as the environmentalist that there are. The truly shocking thing is that the campaign worked.

According to an article in the Huffington post article “The Only Thing Green About Fur Is Profit” (2013), The FCC “managed to position themselves as a “council” of environmentalist, rather than the industry-funded lobby group that they actually are (2013).” Fur is making a comeback in Canada. The FCC not only manage to draw everyone’s attention away from animal cruelty claims, they managed to turn a profit in doing so. This leaves us with quite the predicament. How do you combat this? PETA, an animal rights activist group has been on the front-line in the fight against fur for years and people still wear it. What can be done differently. I think that they needs to be a new anti-fur organization that starts a campaign from scratch. They need to do campaigning much like the anti tobacco organizations do today. I recently saw an ad that said “#finishit”. Anti fur organizations need to do similar things. I said that they need a new organization because PETA has too much negative press along with the name. When I think of PETA, I think of animal rights activist. I also think about them as the people who throw red paint on people wearing fur and accuse them of being murders. That is not a good image to have with some people. Here is my personal view on wear fur. It is only acceptable if you live in the wilderness and you are using it for warmth. That was the main reason people in the past wore fur. It was about survival. People use fur today for profit and style. If we can find a material to use that is not hurting any living beings and is not harming the environment in the process of creating or discarding it, then we will truly be one step closer to becoming more “Eco-friendly'”.

– Stephen Evans

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Hot Wheels, Barbies, Sustainability, OH MY!

Mattel is a company that has influenced most of our childhoods. They are the creators of most of our beloved childhood toys, from Barbie to Hot Wheels. It’s hard to imagine that a company that has brought so much joy to many lives could also be a threat to the environment and deceitful through greenwashing. Greenwashing is a blanketed term that refers to ways companies divert attention away from their waste and carbon footprints by improving slightly in some areas. According to Kathleen Shaver, the director of corporate responsibility, Mattel is “committed to playing responsibly”. One of Mattel’s’ goals is to reduce the weight of their products (toys) by 5% which means using less resources. Another objective is to “improve their packaging material efficiency by 5% by 2015”. These efficiency improvements have started by using “noncontroversial sources” that are defined by some arbitrary rules they made up. One description I found of their requirement was to use materials where the sources were known. So I guess as long as you know which forest you are destroying it is alright. Their future goal is to have 85% of their packaging be recycled materials by 2015. It is a nice notion and a step in the right direction but there are other issues that arise when it comes to recycling such as energy and emissions. Lastly, they hope to reduce carbon emissions to 50% by 2020 but give no examples on how that will be achieved.

If I were to make suggestions to Mattel my first would be to completely eliminate packaging all together when possible. Even if all of their packaging was recycled after a consumer buys a product they trash the packaging again. Odds are it will stay in the landfill. If toothbrushes used to be sold in buckets, then why can’t we do the same with little toy cars? Next, I would suggest eliminating all plastic materials from toys when possible. I don’t see why my piece on a game board cannot be stone or even glass. Lastly I would suggest having more, small factories so when shipping products it is a smaller distance and not outsourced overseas. This will also bring jobs to many places areas all over the world. I believe these achievable suggestions are ones that will actually help the environment without completely dismantling their company.

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Natural and Organic Cosmetics?

One of the biggest industries playing a part in greenwashing is common cosmetics. These products include makeup, shampoo, lotion, spray tans, etc. In this blog post I will be focusing on popular brands of shampoo. It is becoming more and more popular for products to revamp their look adding the words natural and organic to their names and labels. Some products are what they claim to be but most fall short and are using what is called “green washing” to get you to buy their products. Green washing is when a product is promoted as “green” and environmentally friendly but in actuality they work in the opposite way. Typically when a shampoo or makeup claims that they are natural or organic they are not. I, as well as many others, have become a victim of these new sleek pretty bottles with the words natural and organic. Front of bottles will have listed a few of the ingredients which indeed are natural but you turn the bottle around listed are the same harsh dyes and chemicals which are the same ingredients used in other products they are claiming to be set apart from.
A few examples include:
Suave just released a new shampoo and conditioner called Suave Professional Natural Infusion which is advertised to not carry dies, parabens, and to be infused with exotic ingredients. The new bottle is gold with green accent leaves. When taking a closer look the top three ingredients listed are WATER (AQUA) , Sodium Laureth sulfate , sodium chloride. Sodium Lureth sulfate is used to help the product foam well and is not expensive to use in products. This product has been proven to cause issues with eye development, it has been linked to cataracts, and is a proven skin irritant. The third ingredient listed is sodium chloride (salt) which is harmful to hair because it causes it to dry, scalp to itch, and in some cases hair loss.

