Green watch

Sorting the dodgy green claims from the genuine ones can be a minefield.
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  • Updated:27 Nov 2009

01.News: Choice’s GreenWatch campaign notches up another win – this time in the laundry.


CHOICE is campaigning to bring green labelling and reporting standards up to scratch, expose shonky advertising and help Australians get a better deal for themselves and their environment by:

  • providing consumers with information to confidently make greener decisions.
  • identifying and investigating vague, confusing, false, or misleading green claims.
  • lobbying government and business to improve the standard of green claims.



Choice’s Green Watch campaign has uncovered another misleading green claim.

Our test of washing powders found that Seventh Generation Natural Laundry Detergent (powder) generates wash water that isn’t safe to use on your garden. The trouble is, it proudly claims on the packet to be ‘safe for septic tanks and grey water systems’. Seventh-Generation-letter


To CHOICE, this is greenwash.

CHOICE is working to improve the access consumers have to sustainable products. CHOICE sometimes highlights ‘green buys’ which are products that perform well, are reasonably priced and meet environmental criteria.

We wrote to Seventh Generation and their Australian representative Good Natured, asking that they stop making the ‘safe for greywater’ claim on their laundry powder, and that they improve the product formulation so consumers can support it as a green buy. They responded promptly to our concerns.


Following complaints by CHOICE and 66 active consumers, Seventh Greneration has ended false claims that its Natural Laundry Detergent is grey water-safe.


Our laundry detergent test revealed that despite claims on the packet, Seventh Generation’s Natural Laundry Detergent is not grey water-safe. In response, we filed a formal complaint with both the company and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). Many consumers joined the action online by emailing the company and the Consumer Affairs Minister, Craig Emerson.


Thanks to CHOICE’s exacting test method, the company has since established that the measuring cup included in its detergent is too large. When a consumer follows the packet instructions and uses the cup provided, it leads to overdosing (90g instead of 76). The resulting higher sodium wash water isn’t suitable for use as grey water on the garden. 


CHOICE wants 'greywater safe' to be a claim that consumers can trust, regardless of brand or origin. Have you spotted a green claim that needs improving? Tell us about it at



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