Currently, the annual consumption of plastic bottles is scheduled to top half a trillion by 2021, far outweighing recycling efforts.A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and the number will jump another 20% by 2021, creating an environmental crisis some campaigners predict will be as serious as climate change.
Many corporations are taking plastic reduction into account as part of their corporate social responsibility. For example, Lush is expanding their “Naked” product line, made of bath products that are not packaged in plastic. Lush released a statement about their new packaging initiative, writing, “We use as little packaging in the shops as possible and give you the choice to go completely naked – we mean the products, not yourselves.
What do we mean by naked? When we say “naked” we are usually referring to the products you can buy with absolutely no packaging at all, like our Bath Bombs, massage bars and solid shampoo bars to name a few. If you go naked all the time, you can save over 30 plastic bottles a year from entering our landfills!”
In a recent announcement, LEGO has stated that they are “moving away from plastic to more sustainable manufacturing materials.” LEGO previously used over 6 billion tons plastic each year, the decision to move toward more sustainable materials came as a welcomed surprise.
Though many corporations are making serious efforts to ditch non-reusable plastic, some efforts are not as honest. Greenwashing is a term used to describe when a company or organization spends more time and money claiming to be “green” through advertising and marketing than actually implementing business practices that minimize environmental impact.
Products such as Coca Cola Life and Starbucks Coffee are common examples of Greenwashing. Both products incorporate green into the product logos and market their products as sustainable without incorporating sustainable practices into their supply chain.
Greenwashing is on the rise as more consumers become aware of the importance of reducing waste. That being said, I advise caution when purchasing seemingly “sustainable products.” A great way to distinguish a greenwashed product from a sustainable sourced and manufactured product is to check for the following labels:
- Check the greenwashing index: http://greenwashingindex.com//
This index provides “thumbs up” and a “thumbs down” section, distinguishing greenwashed brands from genuine brands.
2. Look for carbon free or carbon neutral labels.
These labels are third-party certified by Carbonfund.org and Natural Capital Partners, respectively, organizations that work with companies to reduce their carbon emissions and offset whatever can’t be reduced.
3. Look for “Post-Consumer Content” or “Recycled Content” listings when shopping for paper products. These listings are found on the packaging.