What are Eco-Friendly Products?

What are eco-friendly products

The term eco-friendly is broad-based and has layered meanings. There is no standard definition of eco-friendly, but it generally means anything that does not harm the environment.

If it is applied to consumer goods and products, then eco-friendly products would have a low environmental impact and are not toxic in any way. These products come in sustainable, biodegradable packaging such as cardboard boxes or jute or paper bags.

Eco-friendly products are made of natural and organic raw-material and are not energy-intensive. They do not pollute the environment nor cause environmental degradation, or trigger climate change. These goods may be made freshly or made from reusable products.

Most companies and brands put an eco-friendly label on their items stating they are suitable for the planet, but it is often a hoax.

The companies engage in what is called ‘Greenwashing’. It is a marketing tactic used by most companies to portray their goods as environmentally friendly falsely and themselves as environmentally accountable.

They deceive the people because the green movement has become a very profitable business for them. At the beginning of 2010, business analysts estimated that goods labelled as eco-friendly could add $40 billion to annual business. In 2014, the Nielsen Global Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility discovered that 55% of online global consumers were ready to pay more for environmentally friendly and sustainable products.

 As consumers, it is our responsibility to become environmentally aware and vigilant so that the manufacturers do not fool us. We should know the materials used in making a good and be knowledgeable about the production process to pressurize the stakeholders to follow environmental production norms.

As the world is tackling climate change, global warming, and depleting natural resources, switching to eco-friendly products is a significant step.

As Paul Cohelco rightly said, ‘The world is changed by your example and not by your opinion’; similarly, we should lead the way in switching to genuinely sustainable consumer brands. By doing so, we can make a hefty contribution in saving our environment and our planet and passing it on to our future generations.

How to classify products as eco-friendly?

They use natural raw material

Eco-friendly products are free from harmful toxins, chemicals, parabens, preservatives, petroleum, etc., and contain only natural and organic material that is 100% biodegradable and sustainable. This material could be bamboo or organic cotton, or anything directly derived from nature.

It also contains those goods made from recyclable material, such as reusable glass or plastic. In this manner, harmful plastic can be reused again and transformed into a valuable and valuable good.

Production process

eco-friendly Production process

Brands that claim their products to be environmentally friendly should be transparent regarding how their goods are made. The manufacturing of sustainable goods should not cause enormous air, water, or soil pollution.

The waste generated should be appropriately treated, and the workers should be paid clearly while working in healthy conditions. They should also be compensated adequately if there are any accidents and have fixed working hours and designated holidays.

Also, the industry or factory should be powered by solar energy or wind turbines, and there should be minimal resource wastage. If most of these criteria are met, only then can we say that a product is eco-friendly?

Usage and proper disposal

A well-known environmental activist, David Suzuki, has said that “if we want to move towards a low-polluting, sustainable society, we need to get consumers to think about their purchases.”

This statement is apt given the shopping frenzy most people are tangled in. One should only buy those things that one truly needs and not those that have no use but look cute. Products we buy and use define our lifestyle choices, and these have an impact on our psychology.

For instance, using an eco-friendly water bottle would prevent people from buying single-use plastic water bottles that are non-biodegradable and end up in landfills. Hence, buying consciously is essential.

Also, eco-friendly goods are easy to dispose of and recycle since they decompose fast.

How to know if a product is truly eco-friendly?

How to know if a product is truly eco-friendly

Brands that label their products with their eco-friendly labels are most likely not eco-friendly. However, the products having third-party certifications are indeed eco-friendly. Many regulatory agencies have come up for this purpose.

Given below are a few regulatory guidelines and programs that certify products as eco-friendly. It is essential to know about them so that next time when you buy something, you can know if the goods are eco-friendly or not.

The Environmental Protection Agency or EPA

Environmental Protection Agency or EPA

The EPA is a significant organization that upholds environmental protection, preservation and aims to protect human health and the environment. It has many programs and certifications, such as-.

The Energy Star program

It rates household electrical appliances that conserve electricity, such as smart windows and energy-efficient refrigerators and computers. Also, the whole buildings and even homes or factories can be Energy Star certified.

Smartway Program

Smartway program helps its partner companies by efficiently supplying raw-material and other goods by measuring freight transportation efficiency. It aims at establishing sustainable supply chains and reducing fuel wastage.

Safer Choice Program

The Safer Choice program identifies eco-friendly goods and approves the addition of a label stating that the product has safe and light chemicals only.

Good House Keeping

environmentally friendly

This program awards a Green Good Housekeeping seal to environmentally friendly products. This program has its dedicated lab facility attached to the Good Housekeeping Institute, where it tests the environmental claims on products.

