Greenwashing is a topic that quickly sparked an interest in me simply because it relates to my daily life. The act of misleading consumers regarding environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits is the technical definition of greenwashing. Although I’m all for products that are environmentally conscious, I don’t appreciate not knowing the full story about a products history from beginning to end. A major issue we have currently is the amount of wastes in our landfills that are not biodegradable, one product being disposable diapers. Studies suggest that close to 4,000 disposable diapers are used per child in a lifetime. With this many diapers ending up in our landfills annually, it only makes sense that the diaper companies do something about the amount of pollution their products are causing.
Now be careful, these diaper companies may not be doing as much as you may think. For example, recently Huggies diapers claimed their new formula was “pure and natural” and used with organic cotton, which is supposedly better for the environment. Their packaging was redone in order to help the consumer feel as if they are not harming the environment by purchasing this product. Questions have surfaced about what percentage of the diaper actually uses organic cotton, along with what measures are taken to receive and use this organic cotton. The company will not reveal whether the cotton is certified cotton or not, a major factor in the well-being of the environment in the long run. The cotton Huggies is using may also be bleached with chemicals, which will then come in contact with the sensitive skin of babies.
This is a great example of greenwashing because while the new change that Huggies is presenting looks beneficial, it may be misleading in that the consumer is still unaware of the critical details in handling, manufacturing, and sourcing of the product. Personally, although boasting about using 20% post-consumer material in their product is a great thing, 20% is hardly anything in the long run. Be weary of the products you are buying!