Perhaps the earliest example of 'greenwashing' was the invention of the idea of 'litter' - to cast responsibility for packaging pollution on the consumer rather than the producer.
And it produced the most successful advertising campaign ever:
Keep America Beautiful - (Crying-Indian) - 70s PSA Commercial - YouTube
An Excerpt from Seeing Green: The Use and Abuse of American Environmental Images by Finis Dunaway
The Origins of Anti-Litter Campaigns – Mother Jones
Futures Forum: Plastic pollution and the invention of 'litter' > or, how the packaging industry avoided responsibility for creating the problem in the first place
'Greenwashing' is pretty effective:
The troubling evolution of corporate greenwashing | Guardian Sustainable Business | The Guardian
> the plastics industry urging us to 'recycle' rather than 'reduce':
Futures Forum: The plastics industry is "incredibly supportive of recycling legislation over a more long-term… reduction of disposable culture."
Futures Forum: Infinitely recyclable plastic > "As it stands, only 5 per cent of plastics that are manufactured are recycled... "
Futures Forum: "Our plastic pollution crisis is too big for recycling to fix"
> consumers being lumbered with the responsibility of disposal:
Futures Forum: A plastic bottle deposit scheme for England >>> >>> "Welcome as it is, such a scheme farms out responsibility to individual consumers rather than bringing into line corporations with far greater power to pioneer change"
Futures Forum: Plastic pollution: the polluter pays
> the UK not having enough places to deal with plastic waste:
Futures Forum: UK plastic pollution ending up in Poland, rather than China
Futures Forum: Britain does not have the plants and infrastructure to recycle its own plastic waste, with the result tens of millions of pounds is spent sending our rubbish overseas.
Futures Forum: Plastic pollution: everything connects
In the spring, the Vision Group's community energy group organised a visit to the place where the County Council deals with plastic waste - and there was some disquiet about exactly what happens to that waste:
Futures Forum: SidEnergy visit to Exeter waste-to-energy plant >>> report: very positive and encouraging but still questions about recycling plastic waste...
Subsequently, a Freedom of Information request was made:
Futures Forum: County Council and plastic pollution >>> "the Council will use its position and responsibility to raise awareness of the issues surrounding single-use plastics" >>> BUT the Council "does not hold information" on how its reprocessors deal with its plastic waste
The questions remain unanswered - but research continues and contacts are being made.
Meanwhile, this piece from the Sidmouth Plastic Warriors pulls no punches:
UPDATE: I have just had this article sent to me that illustrates the problem perfectly – https://www.raconteur.net/sustainability/plastic-recycling-china-ban]
Plastic Recycling – A Greenwashing Myth? – Sidmouth Plastic Warriors
It's clearly quite an issue - with these pieces just from this year:
Is 'Biodegradable' the New Greenwashing? — Plastic Pollution Coalition
Nestlé plastics target: ‘Clear’ ambition or ‘greenwashing’?
Going Zero Waste: What is Greenwashing?
More Recycling Won't Solve Plastic Pollution - Scientific American Blog Network
3 Telltale Signs You're Being Greenwashed | Care2 Healthy Living
On why we’ve had enough of greenwash and plastic - The Fifth Estate
Why I’m Boycotting the Clothing Industry | Latest News | Earth Island Journal | Earth Island Institute