The other day I found myself looking at the reduced section in the shop and exulting when seeing the ‘seepie’ soap nuts - I was always curious about using them! Yes, they are expensive, but it claims to be such an environmentally friendly way of washing your clothes. I knew very little about them, I somewhat only knew what it claimed to be but the reduced price made it quickly end up in my shopping basket!
'Alarm bells ringing...'
Somehow, quickly after placing them in my basket I remembered that I just started washing things with some simple 'Marseille soap' bar (grated) and vinegar instead of fabric conditioner , with some added essential oil for smell and, if washing whites or stained clothes, some hydrogen peroxide.. so, soap nuts out of the basket and back on the shelf they go! (Me vs Marketing: 1-0!)
I didn't NEED to buy a product which is not only packaged in plastic, but also shipped half way around the world. Yes, because soap nuts are not produced locally but they are a product of a fruit coming for the most part all the way from India, let's talk about the carbon footprint of that! And on top of it, I wonder how much are we actually paying for them at the source (are they fairtrade?) considering that they are sold like if they were liquid gold in this Western society. So yes, I do use soap but only very little amounts, grating a soap bar that I will soon be producing myself with just some oil and sodium (no harsh chemicals in marseille soap..), which I believe overall has a lot less impact.
All of this to say that I was nearly a victim of 'greenwashing'.
Do you know what 'greewashing' is?
Despite the story being about washing, greenwashing has nothing to do with it.
Greenwashing, aside from being a fantastic catchy song by Tryo (everytime i hear the word my brain goes 'on veut du green green green green green greeen-washing' - full lyrics for your own information at the bottom) is also a real issue, and many eco friendly lifestyle gurus fall victims of this!
Greenwashing is defined as is the practice of making an unsubstantiated or misleading claim about the environmental benefits of a product, service, technology or company practice. Greenwashing can make a company appear to be more environmentally friendly than it really is.
Basically, a lot of products today are things you don't need, and many companies will make you believe that buying a 'bamboo' coffee cup will solve all of this planet issues. But if you already have a plastic one, or maybe a metal one, you would have to throw that away in order to replace it with a 'bamboo' one (where is the bamboo from? How do you transform bamboo into a cup or into a lunch box? Does it require any toxic glue?).
This is just an example, and there are multiple ways that companies can trick you into buying things. So my recommendation is to always have your brain switched on, and ask some questions. The most important being : 'do I really need it?'.
Do you have any examples of greenwashing?
Oh and don't forget to listen to this super catchy song. And if you know some French, you can also learn more about 'greenwashing' from the lyrics below!
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