Boo-Hiss Awards — Earth Day Greenwashing

by Katy on April 22, 2013 · 25 comments

Today, being April 22nd, is Earth Day, which means we dedicate a day to abstaining from environmentally harmful activities and instead do something helpful for our lovely planet. Right?


It’s a day for very special Earth Day products and retail promotions!

Like these:

Safeway wants you to celebrate Earth Day and that “These Unilever brands aim to reduce impact on the environment.” Make note of the special plastic tub of “I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter!” (You’d think they’d at least bother to add some green color to the margarine graphics, you know because it’s green.)

Earth Day products

Safeway, you both missed the point of Earth Day and underestimated the intelligence of your customers.


Or Target, who celebrated Earth Day by handing out 1.5 million low quality reusable tote bags, which included coupons for Dasani bottled water.

Target, you make the planet cry.


But let’s not let Target be the only winner of we gave away free tote bags, therefor all our harmful manufacturing practices are erased award. This honor is shared by both Disney and Joanne Fabrics.

Boo-Hiss, Boo-Hiss!

But there’s no Boo-Hiss for the National Park Service, who is giving every American an entire week of free admission to our national parks from April 20-28th! Click HERE for more information.

Happy Earth Day!

Click HERE to read past Non-Consumer Advocate Boo-Hiss Awards.

And to put a positive spin on Earth Day, please share your favorite sustainable tip in the comments section below!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Jaime Barks April 22, 2013 at 8:39 am

I got a target bag yesterday. While I will reuse the bag, it was full of all kinds of samples and stuff. Lots of packaging. Totally not environmentally friendly. I’m not hardcore but they kind of missed the mark.


Katy April 22, 2013 at 8:51 am

And those kinds of bags fall apart when laundered.



Kristen | The Frugal Girl April 22, 2013 at 8:55 am

I really dislike those sort of reusable bags. Give me hardy cotton canvas ones any day, please. They’re nigh onto indestructible, and can handle multiple trips through the washer.


Katy April 22, 2013 at 9:00 am

And can be mended.



Annie April 22, 2013 at 10:54 am

I bought a set of silverware and a pair of bamboo chopsticks to use at work so I won’t have to accept plastic utensils when I buy lunch. I keep them in an old pencil box in my desk drawer.


K D April 22, 2013 at 11:37 am

I went to lunch with friends, we ate in at a place that uses real dishes and silverware, and we brought our own drinking vessels so that we would not use plastic.


Madeline April 22, 2013 at 11:58 am

As my husband and I are almost ready for him to retire we find we are changing a lot of our habits.I no longer shop, well,hardly ever! Target ?? Never!

I love to cook from scratch and spent my grocery money at SPROUTS (veggie store) and the reg. grocery this morning.$66 for almost 2 weeks of our vegan groceries.I cook a lot of dry beans, vs. canned. Lentils I store in a glass jar, nuts in glass jar, rice in glass jar.. all bought in the bulk bins. I bake bread (no plastic wrap) and I switched over to natural cleaners long time ago (vinegar and baking soda.)

Stores stock PRODUCTS (packaged in plastic and cardboard etc.) that advertising manipulates us to “need.” Just say No (Most of the time,anyway!) I do buy new panties now and then!!!!!!

I currently figured out I need only 2 small cups of coffee per morning so am looking for a SMALL used coffeemaker..I have a 10% goodwill coupon every month, will find one I am sure.. — I will then buy and use less coffee and my large (old worn out!) coffee pot will be donated to my neighbor who will use it.


Sandy April 22, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Try a french press. I started using one as I just drink one or two cups of coffee before I leave for work. It makes exactly what you need, no electricity, and no wondering: did I shut the coffee pot off moment on the way to work!?!! 🙂


Jennifer B. April 23, 2013 at 5:42 am

I just make 2 to 3 cups in my 10-cup coffee maker. But when it eventually goes kaput, I’ll keep my eye out for a smaller one, too.


mairsydoats April 23, 2013 at 6:55 pm

I love the cone drippy thingee – makes just the cup I’m drinking and no electricity.


Michelle H. April 22, 2013 at 12:00 pm

We made the switch to cloth napkins 3 years ago and haven’t looked back. The extra laundry is minimal, my 4 year old loves to fold them for me, and there’s less garbage to have to take to the curb.


Kailey April 22, 2013 at 12:28 pm

I’ve seen it here plenty of times but I’ll say it again. I love love love making my own stock from vegetable peelings/ends and left over bones from thighs or drumsticks. And then everything gets composted! Win-win!


Michelle H. April 22, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Amen! I personally think the broth tastes a little better because it’s free.


Jennifer April 22, 2013 at 12:32 pm

I got one of these bags at Target last year for earth day and I rotate it with a couple others to bring my lunch to work everyday. And I think this type is made from recycled plastic bags, which is why it has the weird texture (at least the ones from whole foods are). And since it just holds my lunch I don’t need to wash it often.


