The insecticide Sevin is “environmentally friendly”?

I have written a few times on the current trend to call everything “environmentally friendly.” The use of the words “eco” and  “environmentally friendly” are used by marketers for everything from a new car, to new clothing. They are buzz words and can be used to describe just about anything we want to sell. It all in how you look at it. Sure, a Prius might be more environmentally friendly than another car, but it’s less environmentally friendly than biking or walking to work. It’s all relative.

Farmer Fred Hoffman alerted me to this Twitter feed from Armstrong Nurseries, the largest independent garden chain in California.  According to the feed, “Garden Tip: Do you have bug problems in your garden? Try Sevin Insect Control. It’s OK to use on edibles and is environmentally-friendly. via HootSuite.” I suppose a vegetable garden sprayed with Sevin is more environmentally friendly than that same area covered in concrete.

What’s really neat is how people like Fred can catch stuff like this now. No longer are advertisers going to be able to make claims without being called to task. It’s good for the public, and good for business. It’s even good for Armstrong Nurseries, as they now have a forum to tell us about their claim.

About Trey Pitsenberger

Trey is a nurseryman, author, and speaker.

09. April 2010 by Trey Pitsenberger
Categories: , , , , , | 7 comments

Comments (7)

  1. A major box store just extolled the virtues of raised beds with a lot of misinformation. I quickly noted their false statements in my blog. It is time for true pros in the industry to make the wannabes stand up and defend their claims.

    Lest we end up as dependable and honest as late night infomercials

  2. What’s really funny, or absurd, is that home growing of food is equivalent to environmentally friendly now, so therefore anything you use to help that along must also be considered friendly!

    Twitter reduces complicated things to text bites. Can’t be good when it comes to a thorough education.

  3. Trey, This is a sign that people are paying attention, and that educating people of what to look for is working. I urge honest hard working nursery owners to continue to educate, continue to be honest in your practices, you will provail! I used Seven once on an ornamental many years ago that I couldn’t get control of a pest problem. Didn’t seem to “friendly” to me. I used just a bit less than the instructions called for and I had total leaf drop and the plant struggled the entire season. I couldn’t imagine applying this chemical on anything I planned on eating one day. Keep spreading the honest truth and people will do to right thing. – Michael

  4. anyone who calls it environmentally friendly… obviously hasn’t bothered to read the MSDS, interesting since you would think as “a pro” they should have done their homework

    “Caution! May be harmful by inhalation, ingestion, skin adsorption. Avoid contact with skin, eyes and clothing. Extremely toxic to aquatic and estuarine invertebrates. Highly toxic to bees.”

    Oh yeah, that is friendly!

    I have to be one of the smallest independent nurseries in California, but any product we recommend and sell, we have read the MSDS and decided that we are confident that it is actually “safe” to even have it on a shelf in our store, let alone use it. Chemical warfare is never environmentally friendly.

  5. We appreciate your feedback on Sevin and have passed your concerns along to our buyer. As I’m sure you’re aware there are contradicting claims about Sevin’s active ingredient carbaryl.

    You’re correct the term “environmentally friendly” is up to interpretation and we try to use it with caution. We’ll be more diligent when using this phrase. Once again thanks for your comments!

  6. I for one am happy that a spokesperson for Armstrong has stepped up to the plate, a step in the right direction. I understand wanting to pass along information to customers, with my niche market education of customers is huge. We must be so very careful of what information we pass along without screening the info. Gaurd yourself against knee jerk reactions that may come back to haunt you later. One thing that should be taken away from this and remembered is that what you say in a public setting can haunt you for years to come, and can have an effect on your bottom line too. Be careful of what you say, and if your not 100% sure maybe it’s not worth saying.

  7. Pingback: The Blogging Nurseryman by Trey Pitsenberger » Armstrong nursery responds | The future of gardening and garden related businesses.