Organix is a more expensive shampoo and conditioner who’s tag line is “the way nature intended.” The front of these bottles list the natural and exotic ingredients while explaining what they are doing for your hair. Their Hydrating Teatree Mint Oil Shampoo claims to moisturize and strengthen your hair, while adding replenishing proteins, and oils help hydrate and control balance. This is what they want you to believe sets them apart from other shampoos. This products top three ingredients are DI Water (Aqua), Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine. The second ingredient is similar to the second ingredient listed on Suave’s list. DLS has larger molecules that do not penetrate the skin as easily which causes less irritation. But it is not an organic ingredient. The third ingredient is an organic compound derived from coconut oil.

While Organix is a slightly better shampoo it still carries some of the same ingredients as Suave but costs a few more dollars. Typically all shampoos are made of the same ingredients no matter what the front of the bottle claims. It is important when trying to avoid being green washed to look at the list of ingredients and research them. This is true with all store bought products. Don’t be fooled by what is in bold on the front!

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McToxic

McDonald’s have started airing new advertisements that put forth the idea that all items on their menu are “natural, local, and grown on small farms”. One ad in particular shows a man, Frank Martinez, a farmer for McDonald’s going about his normal chores on the farm. By the end of the video the ad shows him eating his raw grown potatoes and says something along the lines of ” these potatoes taste good now, but when they are at Mcdonald’s they will be even better”. When it comes down to it, there is no connection between local farms and Mcdonald’s whatsoever. The corporation uses meats that come from traders like Golden State Foods. On the menu, the forever popular Big Mac says it has a “100% Angus beef patty”, when in reality is a mixture of other meats, lactic acid, artificial flavoring, and beef broth. In fact in it was stated that cattle was being fed nearly 25 million pounds of antibiotics a year, roughly 8 times the amount given to humans to cure diseases, but in retrospect can cause many outbreaks in bacteria in animals resistant to some drugs. These antibiotics were used for making the cattle healthier and also faster growth. Not only are these ads deceiving but they are slowing greenwashing the consumers since they are showing their potential costumers that their food is actually natural and local. It also shows that they actually care what you are putting into your mouth when in reality they just want more money being spent on the non-natural and antibiotic filled Big Mac.
Though McDonald’s have some fattening but tasty meals that are relatively cheap in cost and fast to eat, they are slowly impacting the planet and our species. The ways of farming for major corporations needs to be fast and furious to get to stores quickly and efficiently. This would mean that pesticides,GMOs and antibiotics would be added to the cattle and crops that are produced to quicken the time. This being done alters the environment drastically, affect the consumers bodies in negative ways. A way to change this, is to possibly, though quite extreme but already executed in Chicago, is to create basically an urban farm close to some Mcdonald’s in the area so that they could be actually “local and natural”. Urban farms could be anything from growing some vegetables and owning a hen house on the roof of a store, or buying a small spot of land nearby and doing the same. Doing so would create healthier produce. As for beef, it is pretty hard to get a cow in an urban setting, but another way could have a written guarantee that the cows don’t consume GMOs or antibiotics to fatten up faster. Though some reports have written that Mcdonald’s has reduced the amount of antibiotics consumed in their cattle, who not just get rid of them all together to make that Big Mac as natural as it as the potential to be.

ad with Frank Martinez: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xxlEkstcwM#t=125
http://www.organicconsumers.org/Toxic/mcdonalds_antibiotics.cfm
http://blogs.sacurrent.com/streetview/mcdonalds-greenwashing-ad-campaign-for-the-new-year/
Written by : Kam Eflin

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The Dark Side of Green Cleaning Products

By: Mikaela Panagoulias
I am writing about cleaning products, such as Clorox Green Works and Simple Green, that claim to be Eco-friendly and green. This is an example of green washing because although the products are less harsh than your typical cleaning products, they are not as strong which means you have to use more to get the job done. Since you have to use more of the product to get the desired clean you want, you have to buy more bottles of it and the bottles are made of one hundred percent un-recycled plastic. So you are made to think you are being more environmentally responsible by using these “green” cleaning products, but in reality you are still using plastic bottles that are just going to be thrown away and not recycled to make new bottles of the cleaner. Another way in which you are being green washed by these “green” cleaning products is they are falsely advertising that the products are completely non-toxic, when in reality they still contain many of the same toxic chemicals, such as petroleum and 2-butoxyethanol, as everyday products. Chemicals like 2-butoxyethanol have been linked to birth defects, respiratory issues, and reproductive problems. Many of these green cleaning products are claiming to be made from all plant-based substances, but a recent study from the National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemistry Society have found that none of the products were one hundred percent plant based.
An alternative approach that I have come up with to make theses products less green washed is to start off by using either glass bottles or bottles that are made of one hundred percent recycled plastic to physically hold the cleaner in. This is one step that will make the product less green washed because it will reduce the amount of plastic bottles being wasted and thrown into a landfill, versus recycled to get many more uses out if it. When it comes to the cleaner itself, an obvious way to make it less green washed is to actually derive the products from one hundred percent plant based materials. Doing this would be extremely hard because there would be various barriers, the biggest one being money. It would be a lot more expensive to find a way to make a cleaner that can clean thoroughly enough while still maintaining an eco-friendly composition. These major companies want one thing and that is money, so I doubt they would take the time and money to make a one hundred percent green product. Another barrier is the glass bottle, that would probably not work out because of the high risk of them breaking from the factory to the store to households.

