If you didn’t know before, the world of marine cleaning is filled with brands that proudly label their products as “environmentally friendly,” “all natural,” and “biodegradable.” That’s great, right? We want to keep our waterways clean, to protect marine life, and to be responsible boat enthusiasts. But what do those terms really mean? Who is in charge of making sure these claims are true? Well, it’s complicated! First we should take a look at the phenomenon of “greenwashing” to understand more about how claims like these are popping up across all kinds of markets and are misleading consumers around the world.
What is Greenwashing?
“Greenwashing” is a term used to describe the statements or claims that companies make regarding the sustainability of their products. These statements are either fully false or unsubstantiated, and they mislead consumers into believing that they are investing in “green” products or services.”
Greenwashing has become more common since greater global efforts toward sustainability have achieved top priority in an effort to protect our planet. As a result, some regulatory bodies and other government agencies have required ESG (Environmental Social Governance) reporting on their products and services. Greenwashing can be unintentional on management’s part due to a lack of important knowledge about their products or what constitutes sustainability. But, more often, greenwashing is a purposeful marketing strategy used by companies to garner more sales or recognition by a larger audience.
You can see greenwashing all over with a keen eye. Green logos and vague slogans or verbiage on labels with phrases like “all natural” and “eco-friendly” without evidence are everywhere. Here are a few things to look out for when you’re keeping an eye open for greenwashing:
- The company provides no proof for the claims they make
- The company is not transparent or open with the information about their products
- The company emphasizes a small part of themselves that is “green” while no efforts to be “green” are made in other aspects of the company
- The company presents fabricated statements as facts
- The company uses “fluffy” language to describe their products or efforts (e.g. “eco-friendly” and “all natural”)
How does this happen in the marine cleaning industry? The EPA (the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) is there to ensure that commercial marine cleaning products meet specific standards in order to even be on the market. However, there isn’t as much regulation for private-use products, and a lot of brands can make claims that are technically at least somewhat true, but that are very misleading. For example, nearly everything we know can be considered biodegradable even though they can take tens of thousands of years to biodegrade. Most things are inherently biodegradable, while others are readily biodegradable and biodegrade within hours (as opposed to millenia).
The DiTEC Difference
DiTEC Marine Cleaning has an advantage over the competition. We saw false claims or ineffective “green” products that used decades-old chemistry in their products and came up with a solution using cutting edge chemistry instead. DiTEC has been able to not only meet but exceed the standards of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) set for commercial marine cleaning products. We are fully compliant with the standards of MARPOL Annex III, MARPOL Annex V, EPA NPDES, and EU REACH. When used as directed, our DiTEC Marine products are not harmful to the marine environment and can be discharged overboard with wash water.
Companies like Starbrite or 303 may also offer a line of environmentally friendly products, but DiTEC is one of the only companies (if not the only) that can claim full compliance with the highest standards across our full range of cleaning products for private use.
While it can be overwhelming to try to spot every unsubstantiated claim and fabricated statement, and it can certainly be disappointing to learn that some of your favorite companies have been less than transparent, rest assured that there are companies out there who jump through hurdles to ensure that their products are truly green! DiTEC is one of those companies and is the leader in the marine cleaning industry for transparency and compliance with the highest of standards. Take at the chart below for more information on our products in comparison to competitors like Starbrite and 303.