When companies market a product as eco-friendly that might not necessarily be as “green” as they say, that’s known as greenwashing. A great example of this is boxed water — whether it comes in a plastic bottle or a carton, it still isn’t sustainable, and it shouldn’t be marketed as green.

There has been an uptick of greenwashing in the recent years because companies know if they attach an emotional reaction to a product, it sells better. Greenwashing has been criticized by many, and for good reason, but I take a different view: I think it’s actually a good thing.

Paper or Plastic?

Yes, you read that right; I’m a greenwashing defender. Let’s take the boxed water example from above: It’s a plastic-lined paper box that has a plastic lid. Why would this be considered eco-friendly? The box is still trash that may or may not end up being recycled, and it’s topped off with a plastic lid that is not widely recyclable. However, I consider this a win for the planet in the war against plastic pollution. It’s not an overall solution, but it’s helping. The amount of plastic in a Boxed Water Is Better carton is considerably less than your standard single-use plastic water bottle.

Let’s Talk About Waste

Semantics aside, that little box is sparking curiosity. Why is boxed water better? This spurs consumers to ask the question of why that is printed on the outside of the box. This product is raising awareness every single time it is stocked on a shelf. Yes, it’s not the best option, but it’s not the worst, either. If we as a society are going to eventually become aware of all the trash we create, we have to adapt slowly and gradually, and I firmly believe products like boxed water are doing just that.

In researching an article breaking down every time a recyclable can be recycled, I found out that paper has a longer half-life than plastic. Furthermore, the brand Boxed Water Is Better makes their boxes out of 100 percent recycled materials, as do tons of other…