Greenwashing. I’ve been a victim. Have you?

 

Have you ever heard of Greenwashing before? I bet as soon as you see the example below, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

Greenwashing is when a company spins their marketing, or the look of their product, to appear more environmentally friendly and/or “natural” than they really are. How do they do this? It sounds ridiculous and way too simple but they make the packaging green. Or clear. Or white. It gives the appearance of a clean look.

They add flowers or plants to the label. They use words like “bio”, “natural”, and “pure” which literally mean nothing. Anyone can write that on a label. There aren’t any regulations in place to stop them.

This isn’t a new concept but there has been significant growth in recent years as people are becoming more aware. We’re starting to pay attention to the number of toxins accumulating in our daily products. We’re starting to pay attention to the state of our planet and that we each need to do our part.

Have you ever visited a hotel and seen a placard on the nightstand asking you to reuse your towels to reduce energy waste? It’s been proven that this practice hasn’t reduced any waste. But wait for it. It HAS increased the profits of those hotels because the guests begin to perceive them as a better option over hotels that aren’t making an effort to reduce waste. It’s brilliant on their end. It really is.

Here’s a product example of Greenwashing.

herbalessence

Herbal Essences. The greenwashing starts with the name. The green packaging. The flowers. The stamp with the leaf and the words “bio:renew”. No parabens, gluten or colors. Cucumber and green tea fragrance. Made with antioxidants, aloe and sea kelp.

I’m tempted to run to CVS and pick this up right now! Except. Except this is the ingredient list.

Water, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Water, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Histidine, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Panthenol, Ecklonia Radiata Extract, Zea Mays (Corn) Silk Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Flower Extract, Fragrance, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Bis-Aminopropyl Dimethicone, Benzyl Alcohol, Dicetyldimonium Chloride, Glutamic Acid, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone

Here’s how I feel about this new bio line. It’s better than the old stuff. Ha! I’ll give them that. However, the fragrance and the methylisothiazolinone rank 8 and 7 on a toxicity scale of 1 to 10 put out by the Environmental Working Group. Benzyl Alcohol (which I touch on later) is a 6. Many of these ingredients are fine but at least 5 are known to attack the immune system, reproductive system and are straight up toxic to our environment!

That goes directly against the message they’re trying to convey.

Herbal Essences isn’t exactly known for being a “natural” company so let’s talk about one that is. Tom’s of Maine. Oh Tom’s. I want to love you. I really do. But I can’t.

These are photos of a toothpaste that I purchased on a whim a few years ago.

toms.jpg

Ok, so fluoride-free and natural. Arginine is fine. I’ve used Calcium Carbonate in my homemade toothpaste so I know that’s good.  Fresh mint. White, simple packaging with some green to let me know that they use plants and care about the planet.

Now let’s flip it over.

toms2.jpg

Benzyl alcohol. The amount of this ingredient that the FDA has deemed safe doesn’t take into account the fact that it’s in almost ALL of our bathroom products and we’re using them daily. Long term use can cause dermatitis, wreak havoc on our livers and is damaging to our central nervous system.

How about Sodium Lauryl Sulfate? It’s super cheap to make and it’s the ingredient that causes the product to lather and make beautiful bubbles so that we think everything is getting nice and clean. However, The Journal of Toxicology provided a safety assessment and recommended that no more than 1% of this should be in a product that is going to be used on a regular basis. Disturbingly, however, most of the products containing SLS have 10-20% of it and some even up to 30%.

It’s been known to inhibit proper eye development in young children and cause major skin/scalp issues in a select few. “But it’s just in their toothpaste”, you think. “It’s not going on their eyes.” Not true. The body absorbs it all. It’s going into the bloodstream. Our skin is a sponge. Our gums. Our mouth. You’re not avoiding these ingredients by brushing and spitting them out.

Here’s the good news! You don’t have to use these products!! What about our government banning these ingredients. Europe is doing it, so why are we so far behind?

Personally, I lean Conservative. I hope we can still be friends. I’m not a big fan of slapping government regulations on everything. Know what I am a big fan of? Knowing the facts. Educating myself. I can read a label and I am in charge of where I spend my dollars. I don’t get to blame these companies for deceiving me. I’m a big girl.

So what do I choose to do about it? I respond by spending my money on a company that isn’t deceiving me. I purchase all of my household and bathroom products from Young Living. They are the real deal when it comes to environmental impact as well as toxin-free products.

Someone helped me a long time ago and I can’t express how happy I am that they did. Now I want to help you. I really do. There isn’t a product in my house anymore that contains any of these ingredients. BUT we’re still clean, we still smell good and we’re saving a bunch of money. And I want to show you how.

Check out my Young Living page here. There are several kits and one contains cleaning products, mouthwash, toothpaste and all sorts of toxin-free goodies. Shoot me an email with questions at livefreeandoil@yahoo.com

It’s ok if you didn’t know any of this. I didn’t either. Those pictures of the toothpaste are of my hand in my bathroom. But now I do know and you do, too. So what are you doing to do about it?

 

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