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New word: Greenwashing

September 29th, 2013 · No Comments · Consumer Issues, Multiple use, Toxic Waste, Trash Disposal

I’ve just found the word — I knew there had to be one — for something we’re all seeing an awful lot of these days. It refers to the attempt to make a product or company look like it’s “green” when it is so very not. Here’s a perfect example: remember checks? or as the Brits would say, cheques? They used to come in a little cardboard box, like this:


Now they come in a super annoying plastic bag, like this:








First lie: the bag is green. How dumb do they think we are?

Second lie: The bag contains the message: Cut Pull Reuse. They’re deceitfully trying to echo the three word slogan being used to promote waste reduction, which is Reduce Reuse Recycle. Note that is not at all what this says or means.


The instruction “Cut” is for how to open the package, an indication that it probably isn’t reclosable.

“Pull” is for how to remove the item from the bag — and we should be concerned that anybody who can’t figure that out on their own would be receiving an order of checks.

And as for the instruction to “Reuse” — for what, pray tell, are we to reuse this awkwardly shaped non-reclosable bag? And do we not already have a cupboard full of plastic bags awaiting re-use — many of them practical in size and shape, much more attractive, and actually reusable.

Third lie:  The little spiral arrow you see there under the word Reuse is misleadingly mimicking the well known icon of three arrows spinning around each other that consumers have come to associate with recyclability. A quick glance might fool the least attentive consumers, but not us.

This bag is made of a completely non-recyclable type of plastic, popular as a packaging material because it won’t rip during shipping. Recall that before this material was invented, shipping still happened, and that most items arrived at their destinations undamaged.

The business of packaging is one of the worst contributors to waste in the known world, and if I don’t find a way to do something about it, my next stop will have to be Anger Management Class.

PS: Are you reading this, Harland-Clarke company? We’re on to you! Quit trying to look green when you are so NOT! How about putting your energy and marketing money in to actually being green?

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