http://inhabitat.com/study-reveals-some-green-cleaning-products-arent-as-eco-as-they-say-they-are/
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/01/16/toxic-chemicals-in-green-cleaning-products.aspx

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Recyling Pacemakers

In the process of reusing these medical supplies, they call the families of pasted loved ones and ask them if they can removes things such as a pacemakers. One of the main destinations for these medical supplies is India. This form of green washing is kind of looked at in the same light as organ donating. Once you pass, giving a piece of you so that way someone else may live. Whether that be the item not being cleaned well enough or even damaging the equipment in the process. I believe that the idea of finding a way to give cheaper supplies to those who can’t afford it is a great one. The best way to improve the process would be to add those protocols. They already have some protocols for organ donating, so it should have similar ones for medical equipment. The first people who need to get on board with making these protocols needs to be the Food and Drug administration, FDA. The article stated, “The industry doesn’t like recycling. Sure, it’s partly because they would rather sell a new device than sell used ones, but it’s also because we, the American people, are so risk-averse that we have sent the message to the FDA that we are not going to tolerate any kind of risk associated with recycling.” Once those protocols are set in, they need workers to monitor and make sure companies are living up to the standards. One protocol that can be used is monitoring who they are taking these medical implants from and what health conditions they might have. Then once cleaned it should be analyzed for any residue and made sure that it still functions properly. The next step would be making sure that the packaging is suitable for that specific item. Though it would cost companies money to properly clean and make sure the products are safe to use, it can actual save them money by not getting sued or causing multiple deaths. Going green has a price, but someone’s life should not be the cost. In the same sense cutting of the program is cutting of people’s opportunity for a healthier life and with these new protocols, this could be more jobs for people. Green washing in the medical field is something that should be considered if we are not only saving material that would have been wasted, but saving someone’s life as well.

Link for short video about topic: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/825501

Written By Moriah Brocks

Recycle Medical Equipment From the Dead? Medscape. Jun 05, 2014.

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Greenwashing Pacemakers

In the process of reusing these medical supplies, they call the families of pasted loved ones and ask them if they can removes things such as a pacemakers. One of the main destinations for these medical supplies is India. This form of green washing is kind of looked at in the same light as organ donating. Once you pass, giving a piece of you so that way someone else may live. Whether that be the item not being cleaned well enough or even damaging the equipment in the process. I believe that the idea of finding a way to give cheaper supplies to those who can’t afford it is a great one. The best way to improve the process would be to add those protocols. They already have some protocols for organ donating, so it should have similar ones for medical equipment. The first people who need to get on board with making these protocols needs to be the Food and Drug administration, FDA. The article stated, “The industry doesn’t like recycling. Sure, it’s partly because they would rather sell a new device than sell used ones, but it’s also because we, the American people, are so risk-averse that we have sent the message to the FDA that we are not going to tolerate any kind of risk associated with recycling.” Once those protocols are set in, they need workers to monitor and make sure companies are living up to the standards. One protocol that can be used is monitoring who they are taking these medical implants from and what health conditions they might have. Then once cleaned it should be analyzed for any residue and made sure that it still functions properly. The next step would be making sure that the packaging is suitable for that specific item. Though it would cost companies money to properly clean and make sure the products are safe to use, it can actual save them money by not getting sued or causing multiple deaths. Going green has a price, but someone’s life should not be the cost. In the same sense cutting of the program is cutting of people’s opportunity for a healthier life and with these new protocols, this could be more jobs for people. Green washing in the medical field is something that should be considered if we are not only saving material that would have been wasted, but saving someone’s life as well.

Link for short video about topic: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/825501

Written by Moriah Brocks

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Clorox Green Works Laundry Detergent

The Natural Products Association says that the ingredients must be 95% natural with no animal testing, prohibited ingredients with sustainable packaging. However, the laundry detergent made by Clorox doesn’t meet all of these qualifications. They purposely made their bottle portray the idea of a green product. They made the color scheme a fresh green and white with flowers scattered all around to try and trick you into thinking it was green. They give explanations on their website for each ingredient in their product, but are found to have exaggerated on some ingredients. For example, calcium chloride is said to be a “mineral-based ingredient”, which is true, but fails to mention that calcium chloride can affect vegetation if it gets into the soil or water supplies which is bound to happen. Also they claimed that 96% of the ingredients are naturally derived, yet fail to back that up with any evidence. I believe this company is greenwashing with this product because they are making it seem like it is so good for the environment, when actually they are just bending what the product is to make it seem better.

