Second to Kermit the Frog, I would like to think I am the first to admit that. I know it’s hard to remember to bring your canvas grocery bags from home. There were times where I really didn’t want to put my boots on this winter and trudge out to my worm bin to feed them our food scraps. I’m not perfect, far from it. I still buy the flash drive that has a million layers of packaging and I have no idea of what the conditions of its production were.
I try to be aware. I try to buy in season, I grow my own vegetables and try to support local farmers as well as dairy and meat producers as well. And I do it as a struggling student with two kids to feed. I’m REALLY trying not to get on my soap box, because we are all human. More specifically, most of those reading this and myself are all members of the U.S. population, which means that for us to take a moment to defy the individualistic nature inherent in our society and work toward a greater good is a freaking miracle!
So when I see someone taking advantage of this pursuit of the greater good, I get a little peeved. So this is where I get to my mini-rant. Being green is not a commodity for marketing. There I said it. In fact, I don’t even like to say I’m green. I like words like sustainable or environmental steward. Because most of the time you never know what is being marketed to you is truly green or greenwashing.
According the Greenpeace website, stopgreenwash.org, the definition for greenwashing is:
“Used to describe the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.” – Greenpeace
stopgreenwash.org mainly focuses on major oil, nuclear, auto, electricity, coal and forestry. However, the rules they used to assess companies in their investigations (http://stopgreenwash.org/criteria) can be applied any purchase you are considering. I also think you could ask yourself if there any human rights violations issues (see my blog about Alta Gracia and Free Trade Zones.) Be a smart shopper and ask yourself if they are green or just greenwashing.
Another big green or greenwashing trend that is going around is “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose.” I love found art. I love old things re-made beautiful and trash made into something wonderful and usable. You can find directions on the internet teaching you how to repurpose these things to make them beautiful/useful/reusable. There are even people willing to charge you a pretty penny to teach you or your children how.
A recycled paper making class I would gladly pay for, however, learning how to turn an old package of gum into a credit card holder using duct tape? You might want to pass on that. In addition to the fact that a paper gum pack is perfectly recyclable or compostable on its own, once you apply any duct tape to anything it is no longer recyclable.