Greenwashing is the deceptive trend in the cleaning industry wherein cleaning products are referred to as “green”, “environmentally friendly”, or “eco-friendly” without truly being so. These claims are purely for marketing purposes, and should be thoroughly investigated by responsible consumers and cleaning companies. For example, Sunshine has strict cleaning product selection guidelines to ensure that we are using certified environmentally friendly, healthy products wherever and whenever possible.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has made revisions to its Green Guides, limiting the use of these eco-terms on a wide range of products, so that products must actually be green in order to qualify. The amount of unsubstantiated and misleading environmental claims on these products will be reduced as marketers are forced to comply with the new guidelines.
The Green Guides outline the types of environmental claims that the FTC may find deceptive or manipulative under the FTC Act. If such claims are found to be deceptive, the FTC can take enforcement action to ensure that consumers are not misled.
The most significant Green Guide update is that vague, broad phrases – such as “green” – need to be backed up by specific attributes. Furthermore, products will not be able to be advertised as being “free-of” specific harmful ingredients if they contain other ingredients that cause equal harm.
Other changes include restrictions on claims regarding biodegradability, carbon offset, non-toxic, and “made with renewable materials”.
It should also be noted that the terms “sustainable”, “natural”, and “organic” remain unaddressed by these new FTC Green Guides updates.
With these FTC changes, consumers and cleaners should be able to better understand the environmental impact of the products that they choose.
“Sunshine Green … Responsibly Clean” has been a core philosophy of Sunshine Building Maintenance for over 10 years. Our Healthy High Performance Cleaning Program ensures that our products and processes are always environmentally responsible.