Linda in Indiana April 22, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Cloth napkins, scraps to our chickens, cooking from scratch, buy at thrift store much more…when we Need something, making lots of my own cleaning supplies, reusing scraps of paper, combining errands into a single trip, making more of our own gifts, raising lots of our own foods.


tonya April 22, 2013 at 2:45 pm

I look for glass containers at Goodwill and yard sales and try to use those (plus the plastic containers I already own) to store leftovers. But I’m trying not to buy more new plastic containers.


Laure April 22, 2013 at 3:29 pm

In preparation for fitting into summer clothes, started taking the stairs (9 flights) instead of the elevator. Saves electricity, free exercise w/o using any electricity-sucking workout equipment. When I’m ready to collapse after walking up 9 flights carrying all sorts of bags, like today, I really enjoy that the fridge always has a Brita full of cold tap water, to drink out of glass drinkware. Truly refreshing.


A. Marie April 22, 2013 at 4:36 pm

I’m not sure why I haven’t mentioned this before, but for the last 29 years (as of last Friday), I’ve been fortunate to have a full-time, telecommuting job. (I live in Upstate NY; my employer is in Manhattan.) Think of the transportation costs I don’t pay, the fossil fuel I don’t expend, and the “work wardrobe” I don’t need!


Taylor-Made Ranch April 22, 2013 at 5:17 pm

Greenwashing frustrates me: “Buy this so you can save the environment”. Actually buying and using LESS is better for the environment. Also buying used instead of new often results in better quality and eliminates the need to manufacture and ship and sell (in a brand new plastic bag) a new widget. I’m not saying manufacturers shouldn’t try to reduce waste, but touting it as saving the earth… Sheesh.

~Taylor-Made Ranch~
Wolfe City, Texas


JaneUlness April 23, 2013 at 7:55 am

It might not be so bad if we weren’t contributing to CHINA s economy, not our own.


marie April 22, 2013 at 6:25 pm

If anyone is looking to purchase a new electric water heater in the near future, I’ve found a great idea!
This also fits in with Earth Day
The GE Geospring hybrid electric water heater.
It’s a 50 gal heat pump technology that absorbs the heat in surrounding areas and transfers it to the water. It uses 62% less energy.
Though it retails for $999.00 there are rebates federal, state and from your electric company which makes it FREE. You only pay for installation. I know, I sound like an ad, but I am seriously going to make this happen for my house, My husband wanted to use solar panels for the water heater, but this is very cost effective .


Joy @ Joyfully Green April 22, 2013 at 6:27 pm

Wow, I stopped by here on the right day! Good post, Katy (boo-hiss to green-washing, indeed!), and some great suggestions in here from readers. I have a category/section on my own blog called “Instantly Greener” with all kinds of easy suggestions, but I guess the most surprising one (to me, anyway) while I was researching ideas was to stop accepting thermal receipts from gas stations, ATMs, stores, libraries, etc. Not only are they a big waste of paper, but there are reports that they can lead to cancer, asthma, and all sorts of other nasty diseases. Here’s the link:


tna April 22, 2013 at 7:59 pm

We didn’t turn the heat on all winter, just put on a sweater and got kitty a nice bed and put his pink cover in and he was cosy. I got rid of my car a few years ago and walk or ride a bike everywhere. I find free food in the fridge….like tonight I asked the owner of an applewood smoked chicken breast if they were going to eat it (it had been untouched for two days) they didn’t want it and someone else didn’t want a lonely peach so I had them for dinner along with a salad. I wash counters, floors, cabinets and most everything with a bar of soap, warm water and old rags…I use vinegar and baking soda and a brush on the tub/shower, sinks and toilet. I use a tablespoon of laundry detergent to wash a load of clothes and they get just as clean…if I have a spot I treat it with a bar of soap beforehand. I put my wet clothes on hangers in my closet to dry. I buy all my clothes (except two pairs of sale pants)and shoes at thrift stores. If I don’t use something for a year I sell, donate, or find a new home for it.

Things I want to do in the future….I want to try a stainless steel scrubbie…I want to get a bucket to have in the shower to catch cold warmup water to use to flush the toilet…I want to see how few dishes, pans, and utensils I need to use and wash each day….I want to continue to reduce the trash I produce if I can…I do a plastic grocery bag a month right now and since I have to bike my recycleables to another town I want to cut those down too.

The more I do this, the more it seems like I’m just doing what my great granny did all her life.


Rachel Gillespie April 22, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Here is a link to some information about Unilever. They don’t have a bad record when it comes to the environment but I think it’s “cancelled out” by some of the criticisms. I tend to boycott their products. I’m with the rest of you on how to really keep green and it doesn’t involve buying “green products” for the most part.


Kate April 23, 2013 at 3:25 am

7 years ago my husband and I got married on Earth Day, which we didn’t plan. Our wedding cost a total of $500.00. Consequently, we didn’t produce much waste, and I wore a sundress so I could wear it again. I wish i had thought of a fair trade diamond ring though. our wedding rings are family heirlooms.



Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: