Misleading Product Labels
We trust them implicitly yet they often mislead us. Thus creating a false sense of good deed for consumers! Here are two example of misleading product labels.
Example # 1
First, take a look at the picture above. There is an exception to the “100% Recyclable” statement. The exception, as the tiny font disclaimer (that many people may not even notice) suggests, is that the cap and label itself are not recyclable. The product in its entirety is not 100% recyclable like the labels initially leads us to believe.
Moreover, consumers need to throw away a portion of the bottle for the remaining portion to then be considered 100% recyclable. It may not seem like a big deal, but it is. This method of advertising misleads us. We see 100% and think, “Awesome! 100% is the best percentage! A+!” It creates a false sense of good deed for consumers; We are doing the environment justice by throwing away and recycling plastic.
Furthermore, the label also leads us to believe the company is environmentally concerned by creating eco-friendly products that can be recycled. However, if the company was truly environmentally concerned they would not be mass producing plastic bottles or depending on the weak recycling infrastructure that exists to take properly dispose of their plastic bottles.
Why are plastic bottles so bad? What is so bad about recycling? Click here to learn more in another blog post!
Example # 2
Another common misleading advertisement is “Made from x% post-recycled material”. Let’s take the common percentage of 30. “Made from 30% post-recycled material”. Sounds good, right? The reason it is not actually good is because 70% of it is still virgin plastic
. New plastic is still being made and only 30% is “recycled”.
The 30% post-consumer material in this product is actually downcycled (what we consider “recycled”) plastic which means it was reworked, using more fossil fuels and more chemicals, into a lesser grade plastic. Likewise, lesser grade plastic is more toxic than virgin plastic because it contains more chemicals to keep its form. Sadly, the label leads us to believe we are purchasing a safe and eco-friendly product, but really we are feeding into the production of virgin plastic and bringing lesser grade, more dangerous plastic into our hands.
False advertising is so common. Misleading advertising is how many companies make their money, sadly. Thankfully, word has been getting out for decades now about the harmful effects of plastics on the environment. The more truth we receive, the more we will understand our options, and the more we will see past these tricky labels.
I hope I gave you new insight into the world of misleading product labels. My intention is not to scare you or lead you to believe every single company is out to get us. That is not the case. I simply want to shine light on advertising for plastic items and help you to start looking at a product for what it truly is as opposed to what the label wants you to believe it is!