Sustain | Offset | Recycle | Renew
Greenwashing happens when companies promise and don’t deliver the green services as promoted or contracted.
One example is providing recycle bins for paper, glass, aluminum so patrons separate the trash, then the facility pours it all together in a behind the scenes trash compactor and sends it to a landfill. Don’t take “green” at face value – check it out.
Things are not always as they first appear. Some large facilities makes no outward attempt at recycling, so it might be easy to assume that they do not recycle – but you could be wrong. They happen to work with a trash company that prefers to get all mixed trash and then separate it at their plant, first by mechanical means and then by hand sorting.
Greenwashing can be economic claims. “Buy our product and 5% will be donated to XYZ Green Charity”. Ask for proof of how much the company donated in their last fiscal year. You might be surprised how little or how much made it to the charity.
Greenwashing can be good intentions that do not get followed through on. How many caterers have told you “of course we donate excess food to a local food bank or relief center”? Have you ever called the charity to ask how often and how much they have received from the caterer? The answer might be surprising. Instead of asking Do you donate excess food to charity ? Ask quantifiable questions such as “How many pounds or servings do you donate on the average each month? Ask if the facility’s green efforts are summarized in the institutions annual report, and to see a copy.