Greenwashing and the myth of recycling

September 2, 2021 | Written by OceanSaver

We are all trying to make the world a better place and contribute to a greener society. This eagerness to do good is something that many companies are picking up and cashing in on. So, it comes as no surprised that many of us have unknowingly fallen into the greenwashing trap.

Greenwashing are unsubstantiated claims that lead consumers into believing that products are environmentally friendly. Companies apply greenwashing techniques to the promotion of their products to appeal to the eco-conscious consumer. As public consciousness of environmental issues grows, so does the temptation to greenwash, with corporates rushing to exploit consumers’ desire to live more sustainably. But as awareness of greenwashing is becoming more widespread, consumers have the power to see through it rather than falling into the trap of believing that there are simple solutions to complex problems.

One of the most pervasive examples of greenwashing can be found in the world of single-use plastic. Did you know that half of the worlds disposable plastic has been produced in the last 15 years?! And 91% of plastic produced globally is NOT recycled. You have probably heard that there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050. It’s no wonder that the world is up in arms about this tragic by-product of our disposable lifestyles.
However, many people fall victim to the dangerous idea that recycling is the silver bullet. The reality is that we simply can’t recycle our way out of the plastic problem! Not only is recycling a bit of environmental folklore, but so are many of the bioplastics being marketed as sustainable solutions. In nearly every case, they need a certain set of conditions to break down in (e.g. oxygen and sunlight that aren’t present in a landfill or the ocean). And even if items like household cleaner bottles are made from recyclable plastic, it doesn’t mean that they will actually get recycled. What most people don’t know is that containers that held chemicals won’t be recycled unless they are thoroughly cleaned out before being put in the recycling bin. In the waste management hierarchy, the first steps must therefore always be to reduce and reuse.

Greenwashing is all about misdirection, showing one thing that distracts you from what is really going on. The main problem is that greenwashing takes up valuable space in the fight against significant environmental issues like climate change or plastic ocean pollution. We are approaching a critical time in which more organisations and individuals are adopting sustainable design and zero waste living practices, and entire communities are banning single-use plastics. It’s important to be able to quickly identify instances of greenwashing and replace them with truly sustainable practices.

Our mission at OceanSaver is to get everyone to banish single-use plastic from their household cleaning routine. Our concentrated EcoDrop refills are completely plastic free and our bottles for life are made from prevented ocean plastic (but we encourage everyone to reuse the spray bottles they already have). Simply drop a refill into a reusable spray bottle, fill with water, shake and clean!