Sustainability

Sustainability Tip #16

Greenwashing.

Greenwashing is misleading or giving false information to consumers or investors about the negative environmental impact of a company’s products and operations. It’s a form of false advertising.

This blog aims to alert consumers who want to be sustainability responsible and prevent being duped by false claims. If you are paying extra for something, make sure the claims are legitimate.

I was greenwashed in 2021 by Home Depot. They claimed by 2018, they would have completed phasing-out of neonicotinoids (neonics) in their plants. Yet in 2021, they were still selling plants with neonics (which I regret purchasing). The state of California is partly to blame because they have not, like some other states, banned neonics.

Another company that Greenwashes is Ikea. Their plastic packaging, illegal logging, over dependence on particle board use, and the disposable quality of their furniture need to be improved.

The little triangle with the number in the center imprinted on plastic products (e.g. ♶) is greenwashing. Currently, 95% of all single-use plastic ends up in landfills and oceans. The plastics industry uses these tricks to make consumers feel better about buying plastic.

Other examples of Greenwashing companies are: Volkswagen, BP, Nestlé, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Major Banks, Major Airlines, H&M;

The fishing Industry false claims of sustainability. According to Netflix documentary, Seaspiracy, the sustainability certifications used by the fishing industry are a farce.

Check out this comprehensive list of Greenwashing companies from Truth in Advertising.

On a positive note, five brands that are not Greenwashing: Patagonia, Ben and Anna, Lucy and Yak, Dr Bonner’s, Pela Case, Fjall Raven.

This list will grow with increased consumer demand, education, and legislation.

Knowledge is power.

References

https://www.fjallraven.com/us/en-us/bags-gear/backpacks-bags/laptop-bags/norrvage-foldsack?recId=2107976435115

https://www.logically.ai/factchecks/library/9749b1bc

https://www.nurserymag.com/article/home-depot-mandates-neonic-tag/

https://www.nrdc.org/experts/lucas-rhoads/will-californias-bees-get-break-neonic-bill-gov

https://www.pctonline.com/article/newsom-vetoes-ab-2146-neonic-bill/

Home Depot Announces Phase Out of Bee-Toxic Pesticides

https://www.morningbrew.com/daily/stories/plastic-recycling-decline-report

https://truthinadvertising.org/articles/six-companies-accused-greenwashing/

Sustainability

Sustainability Tip #14

Time to clean up your in-box.

Composing, sending, receiving, and storing emails leaves a carbon footprint.

Even though email energy usage is 1/60th of paper mail, we send many more emails. If you take a long time to compose or read your emails or send pictures and videos, these all take additional energy.

In a year, for example, say you send and or receive 100 emails daily. This estimate includes spam and all those work emails you are cc’ed on. This level of emailing per day is equivalent to the CO2e* of driving a gasoline-powered 2020 Camry 260 miles or 1% of your total annual CO2e production.

According to The Good Planet, “nearly 107 billion spam emails were sent and received a day in 2019. If every person only deleted 10 of those emails, they could save 1,725,00 gigabytes of storage space and around 55.2 million kilowatts of power”. 

Checking my own situation, I have several different email addresses, each serving an assigned purpose. I had to separate incoming emails to various addresses. There were so many every day that, if not categorized, important emails were easily overlooked amongst the multitude of spam. I have an email address dedicated to personal emails from friends and family, another for personal business like health, banking, bills, etc., one for shopping and politics and finally, several for work.

Summing up my many years of undeleted emails, I am embarrassed to admit, that I have 100,000+ unread emails. It is impossible to keep up with my emails; literally out of control. Since learning about emails having a carbon footprint, I have been reviewing old emails and then deleting them if they no longer serve a purpose. If I delete 20 a day, it will take more than 13 years to clean up my in-boxes! Plus, more spam comes in every day. I feel like I will never catch up in my lifetime and, in the interim, will likely develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Lucky, I can offset my email carbon footprint by not consuming beef or dairy.

Each year, a single cow will belch about 220 pounds of methane. This amount is approximately 3.3 tons of CO2e, equivalent to driving 2020 Camry 7000 miles. In contrast, my 100,000 emails represent 70 miles of driving and hoping for less each day.

Additionally, we need to

  1. Produce electricity using sustainable technology
  2. Clean out our in-boxes by deleting read or unnecessary emails
  3. Unsubscribe and report and block spam emails
  4. Tech companies need to make #2 and 3 easier to complete
  5. Stop consuming cattle-related products
You’ve Got Mail To Delete
2020 Camry CO2e

*CO₂ equivalent (CO₂e) is a unit of measurement that is used to standardize the climate effects of various greenhouse gases. https://www.myclimate.org/information/faq/faq-detail/what-are-co2-equivalents/.

https://www.fueleconomy.gov

Calculate the carbon dioxide equivalent quantity of an F gas

https://www.gov.uk › guidance › calculate-the-carbon-dio…

 How do you calculate CO2 equivalent?

https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gases-equivalencies-calculator-calculations-and-references

kilogram of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilogram – Wikidata

https://www.wikidata.org › wiki

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/green-living-blog/2010/oct/21/carbon-footprint-email

https://www.greenmatters.com/p/do-emails-leave-carbon-footprint

https://www.theworldcounts.com/challenges/climate-change/global-warming/global-co2-emissions

https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/understanding-global-warming-potentials

https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=74&t=11

https://www.co2everything.com/co2e-of/toyota-camry-2020

https://www.gorgias.com/blog/how-much-energy-is-needed-to-write-an-e-mail

https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/USA/united-states/carbon-co2-emissions

Sustainability

Sustainability Tip # 9

Change your diet to a plant-based. You can do this slowly, one meal a day or one day a week (meatless Mondays or at least avoid sugar, red meat, and dairy). Or jump right in and change 100% to a plant-based diet overnight like I did. It is good for your health, the planet, and the animals.

Eating whole foods, unprocessed plant-based diet will reduce your body’s overall inflammation. This will help clear up your skin, reduce pain and improve your cognition, amongst other things.

I will be posted some favorite plant-based dishes that my friends and I enjoy eating. I encourage you to buy organic for the same reasons – fewer chemicals, which is better for you, the planet, and the farmers.

My next few posts will be family tested recipes. Bon Appetit. Bonne Santé.