BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — With Earth Day celebrations on the mind, many may be wanting to “go green.”

That can be hard when green products aren’t actually better for the environment.

It’s a practice called “greenwashing”: companies falsely promoting or marketing products as biodegradable or environmentally friendly.

“The tangible (environmental) benefit is really minor, but it’s something that gets advertised broadly so that the (company) accrues a positive image as being one that’s pro-environment,” CSUB biology professor Dr. Brandon Pratt said.

The tactic can have disastrous effects on the environment – often, consumers are less likely to handle products in an eco-friendly way if they’re marketed as “green.”

Last week, Fast Company reported nearly 70% of executives at U.S. companies admitted to some level of greenwashing marketing.

The practice has gotten companies in California in hot water. Last fall, Fresno County successfully sued four pet goods sellers for falsely marketing waste bags as biodegradable.

After a February senate bill, it’s now a crime in California to use misleading environmental claims or symbols like the recycling arrows to market products.

It’s getting easier to trust products that say they’re environmentally friendly, but as the practice of greenwashing continues, it makes meeting sustainability goals that much harder.