Have you ever been greenwashed? I know I definitely have!
There’s something about a beautiful label that draws me in. That’s what it’s designed to do, after all!
Marketers use clever labels and popular phrases to catch the eye and make the sale. When those phrases are focused on clean and eco-friendly living but the product itself isn’t exactly as clean as the label, that’s called greenwashing.
Greenwashing is when a company markets or presents itself as an environmentally conscious or that their products are safe and healthy - but in reality they aren't.
When I see terms like…
Free of… (parabens, preservatives, aluminum)
My greenwashing radar turns on. Most of these terms are unregulated and hold no real meaning.
Healthy living has become trendy. Marketers are paying attention, redesigning labels, and creating new product lines to fill this niche.
What about Mrs. Meyers???
Let’s chat about a brand that greenwashed me (and maybe you too)…
Super cute packaging
Inspired by grandmotherly figure Mrs. Meyers
They claim: “All of our cleaners are made with plant-derived ingredients, essential oils, and other thoughtfully chosen ingredients.”
Sold on websites like Gove Collaborative and Thrive Market
But when you look past the clever marketing, are the ingredients truly safe?
I spent a little time looking into each of the ingredients listed for the Basil Dish Soap.
Here is a diagram of the ingredients listed on their website. I listed the rating next to the ingredient for those ingredients rated lower than a B by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) .
Six of the ingredients are rated a C or D! Additionally, the ingredients disclosed in “fragrance” are all rated a C and many aren’t even rated by the EWG.
Also, Mrs. Meyers isn’t exactly a small family owned business. The parent company is SC Johnson.
As I admitted earlier, I was totally greenwashed by Mrs. Meyers! I’m so glad I have the knowledge to choose safer products, not just those that say they are.
Once you start paying attention, you’ll see greenwashing everywhere!
Let’s Support Ethical Companies!
Transparency is important to me! I get very irritated when a company actively misleads customers.
When we buy products, we are financially supporting the company and their product.
Yes, it takes more time to determine which products are safe. Yes, it’s confusing to analyze an ingredient label.
That’s why when I find companies I trust, I stick with them. (And I keep checking up on them to make sure they haven’t been bought out and reformulated their products.)
While it may take more time to determine which products are safe and eco-consciously produced, it is important to do! Making informed purchases supports transparent and ethically minded businesses.
So the next time you shop, look beyond the label and dive a little deeper. You might consider researching:
If the brand is owned by a larger parent company or corporation.
Where the product is made.
How the ingredients are sourced.
And if the ingredients live up to your personal safety standards
I hope you now feel confident to make informed decisions and can more easily spot greenwashers!
Have you been greenwashed before? How did you feel when you realized you’d been misled?