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Tea Leaves

The great 'greenwash'

Companies too often don't practice what they preach

The bag is the message at this organic produce store in central Bangkok. (Photo by Gwen Robinson)

OK, I'll admit it. I'm increasingly judgmental at the supermarket checkout. It's not the other customers' food choices displayed on the conveyor belt that I am interested in. Even their use of plastic bags isn't my main focus. My attention is drawn to the questionable "green" marketing initiatives and practices of retailers and other businesses.

Signage at my local supermarket in Bangkok encourages shoppers to "say no to plastic bags" on three designated days each month. One is the first day of each month, but the other two days are randomly selected and not easy to track. The initiative might make the retailer feel good, but what happens on the other days? How much plastic do they use in a month?

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