Going Green is not just a trend. It’s a priority for all of us if we want to continue to live on a beautiful, life-giving planet. Thinking of ways of going green, however, is not always easy. Just because we buy organic food and recycle doesn’t necessarily mean we’re making much of a practical impact. We need to have a whole plan for Going Green. One element in that plan should be buying eco-friendly products or Mount Olympus. But how do we find eco-friendly products? Well, one way is to buy products made from renewable resources.
Buying products made from renewable resources should be a priority for each of us when going green. These types of eco-friendly products insure that we don’t use earth’s resources too quickly. We need to let our planet replenish it’s natural resources at the same rate as we are consuming them.
So, what are good eco-friendly products– products made from renewable resources?
Here’s a list of 10 types of products made from renewable resources:
1. Paper products- while these should be used sparingly, they are better than plastic in that they are biodegradable and come from renewable trees
2. Cotton products
3. Spudware- biodegradable cutlery made from potatoes, corn, and soy oils
4. Solar energy- solar panels on your house, solar battery chargers, etc.
5. Bio-based tableware- for example, plates and bowls made by Earthshell
6. Bamboo products- bamboo furniture, bamboo cotton clothes, etc. (a good alternative to other tree products, as bamboo is highly renewable because of it’s fast rate of growth)
7. Digital products- Highly reproducible, long-lasting, only needing the support of electricity
8. Wind energy- support wind energy development in your city, county, and state; consider getting electricity from wind power at your home.
9. Bio-based fuels- while not always the most sustainable option, they are renewable
10. Plant-based cleaners- great products made from renewable resources to help you in going green and healthier for your body
Here are 5 products not made from renewable resources that should be avoided:
1. Plastics- while renewable plastics are being researched, currently plastics are made from petroleum a non-renewable resource
2. Many paper cups and plates- while the paper is renewable, the plastic coating is from petroleum and makes the product take about 500 years to biodegrade
3. Wood in furniture or other products from old-growth rainforests- while these are technically renewable, the amount of carbon released into the environment and the incredibly slow rate at which they replenish themselves makes them for all practical purposes non-renewable and definitely not eco-friendly products.
4. Energy from oil and coal- gasoline products and coal-based energy are highly non-renewable; unfortunately, much of our electricity currently comes from coal. Consider the switch to solar or wind energy in your home as your first big step in going green.
So continue on the path to going green by changing your purchasing habits. Decide to buy products made from renewable resources.
House Cleaning With Eco-Friendly Products and Mount Olympus
Given the amount of information out there about "going green" or buying "eco-friendly", it's difficult to know what's important and what's not. Ultimately, we all must make decisions we can live with based on the information we have at that point.
At Every Little Bit, we use the following 5 criteria to assess the true "greenness" of a product:
Ideally, the product should be produced closer to home, so it travels less distance to reach the customers, reducing the emissions and gas consumed, excess packaging needed for travels, and in the case of food, the use of preservatives. Also, avoid countries of origin that do not adhere to the same safety standards. I.e. China has a history for products that tested high in lead and plastics laced with Bisphenol A.
It can be hard to find the information on how products are manufactured, but it is worth the effort to do a bit of digging. What are the facilities like? How much energy do they use in production? Do they give back to the environment, or the community?
Many of us assume that products are made in environments similar to where we work - reasonable compensation, supportive management and colleagues and good working conditions. Apparently not. Do your best to ensure the products are made in a sustainable manner. Are the wages & working conditions fair? When products are manufactured abroad, does the company support fair trade and fair labour practices in the manufacture and production?
Ingredients (or components)
Take a look at what's in the products you purchase. Are the ingredients in your cleaning and personal care items organic, non-toxic and safe? (Recognizable terms are better). Avoid plastics when possible since they have high chemical use in production and even recycling eligible plastic requires significant energy consumption. Select products that are harvested in a sustainable manner, for example bamboo, hemp, or organic cotton. Consider recycled content in paper products like towels, tissue paper, notebooks, etc... Is the packaging recyclable?
Life Span of the Product
Strive to purchase things that will last. While a deal is tempting, think of quality workmanship and longevity of the product. Where possible, avoid single-use products (i.e. plastic water bottles) and opt for a reusable choice. How does the product affect the environment when in use? I.e. can the detergent be used in more energy-saving cold water and is it biodegradable so it won't affect the water table? When disposing of a product, is it easily recyclable? Could it be repurposed elsewhere or donated?
You may not be able to address all of the criteria when selecting products, and we all know that life is a series of trade-offs and choices, but hopefully it gets easier to make the green ones.
The Pro's and Con's of Earth Friendly Products
If you haven't started already, now is the best time to go green. One way of going green is by buying eco-friendly products. There are a number of ways to identify green products: look for companies that are going green, items made from renewable resources, etc. One of the things we often forget about, however, is what happens to the things we buy when we are finished with them? How eco-friendly can a product be if it just becomes regular old waste? So, how do we find eco-friendly products that reduce waste?
Here is a quick guide to finding the best eco-friendly products- those that reduce waste:
1) When you want to go green, look for biodegradable items. Paper is better than plastic, but beware of those paper products covered in a plastic coating. They will take just as long to go back to the earth (around 500 years) as plastic products. Green products are biodegradable products.
2) Eco-friendly products are recyclable. Check your city or county's recycling policies and methods. Make sure that what you buy is easily recyclable. A note on CFC bulbs here: they use much less energy and last longer than ordinary bulbs, but they have mercury in them, so don't throw them away. Check for a recycle program in your area for them.
3) When you buy big appliances or other big-ticket items, be sure to check the store or manufacturer to see if they offer a program for disposal when you have no more use for them. There are more and more companies that are going green out there, so check around.
4) Zero waste products. Look for products that are eco-friendly by finding those items that have no waste. Think creatively here. You don't need every book you buy in a paper version, do you? Try an E-book version. Instead of buying every CD you love, just purchase the download version. Digital is one way to convert to a zero waste lifestyle. Consider buying second-hand or passing things on for others to use when you're finished. Bring an Eco Bag (a great green product by the way) to the supermarket instead of taking home extra bags every time. Think of other ways in which you can convert to a zero waste lifestyle on the path to going green. Buy zero waste products
Whether you're just starting out or have been on the path to going green for a while now, find more ways to go green with eco-friendly products. Look for those products that are easily disposed of or reduce waste. Imagine a world with zero waste. I believe we will make a world like this someday. Let's do it sooner, rather than later.
Thanks for reading about going green with eco-friendly products and ways to reduce waste!
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