Friday, March 06, 2009

Greenwashing by Scott Toilet Tissue

Followers of our blog already know that Scott toilet tissue contains no recycled content, unlike the other brands of toilet tissue the Coop carries. Recently, I accompanied a friend shopping at one of his favorite big box stores. In the paper products aisle, I told him about avoiding Scott products, and he was open to considering other brands.

But then, look! The giant package (20 rolls?) of Scott T.P. had a big recycling symbol on it. I was surprised but pleased that perhaps the company had finally seen the error of its ways. However, upon reading the fine print, I realized that the happy recycling symbol was letting you know how proud the company was that just the cardboard core around which the T.P. is wound, was made with recycled content.

My surprise turned to disgust at this blatant greenwashing. Because in fact, all smooth gray cardboard, such as the kind used in cereal boxes and T.P. cores, is made of recycled paper. In Terrachoice's list of the Six Deadly Sins of Greenwashing, this is known as the Sin of Irrelevance: Could all of the other products in this category make the same claim? Absolutely. Therefore the claim is irrelevant, and merely an attempt by Scott brand to mislead consumers regarding the environmental benefits of its product.

This is one more reason to join the Greenpeace boycott of Kimberly-Clark (parent company of Scott brand) and demand that they drastically increase the amount of recycled fiber in their tissue products.

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