In recent years, parents have become more aware of the impact that disposable diapers have on the environment, and eco-friendly diaper sales have grown consequently. However, with so many brands now marketing themselves as "green" or "eco-friendly," it can be difficult for parents to know which diaper brands truly live up to these claims and which are simply greenwashing. In this article, we'll explore how greenwashing exists in the eco-friendly diaper market and provide a short checklist of things to look out for when choosing an eco-friendly diaper brand.
What is Greenwashing?
Greenwashing is a term used to describe marketing tactics utilized by companies that make false or exaggerated claims about the environmental benefits of their products or services. This is done in several ways, such as using vague or misleading language, making unsubstantiated claims, or cherry-picking information and research to make their products seem more eco-friendly than they are. The goal of greenwashing is to appeal to consumers who are looking for more sustainable options but without making any significant changes to the product or the company's practices.
Unfortunately, greenwashing is a widespread problem in the eco-friendly diaper market. Many companies market their products as, "green", "plant-based" or "eco-friendly," but upon closer inspection their diapers are not much better for the environment than conventional plastic disposable diapers.
For example, some companies use vague or misleading language such as plant-based on their packaging or website. All plant-based means is that a small portion of the product may utilize ingredients from plants. It does not necessarily mean their product is made fully from plant based materials. Other companies may use eco-friendly materials for parts of their diapers but use plastic or other harmful chemicals in the remainder, making the overall product less environmentally friendly than it may appear.
So, how can parents avoid falling victim to greenwashing in the eco-friendly diaper market?
Here are some things to look out for when choosing an eco-friendly diaper brand:
Read the label carefully - Don't be swayed by vague or misleading language on the packaging. Take the time to read the label carefully and look for specific information about the diaper's environmental impact. For example, a diaper that is labeled as "biodegradable" may not actually break down for hundreds of years, if ever. Look for information about how quickly the diaper breaks down and under what conditions.
Consider the entire lifecycle of the product - When evaluating the environmental impact of an eco-friendly diaper, it's important to consider the entire lifecycle of the product. This not only includes how the diaper is made and disposed of, but also the resources used to transport and store the diapers, as well as the impact of the manufacturing process on the environment. Look for companies that are transparent about their practices (carbon footprint) and take steps to reduce their overall environmental impact.
Be wary of greenwashing language - Some companies use language that sounds eco-friendly, but upon closer inspection it is quite vague or misleading. For example, a company that claims their diapers are "natural" may not actually use any natural materials at all. Be skeptical of claims that sound too good to be true and do your research to ensure that the company's claims are backed up by evidence.