green washing

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by Wendy Gabriel

My youngest daughter recently turned three years old. This is the first birthday we are celebrating in our new home so it’s was our first party without Grandma, Grandpa, cousins, aunties and uncles. I wanted it to be amazing. As we were planning the party, and making it as green as possible, I found drinks to be the most challenging. Since I wasn’t having the party at my home, I didn’t have filtered tap water. Wine and beer wasn’t an option (for adults) due to the venue. I wasn’t going to tote all of my glass pitchers to the play place. I wasn’t going to buy bottled water and I refuse to buy soda. I care too much about the health of my family and friends to ply them with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

Read more about HFCS at High-Fructose Corn Syrup: Yes, It IS That Bad! and Sugar May Be Bad But This Sweetener Is Far More Deadly by Dr. Joseph Mercola.

Off to the store. I found some yummy organic juice in pouches for the kids. Now for the adults. I grabbed a few bottled organic grape juices and organic cranberry-blueberry juices. Then called my husband to whine about to discuss the choices I had to work with…

His advice was to try to get outside myself and think about what our guests would like to drink. Good advice but, again, I’m not going to buy soda for anyone. I’m sure many of you are reading this and rolling your eyes. Here’s a little peek into my thought process: how was the product produced, how is it packaged, what kind of waste will be left, how healthy is it, will anyone drink it and so on. Finally I saw a huge bottle of Lipton Green Tea with citrus. It wasn’t organic and I wasn’t thrilled it was packaged in plastic not glass but it had an official looking seal saying it contained natural antioxidants. Hmmm. I was in a hurry and completely frustrated so I made a rookie mistake. I didn’t read the ingredients on the label. I was dazzled by the perceived health and drinkability of it.

When I got home and remembered to read the label, here’s what I purchased (ingredients from label):

Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Natural Flavor, Citric Acid, Sodium Hesametaphosphate, Green Tea, Ascorbic Acid, Phosphoric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Potassium Cinnamate, Honey, Calcium Disodium, EDTA, Caramel Color, Yellow 5, Blue 1.

Sugar content is 21 grams per serving!

And to really irritate me, here’s the big print on the label:

Lipton Iced Tea with naturally protective flavonoid antioxidants is a better choice when you want great tasting refreshment. And our recyclable 1 gallon bottle has a flex handle design to deliver a smooth pouring experience.

“Here my special guests… I couldn’t bring myself to pick up a few bottles of soda, so I got you something just as bad for you… Thanks for coming”.

Lesson learned.

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