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Designers' efforts to reduce the environmental impact of their products are being hampered by confusion over terminology and rampant greenwashing, writes Marcus Fairs.

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Designers' efforts to reduce the environmental impact of their products are being hampered by confusion over terminology and rampant greenwashing, writes Marcus Fairs.

Greenwashing is back. As concern about climate change, pollution, habitat destruction and species extinction rises, so too are spurious claims about saving the planet. Terms like "sustainable", "biodegradable", "compostable" and "circular" increasingly pepper the press releases arriving in Dezeen's inbox. The claims are mostly nonsense. When our reporters follow up with questions asking for more details, brands tend to go suspiciously quiet. The problem is that terms like these are not well understood, and in some cases have never been precisely defined. They are therefore open to abuse, both accidental and deliberate. As a blanket term, sustainability is "hard to define,"...

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