CCOF Logo of USDA National Organic Program

In 2003, the California Organic Products Act was passed, making it mandatory that cosmetics marketed as organic should have a minimum of 70% organic ingredients. This claim of cosmetic companies is tested by yet another regulatory program called the Federal USDA National Organic Program.

Some daily use of eco-friendly products

Eco-friendly kitchen and cleaning products

Eco-friendly kitchen and cleaning products

Some eco-friendly kitchen products include reusable snack bags and grocery bags, eco-friendly food containers and beeswax wrap. Instead of using the conventional plastic zippered bags for storing snacks, you can go for eco-friendly snack bags that are Lead-free, PVC-free, BPA-free, phthalate-free, and vinyl-free.

 Also, the traditional food containers are made of plastic, and you can replace them with reusable glass containers that are stain-free and come with a BPA-free lid and a silicone gasket to keep food fresh for longer times. Plastic trash bags are usually used as they are cheap but come at a tremendous environmental cost. One should go for biodegradable trash bags that are sustainable, 100 % compostable, and BPI certified.

You should also avoid plastic cutlery and go for reusable options. Single-use plastic straws should be banned, and instead, you can use stainless steel straws that come with two small cleaning brushes.

Also, instead of using plastic water bottles, one should go reusable water bottles, glass bottles and stainless steel ones. These are durable and BPA, BPS and BPF free. One should also use natural and plant-based cleaning products and washing detergents. For instance, MMethod’seco-friendly products are naturally derived, based on a hypoallergenic formula. The detergent comes in a recyclable bottle made from 100% post-consumer recyclable material.

Eco-friendly clothes, shoes and slippers

It would be best if you also went for eco-friendly cloth brands, shoes, and sandals. Eco-friendly shoes are usually made of wool and tree fibre instead of the traditional ones made of animal leather or hides using synthetic material and chemicals.

Also, we all buy slippers, and most are made of plastic or rubber. Why buy these when you can go for a more eco-friendly alternative. Hemp sandals and slippers are strong, comfortable, and quite durable. They also have a minimal environmental impact.

Eco-friendly essentials

You can go for eco-friendly swimwear, sunglasses, and underwear. Eco-friendly swimwear is made of recyclable fabric, and eco-friendly sunglasses are made from wood. Eco-friendly underwear is made from natural fabric and also organic cotton that feels good on the skin.

Eco-friendly cosmetics

Eco-friendly cosmetics

The makeup industry uses a lot of chemicals, and even the process of manufacturing is polluting in nature. Hence, one should switch to eco-friendly makeup brands that do not use chemicals, parabens, and phthalates.

One such eco-friendly makeup brand in the US is- 100% Pure, which makes vegan cosmetics using natural and organic ingredients such as antioxidants, naturally occurring vitamins, and essential oils.

Sustainable skincare products

It would be best to opt for eco-friendly skincare as it is gentle on the skin and contains natural plant and fruit extracts. Eco-friendly sunscreens are great as they protect our skin and do not end up polluting our marine life. The Bare Republic produces eco-friendly, mineral-based light sunscreens that make the earth and your skin more beautiful.

Eco-friendly toiletries

Eco-friendly toiletries

You can go for eco-friendly toiletries instead of traditional ones that contain petroleum. Bamboo toothbrushes are a great option, and their bristles are BPA-free, meaning their aaren’tany chemicals in them. You can also avoid the usual plastic-made dental floss. Instead, go for an eco-friendly option such as the Treebird silk floss, which is biodegradable and comes wrapped in a paper bag and printed with natural soybean ink.

Eco-friendly haircare products

Eco-friendly shampoo, conditioners, and lotions come in biodegradable and recyclable bottles. It is estimated that around 80 billion conventional shampoo and conditioner bottles end up in landfills every year. Switching to natural and sulfate-free hair products might be truly liberating for your hair and the planet.

Sustainable jewelry

Lastly, there are eco-friendly jewellery brands as well. Raven & Lily is one such brand with a range of stylish eco-friendly jewellery made from recycled brass, copper, silver, and bullet casings. The company’s policies uphold sustainability and provide fair wages. It employs marginalized women artisans from underdeveloped nations such as Ethiopia.

To sum up

Eco-friendly products are a great alternative to their conventional counterparts as they are friendly to the environment. They reduce environmental burden and decompose naturally and quickly without lying in landfills for centuries like synthetic, chemical-laden goods. These products might be a little costlier; however, we should buy them so that more and more companies are encouraged to produce eco-friendly items.