Breaking down the buzzword - what is "greenwashing"?

Breaking down the buzzword - what is "greenwashing"?

Let's talk about "greenwashing" shall we? It's become quite the buzzword lately as more and more companies jump on the eco-friendly bandwagon. But what exactly is it?

Simply put, greenwashing is when companies make misleading or exaggerated claims about how environmentally friendly their products are. It's like slapping a "green" label on something just to appeal to eco-conscious consumers, even if the product itself, or the company as a whole, isn't very focused on sustainability.

Authenticity (another trendy buzz word) and sustainability aren't just words I throw around – they're at the core of every decision I make in my business. I believe in being upfront and honest about my commitment to the planet and to my customers.

In fact, I'll be the first to tell you that while I make and sell reusable paper towels, we still have traditional disposable paper towels in our home. Granted we buy one roll at a time and don't purchase the brands that have additional plastic wrapping around the roll. That one roll lasts us months and months because we so rarely use them. Our family includes two young kids and a dog, so there are just some messes that happen around here that call for a disposable option.

I'm big on the idea that something is better than nothing. My friend, Lauren Tilden, would call this "progress over perfection" and it's something that feels pretty good once you get into that mindset. Being eco-friendly to me isn't about going from using plastic grocery bags to reusable toilet paper overnight. It's about consciously choosing eco-friendly options that work best for you and fit into your lifestyle. Reducing the number of traditional paper towels we use and throw away by using reusable paper towels 95% of the time still matters and makes and impact.

So, let's break down some of the ways sustainability plays a role in my business decisions.

1. Thoughtful Sourcing: I don't just partner with anyone or purchase supplies from the cheapest companies to keep my bottom line healthy. I take a deep dive and vet the companies I work with to make sure they aren't making claims that don't hold up. Often that means spending a few extra bucks, but that's okay in my book. From where the fabrics are made to how they're printed, I'm all about supporting small artists and local businesses that prioritize the planet. Purchasing from US companies also means my order isn't being flown all over the world before it gets to me which reduces pollution. 

2. Conscious Packaging: Sustainability isn't just about the product; it's about the packaging too. That's why I use shipping bags that are made from recycled materials and designed for reuse or easy recycling. No unnecessary plastic or fillers here!

3. Multipurpose Products: I'm all about quality over quantity, which is pretty key when the products are designed to be reused over and over. My products can be used for so much more than what you may initially see. For instance, my eco friendly snack bags make great ice packs. Kiddo fell and scraped her knee? No problem, instead of using an ice pack that is made mostly of plastic, just fill the snack bag with ice and zip it up. My girls especially like this option because the extra fabric between the ice and their skin keeps it from being so cold it hurts even more. You'll save money not having to purchase extra products that have a singular job.

4. Digital Care Info: You may notice I don't include a care card in my packages (or maybe you didn't notice and that's okay too). It seems pretty silly to spend money on a stack of paper that then has to be shipped to me (hello, added pollution) only for you to likely toss it when you open your package. Sending care information straight to your inbox after you place an order serves two purposes: it's the eco-friendly choice, but it also stays conveniently in your inbox in case you need to reference it later. You can always find care instructions on the product listing page, too.

These may seem like small things, but there are so many business choices to be made every day and honestly, I find that having this be something I'm not willing to compromise on actually helps make the decisions. If I'm trying to decide between a few different fabric options, various zipper suppliers, or if I want to partner with another brand, checking into their attention to sustainability really helps guide that decision. 

I hope this brought a little more light to the darkness of greenwashing and gave you a few ideas on how you may be able to spot it for yourself.

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