Today, the term “eco-friendly” can be heard everywhere and is used in connection with many practices and products. Thus, its meaning is at risk of being lost, and we must remind ourselves of the true meaning of the term. Eco-friendly stands for Earth-friendly, and these practices should be implemented in order to create a healthier environment for all living beings on our beloved planet.
When a product is labeled “eco-friendly”, it refers to those that are designed to serve this particular purpose (obviously), but also contribute to green practices which help conserve valuable, but expendable natural resources, such as energy and water. They also prevent toxic impacts on land, water, and air, minimizing pollution.
A landfill shouldn’t be the place where your old furniture ends up. With some power tools and basic templates, you can take apart and reassemble dressers, tables, and chairs and make entirely new pieces. A bit of sandblasting, a new coat of paint, and you can reuse it or sell it. Use wood scraps to make storage units and shelving. Giving a second life to used items eliminates waste in the production process and no additional material is required to make a new piece, which also helps the environment.
Modern, large companies in search of profit maximization tend to label their products “eco-friendly” without them truly being such. This is called “greenwashing”, and is a means of helping these companies appeal to ecologically conscious buyers and increasing their sales. When looking to purchase a real “eco-friendly” product, look for those approved by the Energy Star program, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Green Good Housekeeping Seal or other eco-conscious consumer-advocacy groups.
One aspect of living green does require the use certain technologies, such as air and water filters and waste processing devices, but there are many other ways and everyday practices you can implement in your daily life in order to decrease your carbon footprint.
Sustainable Construction Materials
Some companies today offer recycled, sustainable materials to be used in projects such as infrastructure repairs, even though people tend to think of construction as not being very sustainable. Companies like these hope to change the way people think about rebuilding infrastructure, and make products such as railroad pilings and ties out of recycled plastic from industrial and consumer users, rather than steel, concrete, and other non-sustainable materials.
Handmade Organic/All-Natural Products
Household products such as cleaning products, cosmetics, and soaps can be made using simple, organic materials. With the right recipe, you can make your own vinegar-based cleaning solution or a sugar scrub. You can even choose to go into the business of selling hand-made soap bars, and help the world stay a bit more on the green side. You can sell them through an online store, or at local events and markets.
Organic or Recycled Fashion
Reused fabric scraps, organic cotton, and even recycled plastic can be used for starting a green fashion line. What you can do is create silk screen artwork on eco-friendly accessories made of recycled materials, design handbags, and T-shirts. Eco-friendly clothing can be expensive, but there are great alternatives for finding such items, such as thrift shops, where you can find great clothes at affordable prices, anything from shoes to cheap dresses for pregnancy to jewelry. Before you purchase something, do some research on the distributor’s green practices to make sure they’re reputable and legitimate.
Home gardeners living in urban areas usually don’t start their own compost pile because they often don’t have the space. If you have a large yard and can use a corner of it to create compost, you can sell it to local green thumbs. There’s a high demand for it among organic gardeners, so if you don’t mind the messiness of the job, get down to it. You can sell it directly to consumers or to community-supported agriculture organizations that often buy compost in bulk and distribute it.
All the maintenance professional landscaping requires isn’t really great for the environment. However, with some green techniques, you can make your yard both figuratively and literally greener. Consider implementing strategically placed trees, drought-resistant plants, and synthetic surf for a lawn that saves money, energy, and water.
Eco-Friendly Product Qualifications
What makes a product truly eco-friendly? These products are, at a minimum, non-toxic. They also use sustainably grown products (created in a way that doesn’t deplete the ecosystem). Organic ingredients are grown without herbicides, pesticides, and other toxic, slow-degradable products. Products that are made from recycled materials contain plastic, metal, wood, or glass reclaimed from waste products. Biodegradable products break down in the process of natural decomposition, which means they are less taxing on the ecosystem.
These are just some of the ways to contribute to environmental preservation. Don’t fall for products that are labeled green, because certain companies are more concerned about money than the safety and future of our environment, and thus manufacture products under false pretenses.
Sophia Smith is Australian based fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogger. She is also very passionate about DIY projects, latest fashion trends and organic beauty products. Sophia writes mostly in beauty and fashion related topics, mainly through blogs and articles. She is regular contributor at High Style Life.