Clorox could do a couple of things to rectify this situation. They could easily just take the this off the Green Works line and stop lying to their customers. It is better to be honest and straight forward then to trick your customers into thinking they are investing in something really great when in reality they aren’t. They could also go into more research to try and find different ingredients they could swap in. If they really want to keep this product on the Green Works line, they should invest more time into doing so the right way. They are a big enough company that they have enough financial stability to go into more research to better their products. They could take out the ingredients that are keeping it from being approved by the Natural Products Association. They could also just have the bottle be a more in between thing. They don’t have to have it on the Green Works line, but they can still have advertisement on the bottle for it being better for the environment than competitors detergent that has regular ingredients in it.

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The Green Yacht

The Safira was built in 2013 by Newcastle for a special client looking to be more “eco-friendly.” The yacht weighs in at over 400 tones and has over 280 feet of environmental impact, while publicizing to potential renters that it is environmentally conscious. The manufacturer and rental company publicize the yacht’s organic flooring, LED lighting, and forest- certified Sapele used on board while neglecting the huge impact that creating such a large boat has on the environment. By emphasizing the “eco-friendly” features of the mammoth yacht, the owners are attempting to promote Safira’s good qualities while greenwashing her bad ones. This misdirection of attention to her sustainable flooring and Energy Star rated products, masks the overwhelming resource consumption that is entailed in making a large metal boat. Not only does creating the Safira entail thousands of pounds CO2 emissions, but fuel input is limited to diesel and emits 305,674 pounds of CO2 per tank. The LED lighting, organic flooring and recycled leftovers cannot make up for the monstrous effect that JUST the CO2 emissions (not factoring in any other greenhouse gas) are having on our atmosphere not to mention our oceans! According to the IEA, CO2 emissions for domestic uses emitted 67 million tons in 2007 while fishing weighed in at merely 18 million tons.
While reversing the effects that such massive consumption of fuels is virtually impossible, we can make a motion in a better direction. My proposal would be to eliminate private yachts altogether. While I realize that implementing this would be a feat and require the lower classes collectively demanding change in the upper class, our generation is soon going to be faced with 2 options: stop releasing so much CO2 or be eradicated via radiation poisoning. Eliminating the use of private boats which use fossil fuels as propellants would reduce the millions of emissions being released significantly and benefit our entire population. Implementing this would require a massive shift in capitalism and teaching. Changing the social dynamic of waste and usage by teaching children early of their effects on the world could potentially change the outlook of our species and the generations to come.
Here is a link to the green washing of the Safira:

Jade Kern

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Eco-Friendly Biodegradable Tableware

Along with the idea of global warming that came to the publics knowledge a few years ago, came the fabulous marketing opportunity for businesses to make things “environmentally friendly” or “green.” In most cases the businesses are selling these “biodegradable” products for more money. The truth to the matter, though, is that greenwashing is forever in effect. Greenwashing is when a product is labeled and sold as a product that is environmentally friendly, yet in all reality the product is just misrepresented and many times actually has a negative effect on the environment. Paper plates have always been a convenient way for college kids to get out of doing dishes and for business people running late to a meeting to carry their breakfast. Because wasting paper is one of the main environmental issues, naturally corporations found a way to continue to sell paper plates and even raise the price while doing just as much, if not more, damage to the environment. “Eco-friendly biodegradable tableware” is a prime example of greenwashing. Apparently this “green” tableware is made in the ethanol biofuel industry. This industry is portrayed as extremely environmentally friendly because it is essentially converting our food into fuel instead of using oil. Although this sounds like a brilliant idea, it actually takes more oil to convert our food into fuel than it does to simply use oil in the first place. In fact, there is no gain from this production, but there is a loss in food production. While researching for this assignment, I learned that there are actually no regulation for businesses to use “green” claims. That, in itself, is alarming.

It is difficult to try and imagine a solution for a product that has been around for so long. After a lot of thought, an alternative for these not-so-eco-friendly plates finally popped into my head. What if the paper plates and cups and various other products were made of recycled paper that the EPA approves. This way, the EPA has control over the production and also makes sure that the ingredients to these products are actually former paper products. I believe that this will significantly raise the amount of “green” that goes into this product. This is a very plausible solution and I believe that it will cut all of the negatives and add many positives to the production and use of paper tableware, being that it doesn’t seem like people will stop using it cold-turkey any time soon.