Earth-friendly products are more than just a trend. They’re an important way to help protect the environment and reduce our carbon footprint. Even though it isn’t something most of us think about on a daily basis, global warming is an issue that is gaining more and more attention. By making small changes in our day-to-day lives, we can have a huge impact on preserving our planet for future generations. One way to do this is by switching over to eco-friendly products. We don't recommend throwing out everything you own and starting anew, but there are so many options you can choose that directly or indirectly have positive environmental effects. There are also some things you should avoid if you want to make a positive environmental impact.
What does eco-friendly mean?
Eco-friendly products are made from renewable or recyclable materials. They use less energy and water during production and have less of a negative impact on the environment. Some other key features of eco-friendly products are that they don’t contain harmful chemicals and that they don’t use any unsustainable resources. Depending on the product and where you live, eco-friendly products may cost more than their conventional counterparts. But the benefits of being earth friendly far outweigh the cost!
What are the benefits of going eco-friendly?
Cutting down on the amount of waste we produce is the most obvious benefit of going green: every year, billions of tons of non-biodegradable trash are produced. If we can cut down on this, we’re doing the environment a huge favor! Since environmentally friendly products are made with renewable materials, they don’t deplete the ecosystem like non-renewable resources do. This means that we can continue to use these products for decades to come with a significantly lesser chance of running out. Choosing an eco-friendly lifestyle will also save you money in the long run: renewable materials are cheaper in the long run than non-renewable materials because they are made to last longer. And you’ll be helping to preserve natural resources while you do it!
Which products should you buy?
Every product has its own set of pros and cons, so the only way to know for sure which eco-friendly products are right for you is to educate yourself! Here are a few examples of eco-friendly products you should consider buying:
-Kitchenware: Stainless steel and bamboo are great eco-friendly alternatives to regular plastic.
-Food and drinks: Many food items, like honey and tea, are produced without pesticides. Be careful though, as some products, like grocery store bananas, aren’t produced in an eco-friendly manner, even when they are organic. This does not mean you have to stop eating bananas altogether, but being aware of their negative environmental impacts may influence your decision to substitute other eco-conscious foods where you can. We highly recommend buying locally grown foods, even non-organic local.
-Personal hygiene products: Natural, organic products like soap, shampoo, and conditioner are great options for an eco-friendly lifestyle. Some of these even have added benefits like anti-dandruff properties or non-irritating for sensitive skin!
-Cleaning supplies: You can find eco-friendly cleaning supplies that don’t contain harmful chemicals like bleach and ammonia. Some even come with added benefits like anti-microbial properties, like lemon or tea tree.
-Clothing and textiles: Natural materials, like hemp or linen, are great options for eco-friendly clothing. These materials are lightweight and durable. They are made to last, unlike the fast fashion options we're used to buying.
-Other household items: Batteries, diapers, toilet paper, and feminine hygiene products are just some examples of frequently used household items that have an alternative, more eco-friendly option.
Which products should you avoid?
Not all products are created equal, so you’ll need to be careful when buying products that claim to be eco-friendly. Here are a few items you should avoid if you want to avoid greenwashing:
-Plastic bags: We all know that single-use plastic bags are one of the most harmful products to the environment. They take years to decompose and end up polluting our oceans, even causing harm to animals that accidentally ingest them. However, even reusable plastic bags should be avoided. Creating new items from plastic (even if they are considered disposable) will always cause more environmental harm than creating the same products from biodegradable or recyclable materials.
-Single-use products: Products like paper towels and napkins that are meant to be used just once are not eco-friendly. You can, however, switch to reusable products like cleaning cloths and dish towels.
-Non-organic food: Produce that isn’t grown organically uses pesticides that usually have a negative impact on the environment. Buying organic whenever possible is better, but don't overburden yourself, especially if you are seeking affordable options. Certain foods have natural protection from pesticides, like shells, thick skins, critter-repelling aromas, and are okay to purchase non-organic. Although they aren't free from pesticide contamination, purchasing non-organic foods with natural pesticide protection and purchasing organic foods without any natural protection is a great shopping mindset to help the environment, your health and your wallet.
-Fossil fuels: Even when cars are hybrid or electric, they still are not good eco-friendly options. Unfortunately, this has more to do with government policies and a history of creating suburbs around cars. Next time you’re out and about or planning a trip, try to walk, use public transport, or carpool.
How to be eco-friendly in your home and everyday life
Tossing your life upside down in order to be zero-waste is quite challenging, especially if you have young children. You can become more eco-friendly a little at a time just by choosing a few environmentally friendly options in your home and everyday life. Here are just a few simple things you can do:
-Use reusable water bottles and get a water filter instead of constantly buying water single-use plastic bottles. This will save the planet and your wallet.
-Bring your own bag when you go shopping. Some cities and states have even banned the use of single-use plastic bags in grocery stores to foster better environmental habits.
-Install energy-saving light bulbs.
-Choose organic cotton, hemp or linen when buying new clothes, bedding or house linens.
-Turn off (and unplug) your computer and devices when you’re not using them.
-Walk or ride your bike to work or school. Or take public transit!
-Be careful not to waste food: buy only what you need and eat everything you buy! If you do end up with food waste or scraps, stash them in your freezer and give them to a local composting site. Make sure to check the composting rules first!
-Make an effort to donate, sell, or recycle unwanted items before tossing them.
While it may be difficult to make the switch to a zero-waste, eco-friendly lifestyle, being imperfectly eco-friendly is an important step we can all take to help preserve our world. Start by educating yourself about the different types of eco-friendly products available, but be careful to avoid greenwashing. You can switch over to eco-friendly products one at a time as you run out of your current supplies. With a little patience, you’ll soon have a home that is kinder to the environment!