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Enforcement necessary on greenwashing?

By: Isabelle Kingsley, Category: Lifelong Learning, Date: 01 Sep 2011

'It’s not easy being green' but some manufacturers don’t make it any easier with misleading green claims. How can you trust if a product’s claims are accurate or if they're just greenwash?

It seems trendy for manufacturers and retailers to claim their products are environmentally friendly, but many of these green claims are confusing, and some even fraudulent.

Should Australia crack down on greenwashing by prosecuting misleading claims and updating the rules for consumer disclosure?

To avoid being misled, read the labels carefully. Here are a few tips on reading product labels:

  1. Check for certification by a respected organisation.
  2. Look for specific details. Example: if the product is 'recycled', look for how much of the content is recycled (5% or 100% ... there’s a difference!)
  3. Put it in context. Example: A “biodegradable” product won’t biodegrade if you put it in a plastic garbage bag, or a “recyclable” product won’t be recycled if it is not included in your local recycling program.


You can check out Eco-Buy’s website to find out more about buying green products and services. Tell us what you think OR share some examples of greenwashing you've come across.

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