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May 17, 2024 3 min read

Welcome back GFZ'ers!

Today, we're celebrating the ACCC taking action with monetary fines against a topic that's been making waves in the world of eco-conscious consumers: greenwashing. While we don't relish in others' misfortunes, it's heartening to see that fines and penalties being handed out for claims that mislead well-intentioned consumers. It's a win for truth and transparency, and a step forward towards cracking down on false claims and secretive practices once and for all. 

This brings us to the recent news about GLAD, yep, the company that makes those plastic ziplock bags, garbage bags, cling wrap, etc. The familiar household brand is now making headlines for all the wrong reasons, facing hefty fines of up to several millions of dollars for allegedly greenwashing its products. Let's dive in...

But first, what is greenwashing?

For those who would like a quick rundown on what exactly greenwashing is: it's the practice of making exaggerated or false claims about the environmental benefits of a product. This can take the form of making unqualified claims such as "kind to the planet" and "ocean-friendly", simply exaggerating the sustainable benefits of products, withholding the negative impacts and using visuals of nature to create false associations… or outright lying. Unfortunately, with the growing number of eco-conscious consumers, companies are eager to appear sustainable, leading to a rise in greenwashing.

This is where good news comes in— enter the ACCC—Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Fines For Greenwashing

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is an independent authority promoting competition and fair trade. In 2022, after an internet sweep revealed that over half of the reviewed businesses made alarming claims about their environmental or sustainability practices, the ACCC launch an investigation into several businesses for potential 'greenwashing'. Out of the 247 businesses reviewed in 2022, 57% were found to have made concerning claims about their environmental credentials. The cosmetic, clothing & footwear, and food & drink sectors had the highest proportion of concerning claims, with other sectors also showing a significant number of greenwashing examples.

H&M is a great example. They were sued twice for promoting their conscious choice products as sustainable while they were not.

Not-So Glad to be green

So back to GLAD, what did they actually do? Glad claimed its garbage bags were made from 50% recycled ocean plastic, when they were not.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) isn't taking this lightly. They've launched legal action against Clorox Australia, the parent company of GLAD, citing breaches of consumer law which will potentially lead to a multi-million dollar fine.

Consumers deserve transparency and honesty, especially when it comes to making eco-conscious choices. At Go For Zero we are welcoming the actions of the ACCC with open arms because consumers will be able to make informed decisions based on accurate information. Bring it on!

How to spot greenwashing?

Greenwashing is a marketing tactic to mislead you so it is not always easy to spot. However, here are a few questions to ask yourself and actions you can take:

  1. Where is the proof?  Look for specific evidence to support a product's green claims. It is not always easy, but it is a good first step

  2. Are their certifications legitimate? Certificates like Fairtrade or NASAA Certified Organic are proper certifications; however, any company can put a green leaf on the packaging... so beware.

  3. What about the company? Consider the footprint of the entire company rather than one green product before you decide to support a brand.

  4. Use your voice. If you are unsure, take matters into your own hands and email the company (or us!). If we all do our part, companies will be under pressure to do the right things. 

  5. Lastly, if you suspect companies of greenwashing, don't hesitate to do something about it. Document the misleading advertising, packaging, etc. and submit a claim through the ACCC website.


So, what can we learn from GLAD's deception? Simple, we need to hold companies accountable for their claims. Greenwashing not only hurts consumers, it also undermines the efforts of businesses making genuine environmental strides. Let's make sure we're supporting brands that walk the talk, because when it comes to saving our planet, transparency is key.

As for GLAD, luckily we have petrolium-free and reusable solutions in abundance here for bin bags, zip lock bags, cling wrap and more so you can avoid those pesky plastics for good! 

Until next week GFZ's we think you'll also love this story here about Chipping Away at Waste: Pringles' Eco-Friendly Chip Packaging.

Much love!

GFZ Team xx 

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