Many companies, as evidenced by this website’s very existence, greenwash their brands in an effort to appeal to an increasingly environmentally-conscious consumer base. Waste Management, North America’s largest trash collection and recycling corporation, takes this to a new level, as their greenwashing threatens to become a brand in and of itself.
Waste Management began their “Think Green” campaign in 2006, with a series of nationally televised commercials promoting their recycling efforts:
Their Think Green website besides, Waste Management has also gone on to create greenopolis, an online community for environmentalists to discuss their opinions and projects in the glowing sponsorship of American’s largest polluter.
As 24/7 Wall Street, a blog offering “insightful analysis and commentary for…investors,” explained in a recent post:
“According to Elizabeth Royte, a journalist for the Natural Resources Defense Council’s onearth, since 2005, Waste Management has spent more than $90 million on TV commercials and print advertisements emphasizing the number of trees it saves through recycling, the amount of land it has set aside for wildlife habitats, and how much energy it generates through incineration.
"However, what the ads fail to disclose is that burning trash doesn’t come without a price. Although the technology continues to improve, incinerators still discharge small levels of mercury, lead, and dioxin into the atmosphere. Royte also writes, 'They also generate more carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour of energy generated than do power plants, and their ash is toxic.' An additional consequence of incineration is that it discourages using landfills. Because power plants that use incinerators require a consistent flow of garbage, they are necessarily antagonistic to principles such as recycling, composting and reducing waste.”
Used to describe the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.