It’s a bit of a rush. At the supermarket today, all products have logos, labels, small green spots suggesting that the packaging has been recycled or is recyclable.

Do you know that these pretty drawings don’t always mean what they make us think? No, they don’t. Between regulations, labels, French or European certifications, as consumers, it becomes complicated to distinguish really green products from those that just say so.

To shed some light on our lanterns, Feat-y looked at these green labels to understand what they hide.

The four (real) eco-labels

When making a new purchase, a bottle of dishwashing liquid, for example. To give us a clear conscience, we can opt for the one with “100% recycled and 100% recyclable” plastic. On the packaging, there are 3, 4, 5 or even 6 logos that imply that our new bottle of dishwashing liquid is green.

The first logo is the European Ecolabel, an official European ecological certification. This label is symbolized by a flower. It guarantees that the product respects the environment at all stages of its life, i.e. extraction of raw materials, transport, purchase, use, and then destruction or recycling. To ensure the manufacturer’s commitment, AFNOR, an independent certifier, checks regularly.

In France, there is another ecolabel. NF-Environnement, a French label, which only concerns products dedicated to consumers and intermediate products with a low environmental impact.

We can cross-reference two other ecolabels reserved for foreign brands. These are the Blue Angel, a German label, and Nordic Swan, the Scandinavian eco-label. They also guarantee ecological and high-performance products, respecting specifications even stricter than those of NF-Environnement.

Today, they are the only four controlled labels. Independent organizations regularly audit manufacturers to ensure that products meet the criteria.

The other drawings that are useless

On the packaging of our dishwashing liquid bottle there are a lot of other logos.

Such as the well-known Green Dot, which suggests that the product is recyclable or made from recycled materials. Wrong, very wrong. This logo only informs that the manufacturer participates in the financing of the Eco-Emballages program, in accordance with the law. The funds collected are made available to local authorities to set up selective packaging collections.

Another of the same type? The Ring of Moebius, also very present on the packaging, informs that the product or packaging can be recycled. Well, the product still has to be properly recycled. If a percentage is present, it means that X% of the product is made of recycled material, but is not necessarily recyclable. Last little info, the label is used freely, without control.

So, after listing all these logos. We see that there are still a few unidentified labels left. On the packaging, very often, there are messages such as: “Completely sustainable”, “Ecological product” or “Eco-responsible product”. In fact, this is a message at the initiative of the manufacturer, it is an environmental claim. In other words, it is an eco-label, but there is no guarantee that the product is truly “fully sustainable”. It is the manufacturer itself that offers itself this “label”. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

The latest fashionable label: Triman

Here is another logo on our bottle!

It’s a new kid on the block, Triman. As if there weren’t enough labels. It became mandatory in 2015, and must be affixed to all products subject to a sorting instruction.

However, to simplify our lives, it has been decided that in 2021 only the presence of the Triman logo will be mandatory, on household products, their packaging, or on documents, recyclable or not. Household products will therefore have to be systematically deposited in the sorting bin.

Alicia Delambre