Fraud in the Environmental Industry

A few days ago, my neighbor came to me with a gift she found at a thrift store. She knows how much I care about the environment, and was excited to give me the cool thing she found.

It was a small blue plastic sphere sitting proudly in thick plastic packaging, with instructions that boldly proclaimed, “Join us in protecting the planet.”

Warning bells started going off in my head as soon as I started reading about “The Laundry Solution.” It appeared to be merely a plastic ball with blue water floating in it, that for the low price of just $75, would replace all of your laundry soap needs forever. The trick being special magical ionized water that would interact with the water in your washing machine, making your clothing clean with no soap.

The Laundry Solution Scam

It turns out, The Laundry Solution is in fact just a plastic ball with water dyed blue in it. I could grab a rubber ball from my own kids and toss it in there and it would work just as well.

In 1999, the Federal Trade Commission brought an injunction against Trade Net, the makers of The Laundry Solution for the many false claims they had made.

They were banned from doing business in certain states, and were made to pay $155,000 in fines for lying to the public.

This is probably why the plastic ball was found abandoned in a thrift shop instead of still “saving the planet” today, but it’s still no less than a scam of environmentally minded people trying to do good. It’s also not the only scam to propose benefits for the planet while doing absolutely nothing.

Fuel Magnets

Another common scam for both recessions like we’re undergoing now, and environmentalists trying to assuage their guilt about gas powered cars, is the fuel magnet scam.

These magnets claim to boost your MPG by as much as 300% through ionizing your gas as it goes into the tank. Once again, these money saving magnets will set you back $30…but all worth it after the first fill up right?

The problem is they don’t work at all. Not a speck. Not one iota. Popular Mechanics tested two of them in a remarkably well thought out experiment.

Blue Energy in Indonesia

Wealthy countries aren’t the only ones to be taken in by environmentalist fakers. In Indonesia, Djoko Suprapto claimed he could create cheap, reliable, and green energy by cracking through reverse electro-dialysis.

His plan was rejected from Gadjah Mada University, where he was taught, because when peer-reviewed his plan didn’t hold water. Unfortunately, the government believed him and poured US$1,000,000 into the project before realizing their mistake.

Volkswagen Emissions Scandal

In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) discovered that Volkswagen vehicles were not all they claimed to be. Diesel engines had a “Defeat Device” installed in them to trick emissions tests into thinking that the emissions of the vehicles were lower than they actually were.

In the face of overwhelming evidence, the German car manufacturer admitted to it. The vehicles not only didn’t run clean and green, they emitted up to 40 times the legal limit.

Tire Recycling Fraud

One of the worst environmental frauds may have been discovered just a few weeks ago. 5 men were indicted on charges related to an international dumping scheme.

The men are alleged to have conspired to steal as much as $40,000,000 in funds meant to support recycling efforts. Their tire company, Bay Area Tire Recycling, had no recycling equipment according to claims, and the tires were instead dumped in countries such as Korea, India, and Vietnam.

U.S. Attorney David Anderson said in a statement, “We allege that the defendants, using Bay Area Tire Recycling, engaged in a massive environmental fraud. Used tires don’t belong in landfills, either here in California or overseas. Used tires can be recycled, retreaded and reused. By dumping used tires in Korea, India and Vietnam, and using those exports to support false claims, the defendants cheated consumers, American taxpayers, the shipping companies, and everyone who cares about the environment.”

It’s important to note that these are allegations. The defendants have not been proven guilty yet, and may well have done nothing wrong. Until their trial is complete, we can’t say for sure these crimes actually happened.

What we can assume however, is that environmental fraud is still ongoing. Environmentalists need to be on their guard, and not to be afraid to question the motives of the people who have money to gain.

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