Day 315: Greenwash for a Friendly Future

greenwashIf this isn’t the most blatant greenwash you’ve ever seen, I don’t know what is.

I was reading a Metro newspaper the other day when a contest advertisement caught my eye advertising a chance to win a “future friendly” basket. Judging by the almost obscene use of the colour green here, you might have thought it had something to do with sustainability, or at least more environmentally-friendly products. You thought wrong.

Turns out that Future Friendly is actually a BRAND brought to you by some of the least “eco” companies I can think of. Their gorgeous website sports the triple banners of “less waste”, “less energy”, “less packaging” and has all these great tips for saving the earth like using leftover wine to cook with, printing on both sides of the paper, and buying bread without a bag.

But they neglect to mention that none of their products is “walking the walk” so to speak. Sure, Ultra Downy is more concentrated than regular Downy, and therefore uses less packaging, but that doesn’t mean it is biodegradable or even necessary!

Let’s take a closer look and check out just what’s in this future friendly plastic basket of un-greeness:

Charmin Toilet Paper and Bounty Paper Towel – These products are both on the RED list according to Greenpeace who states that Proctor & Gamble (Charmin’s parent company) “stands out as being particularly resistant to becoming ancient forest friendly. It refuses to increase the recycled content of its products even though it currently has some of the lowest recycled fibre use rates in North America”. The “eco” feature of Bounty, according to the Future Fruendly website is that it has smaller sheets so you use less than regular sized paper towels. Why should doing a little better than the status quo be the target? I say buy recycled TP and use a cloth rag if you have to wipe your kitchen counter.

Cascade Dishwashing Detergent – This product may or may not contain phosphates (check your labels because I think it depends on where you live). Apparently Spokane County (among other regions) has banned phosphate containing dishwasher detergents, although if you click on the link, you’ll see that it has actually spawned a bit of a detergent black market which I think is pretty funny. Anyway, if it doesn’t say “biodegradable”, I don’t want it going down my drain.

Tide Laundry Detergent & -Ok, so phosphates are generally banned in laundry detergents, but that doesn’t mean Tide is your best option. For one thing, it isn’t biodegradable. For another, it’s a Proctor & Gamble company (lest I refer you to the toilet paper atrocities). I prefer to support a local company if I’m going to be buying detergent and to make my own when I have enough foresight to actually get it done.

Duracell Betteries – wrapped in plastic, non-rechargeable. I’m not sure that there is a single earth friendly feature about this product.

Ultra Downy Fabric Softener – you probably have already figured out that I don’t use fabric softener. Why clean your clothes and then bathe them in chemicals? And don’t give me that “it’s concentrated so you use less” argument either: using none uses even less than using the concentrated stuff, so beat that.

Whew, I better stop here before I get to snarky for my own good. But the final word is shame on those who would try to pass conventional products off as green. And shame on Metro newspaper for supporting it.



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8 responses to “Day 315: Greenwash for a Friendly Future

  1. I don’t think it’s possible to get too snarky! And I didn’t think it was possible to have an obscene amount of green, but after your analysis of this gift basket, I changed my mine.

  2. grant

    That’s a lame prize anyway, Hey I won, let’s celebrate by cleaning the toilet!

  3. rhy

    agreed totally lame!

  4. Erika

    Totally agree! What’s with the obsession with softener? Didn’t need before it was invented. Why should we need it now?

    • ruth_dt

      Easy Erika, there are a lot of things we didn’t need before they were invented, like sanitation! Just because we previously got by without it, doesn’t mean we don’t need it.

      (Obviously neither is the reverse true. I’m not saying that we particularly need softener, just that your argument needs work.)

      I find using softener makes my socks last longer before they get holes in the toes, so I throw out fewer socks. I don’t use much and it’s biodegradable.

  5. It’s really a shame that people feel they have to trick you into purchasing their products. They should be held accountable! I’ll help spread the word to all of my readers as well, we need to let everyone know about the shady practices some companies will go to!

    Thanks for letting us all know!

  6. ugh, obscene amount of ‘green’ indeed!! 😦

    lol, maybe we should ban color green & ‘future friendly’ being used for non-eco products? 🙂 (I’m part serious! :))
    at least they could be reported to a consumer watchdog organisation?

    my ‘worst of the lot’ would be non-rechargeable batteries! not sure why those don’t get banned too? (like the bags?) or made prohibitively expensive by taxation?

    hm, I think even how ‘biodegradable’ something is depends on where you live & the local facilities & procedures for biodegrading..

    we don’t use softener either.. didn’t know about the socks though.. hmm?
    well, the dryer is worst enemy of the socks & other clothes, & being lazy & putting shoes on without unlacing shoelaces is also bad for da socks, as I found out recently.. so I’m thinking if I manage to keep them away from dryer & bad shoes etc the socks will be eternally thankful anyway..

    my neighbour’s son was heavily allergic to fabric softeners..
    we learn as long as we live..

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