Consumer News

9 Earth-Friendly Claims to Watch Out for This Earth Day

Green marketing claims you should think twice about.

Consumer News

9 Earth-Friendly Claims to Watch Out for This Earth Day

In honor of the 45th Earth Day, here are green marketing claims you should take with a grain of sea salt from Mother Earth. Click through on the text for our article on each one.

Solar Savings

Federal lawmakers have raised questions about solar leasing companies that aggressively market zero-money-down leases but potentially overstate savings and understate risks

Rainforest Alliance Certified

A Rainforest Alliance certification seal is marketed as a good thing for the planet and its people. But a Seattle-based clean water group says that’s not the reality behind the green sticker slapped on some of the country’s best-selling products, including Chiquita bananas.


Moist towelettes like Charmin Freshmates that are marketed as “flushable” claim to be safe for sewer and septic systems, and promise not to gum up the works. But some wastewater officials and consumers say the wipes don’t break down as advertised.

Clean Coal

Coal is an important source of energy because it has, so far, been abundant, efficient, and inexpensive. But according to the EPA, electricity from coal also comes with a whole host of environmental issues.


If you see the terms “natural” or “all natural” or “100 percent natural” on the front label of a product, you’ll want to check the ingredients on the back label to decide for yourself. 

Fuel Efficient

A consumer saves more gas (and money) by switching from a gas-guzzling monster truck (10 mpg) to an inefficient sports car (20 mpg) than a consumer switching from that same sports car (20 mpg) to a hybrid car (50 mpg).


“It’s no secret that consumers want products that are environmentally friendly, and that companies are trying to meet that need,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.  “But companies that don’t have evidence to support the environmental claims they make about their products erode consumer confidence and undermine those companies that are playing by the rules.’’


This cup is made from PLA, a corn-based plastic. PLA gained a lot of popularity after 2006, when Walmart began using it to package some of its produce. It claims to be compostable, which it technically is, but only if you have access to an industrial composting facility. In an ordinary trash can, it’s just trash.


Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are potentially harmful gases emitted by paints, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, and thousands of other products. Many advertisers promote products as VOC-free or low-VOC but that may not always be the case — especially if there’s a colorant in the paint.

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