Scene: You’re at the vending machine, choosing what your chip fix will be today.
“Mmm, Doritos. Or Cheetos. Or Lays? So many choices! Ooh, wait, I should get Sunchips. It says they’re healthy and natural, it’s like they’re not even junk food!”
Cut. Sound familiar?
Advertising gimmicks like these are known as “greenwashing,” a term taken from whitewashing, which is to cover up negative behavior with flimsy, false data and misleading information. Plenty of green-minded consumers (yourself included) have been tricked by this misleading tactic. But no more!
It’s common to see a solid wall of these products at your grocery store, plastered with vague terms like “green,” “all natural,” “pure” or “eco-friendly.” But often, these terms mean absolutely nothing. They are completely unregulated and undefined and can therefore be slapped on just about every product imaginable – which they have been.
But you can see past these deceiving advertising techniques simply by making the conscious choice to read the labels, and figure it out for yourself. Don’t believe everything you read, be aware of your choices. These terms do not have any bearing on the health or sustainability of the products, and are, at best, only partially true. Look for products that back up their claims with facts or have meaningful and relevant claims. Thinking critically about your choices is the best way to start making better ones, for you, and for the planet.
So let’s retry that scene. Action!
“So many choices! What about these chips? It says they use solar power in their factories, and the bag is partially made of plant products. Plus I can see that they have less artificial ingredients than anything else here. It sounds like a better choice, I’ll go with them.”