Thomas Lawrence- March 6th, 2023
Are Eco Friendly Products Really Eco Friendly? A Guide to Sniffing Out the Green Bullsh*t 💩
Greenwashing is going to be a word you'll hear a lot in 2023.
More and more brands are trying to align themselves with a sustainable mission, but there's a lot of malpractice and stupidity happening as companies miss the mark.
So, let's answer the question directly. Are eco friendly products really eco friendly? The answer? Yes, absolutely. But, sometimes no.
There are some fantastic people creating amazing products that eliminate the need for excess resources, eliminate plastic and decrease emissions. We've spoken about our favourite examples of sustainable products and brands here.
However, less fantastic brands and people are taking advantage of people's desire to consume sustainably.
The obvious examples being fast-fashion giants such as H&M, BooHoo and others with pathetic attempts at a 'sustainability drive' whilst overproducing millions of garments made my underpaid workers.
To be frank, if it's a very large company or, owned by a large conglomorate such as Unilever or Proctor & Gamble- any sustainability claims are a pile of crap.
However, there are also a host of seemingly eco friendly companies selling products that on the surface, seem eco friendly.
But, if one looks a little closer, they'll start to see inconsistencies. For example, I recently came across a brand selling back scratchers made of responsibly sourced bamboo.
Yes, better than plastic, but does the world need more mass-produced back scratchers? Use a stick, save the planet's resources and the need for this product is completely eliminated.
For a deeper dive on what makes a product sustainable and how to spot greenwashed crap, read this post on spotting the difference.
Good People Inc's Guide to Spotting Greenwashing:
Greenwashing is a marketing tactic used by companies to make their products appear more environmentally friendly than they actually are.
Here are some tips on how to spot greenwashing:
1. Check for third-party certifications:
Look for certifications from trusted organizations, such as the Forest Stewardship Council, Energy Star, or the Rainforest Alliance.
These certifications indicate that a product has met certain environmental standards. However, be careful. Some of these organisations are as useless as the companies they rate. We'll be writing another blog soon speaking about the certifications that are actually meaningful.
2. Read the fine print:
Don't rely solely on buzzwords like "natural," "eco-friendly," or "sustainable." Look for specific details about a product's environmental impact, such as its carbon footprint or its use of recycled materials.
3. Investigate the company's track record:
Research a company's environmental practices and history of sustainability. Look for transparency in their reporting and commitment to reducing their environmental impact.
4. Beware of vague or unsubstantiated claims:
Be skeptical of claims that are too broad or don't provide specific evidence to back them up. For example, a company claiming to be "100% green" without any clear explanation of what that means or how they achieved it should be viewed with caution.
5. Look beyond the packaging:
A product's packaging may look environmentally friendly, but that doesn't necessarily mean the product itself is. Focus on the product's actual ingredients or materials, rather than just the packaging.
If I could sum up this guide in one sentence, it's to judge products based on the facts, not the brand's claims or marketing. If you follow the facts, greenwashing is surprisingly easy to spot.
Wanting to shop sustainably? Explore our marketplace.
Everything listed on Good People Inc. is previously vetted to ensure it is truly a sustainable product.
We are rigorous with our decision making to ensure the Good People marketplace is a safe haven from the attempts of marketers and unethical companies to sell you their goods.
If you want sustainable products, Good People Inc. is the place to get them.
Here's a few examples of products that are truly eco friendly:
1. The Leaf Razor 🪒🌿
The shaving industry produces obscene amounts of plastic. Disposable plastic razors litter our landfills and a solution was needed.
Thankfully, Leaf Shave stepped up and created the Leaf Razor. It looks like a gilette razor except it's made completely of stainless steel and the blades can be replaced by any standard razorblade.
Meaning.. a plastic free shave.
What's more, the razor has raving reviews and genuienly works out cheaper over time since the refills cost practically nothing.
The Leaf Razor is an easy spot when recognising an eco friendly product because its design alone completely eliminates plastic from an industry.
2. Shampoo/Conditioner Bars 💆🏽
Shampoo/conditioner bars offer several benefits compared to traditional liquid shampoos, including being more eco-friendly due to their minimal packaging and reducing the amount of plastic waste.
They also tend to have more natural ingredients and lack harsh chemicals commonly found in liquid shampoos, making them gentler on the scalp and better for those with sensitive skin.
Shampoo/conditioner bars are also more compact and travel-friendly, and they last longer, making them a cost-effective option in the long run.
These two brands, Wellow and B.O.B (bars over bottles) fit the bill. A good ingredients list, plastic free packaging and made in the USA (carbon efficient).
So, what have we learned?
Greenwashing is obvious to spot if we know where to look. Recognise that marketing slogans are nothing but marketing slogans.
However, don't become a complete skeptic. Brands have track records, and we can begin to build trust with brands that have proven themselves to act responsibly again and again overtime.
Look for claims that are backed up by transparency, published reports and sound logic and you'll find a whole world of amazing brands and amazing products that are moving us toward a better future.
-Thomas Lawrence, March 6th 2023