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On the subject of Greenwashing


'What is Greenwashing?', I hear you ask. Well, it's when you make a product look more environmentally friendly than it is, as a marketing gimmick and with the aim of therefore selling more due to said product's environmental credentials. 

It really annoys me, so I'm going to have a little rant. I'm going to caveat this by saying I used to work in the waste industry, so whilst I don't claim to be an expert, I'm fairly well informed on the subject. 

The item that was the final straw for me, popped up as a sponsored ad, and it was for a company selling compostable bin bags. Like the ones you use as black bags in your kitchen bin. I'll confess I didn't look at the price, but I'm going to assume they're probably more expensive than your average pack of black bin bags from your local supermarket. 

They're also completely and utterly pointless. 

Most residual waste (that's your black bag waste from your kitchen bin) goes into an energy from waste facility. This is where your waste gets incinerated (normally, although there are other technologies) and used to create energy. The energy is used to power the plant, with excess going into the National Grid. I might get shot down for this but I think they're actually quite a good idea. They dispose of waste in a clean way, without putting it into landfill, and they produce energy without the consumption of fossil fuels. That's a win win as far as I'm concerned. The Swedes are pretty good at this if you want to find out more. They build them in towns and cities and use the residual heat for local homes and businesses. 

So, back to our compostable bin bags. They get burnt in the same way a black plastic one would. They don't have the opportunity to compost anywhere, so don't waste your money. 

If you want to be more environmentally friendly, here are things you can do: 

1) Consume less, especially fast fashion. We covered the topic of secondhand shopping previously. 

2) Look at choosing items that have less packaging - so switch to solids for shampoos and soaps, buy loose goods and keep your re-usable produce bags and pots handy. 

3) Re-use as much as you can, either though buying re-usable items instead of single use (coffee cups, straws, nappies, bags, period stuff etc...) or by switching to second hand, passing things on or upcycling items to give them a new lease of life. 

4) When you've done all of the above, recycle as much as you can of what's left. 

If you do all of this, you will end up with less waste anyway. You don't need to switch to new, single-use products because I can almost guarantee they are no more environmentally friendly than the ones you're already using. 

I appreciate people are trying to be more eco-friendly, and that's a good thing. But it's also why companies are trying to put a green-spin on their products to convince you to buy more, and that really bugs me. It's rather confusing to know what to do for the best sometimes, so if you have any questions, please ask and I'll do my best to help. 

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If you liked this, you can read the follow up post here - In defence of plastic 


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