Greenwashing is the practice of pretending to care about the environment. It is a form of deceit commonly practiced by marketing departments engaging in a sleight-of-hand attempt to distract the public from policies of pollution.
This term was coined by Jay Westervelt in a 1986 essay on the hotel industry's use of placards about reusing towels. The practice in fact stretches back even further to advertising done in the 1960s.
Groups guilty of greenwashing include BP, ExxonMobil, and the US Government. The last one might surprise you, but then maybe you've never seen a recycling truck dump its load into a trash truck at the end of your street.