EcoRubric 09:45 15 Mar 2021

Organic, eco and bio: how to recognize an advertising move in product labeling

How to learn to distinguish green from non-green products without falling for a new marketing trick — "greenwashing"

Photo: ecofinds.net

Sometimes, stores allocate entire shelves for such products, and it also happens that the entire market is ready to vouch for the environmental friendliness of goods, adding the prefix "ECO" to its name. Anastasia Martynenko, ecologist and mentor of Zero Waste Academy, is often approached by companies to clarify how safe a particular product is for consumers and the environment:

"Just 2 weeks ago, a company that packs its products in "bio-plastics" and "bio-bags" came to me with a request: where to send such packages for recycling. They were ready to collect them from their customers and recycle them so that the waste doesn't end up in landfills. But after our analysis, we found out that these bags are oxo-degradable. It's even worse than plastic. And the packaging contains polypropylene; no one will compost it."


It so happened that "bio-plastic" actually turned out to be even more harmful than ordinary bags, and the product's declared characteristics misled not only customers but also entrepreneurs. Such cases are not uncommon. Labels with the words "Natural product," "Not tested on animals," the images of green leaves, and other advertising tricks make us buy goods that rarely meet the declared qualities. It's called "greenwashing" — green camouflage, which emerged as all the rage to environmental friendliness, a new marketing ploy that increases the demand for a supposedly environmentally friendly product. Often, such markings make little sense; they're not prohibited by law, they don't declare directly about the quality of the goods, so no one can prove that another green sticker "ECO 100%" is a deception, not a design element.

This publication is available in Ukrainian and Russian. The English translation hasn’t been produced yet. Support us to make the translation faster - follow the link for instructions


If you have found a spelling error, please, notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.

Spelling error report

The following text will be sent to our editors: