greenwashing Tag

15 Jun 2011 Inside Sustainable Packaging Reaches Three Year Anniversary

Inside Sustainable Packaging blog 3 year anniversaryIt’s difficult to believe that we’ve been doing this for three years, but this week marks the third anniversary of the launch of our popular blog. In 2008, our then-marketing director Brad Shorr urged us to blog and share what we know and what we do, with the world. I reluctantly agreed, even though operating a business that openly ran contrary to my nature as well as my experience in the packaging industry, where you learn to never, ever risk educating the competition. Nearly 300 blog posts later, I am thrilled by the results of our outreach and even more grateful for the people and companies it has brought into our lives. If we have educated a competitor or two along the way, it was a small price to pay for the information we’ve been able to share with hundreds, if not thousands, of people, as well as the relationships we have made. One of the things we most appreciate is the feedback we receive from our ISP readers, which is quite often sent to us offline. To commemorate this three year milestone we’ve shared a few of the most frequently asked questions.
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11 Mar 2010 A Plastic Bag by Any Other Name

[caption id="attachment_1272" align="alignnone" width="425" caption="How Green Are These Reusable Shopping Bags?"][/caption] First let me say I love Kohl’s retail stores. If you are looking for almost any brand name product ranging from clothing and bedding to luggage and small kitchen appliances, Kohls’ makes it difficult to pay “full retail price” with their never ending sales and promotions. They are terrific but when they stretch the green truth, I feel a strong obligation to call them out on it.

The Ready to Reuse Shopping Bag

At first glance it looked like a great idea. A reusable shopping bag that thanks to a unique design and a well placed snap, neatly folds up into a compact little package. I am sure we all mostly agree the use of reusable shopping bags is probably a good idea so anything that will make them easier to carry and use can only be a plus. Add some green graphics, some cool green buzz words and voila, you have a ... plastic bag. “The Devil Is in the Details” Was one of my grandfather’s favorite sayings and an eternal, indisputable truth. No matter what the subject or when it is being said, the small unobvious details are often where the truth or lack of it can be found. A close look at the small tag, I found deep inside of the bag told me so much more than the colorful bag or the outer tag so prominently displayed. The bag is 100% polypropylene, which of course is nothing more than plastic. This particular bag, like most that are used to help “save the earth”, is imported from China. I think most of our readers know how I feel about importing products like this from the other side of the world, especially when over 10% of our own population is unemployed. Putting that carbon footprint and exporting jobs issues aside, here are some other things that are likely to go unnoticed by the average reusable bag buyer.
  • There is no indication of recycled content. That is not good.
  • There are no instructions for the ultimate disposal of the bag. It will eventually have to be discarded, but how?
  • The tag clearly indicates it is not for use with food but can’t we assume people shop for groceries more often than they do for sox and underwear? Shouldn’t that important information be somewhere where people are more likely to see it?
  • Since it is likely to be used for grocery shopping, wouldn’t it be great if it was washable? Google “reusable bag germs” and get ready to be shocked.
Am I Anti Reusable Bag?
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04 Feb 2010 Eco Power – The Selling of Green

[caption id="attachment_1180" align="alignnone" width="425"]eco friendly rayon socks display at sams club How Eco Friendly Are These Rayon - Bamboo Socks, Really?[/caption] When you think of the term “eco power” what do you think of? Perhaps wind mills or some type of naturally produced energy. Or maybe an all natural, organic energy drink to be consumed while working out? What you almost certainly don’t think about is socks.

Eye Catching Eco Display

A few weeks ago I noticed this display while shopping at Sam’s Club. Products being promoted in a green manner always capture my attention but I guess that is the purpose of using green catch phrases like “eco power”. It leads consumers to believe that there is something uniquely green about the product being offered. I took a closer look and realized the product on display was cotton socks so of course I had to determine how Burlington was able to make any green claims about their product. I discovered the socks were made of “rayon made from bamboo” which supposedly gave them some terrific properties to combat moisture and odor. I also noticed that the rayon made from bamboo was a mere 2% of the overall composition and the primary material being used is cotton, the non-organic variety. The labeling and display proudly proclaimed the socks were made domestically but no real indication where the cotton came from, how it was grown and how the people who harvested it were treated. Yet, that tiny bit of “natural” composition made these socks a green product? Is Rayon Even Natural? According to everything I have read, rayon is neither a natural or synthetic product. It is a “semi synthetic fiber”. Any number of different naturally growing plants and trees including bamboo can produce the cellulose from which you can make rayon but in my mind, that does not necessarily make the end result bamboo, or even make it green. I had no idea that last August the FTC came to the same conclusion when they released this bulletin. Why Is This Product Still on the Shelf? I took this photo on Tuesday when I re-visited Sam’s Club to pick up a few items. Right in the middle of one of their main aisles was the greenest retailer in America, Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club, selling a product that at best is questionably green and at worst, possibly intentionally misleading.
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31 Jul 2008 Why Secondary Packaging Is Important

"Secondary packaging corrugated"
As consumers and people concerned with the environmental waste problem, secondary packaging should matter to all of us but I believe it is especially important for every traditional or e-commerce retailer of green products, to understand why it is important to them. During a recent presentation to some new e-commerce green store owners, I offered this list of reasons why:
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