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What Is An Eco-Friendly Product?

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Author: Rachel
Date: May 24, 2024

The term “eco-friendly” gets thrown around a lot these days, but do you really know what it entails to make an eco-friendly product? There are many factors that could make a product more eco friendly. This could include the source of the raw materials, the manufacturing process, how it is used, and how it is disposed of. In this guide, we’re looking at the different factors that make products eco-friendly so that you can make a more informed decision as a consumer.

What does eco-friendly mean?

Eco friendly can refer to lots of different factors. It could mean that the product has low impact on the environment, it is made without harmful chemicals and ingredients, or that it can be reused.

There are a lot of reasons you might want to choose eco-friendly products over non-eco friendly products. You might be concerned about the environmental impact your consumer habits have on the wider world. You might be looking for ways to shop more responsibly. You could also be looking for simple ways to cut your costs by purchasing reusable items. 

Here are some of the factors that can make a product more eco-friendly:

Sourcing the raw materials

Sourcing the raw materials

When choosing the materials to make a product, it’s possible to choose cheap materials that are less friendly to the environment and don’t last as long. An example of this would be polyester clothing over cotton clothing. 

While you might assume that polyester clothing is worse for the environment, it’s also possible for cotton to be grown in a way that is very bad for the environment. So it’s not only the type of materials chosen, but also how these materials are made. 

Use of harmful chemicals

If a product is produced using harmful chemicals or its use and disposal risks releasing harmful chemicals into the environment, this would not be considered eco-friendly. Switching up your cleaning products is often the simplest way you can make your home more eco-friendly.

You can also avoid purchasing items that cannot trace the origins of the raw ingredients used to make their products. An example of this would be screen printed t-shirts that use harmful materials in the printing inks. While they might not be present in dangerous levels in the finished product, you should still consider the environmental impact of how the product was made.

Single use or reusable?

Single use or reusable?

Another factor that will determine if your product is eco-friendly is how many times you can use it. In general, single use items are not eco-friendly. The exception would be items that can be easily recycled or composted like tin cans, glass and cellulose items. 

Reusable items like water bottles and coffee cups will generally have much better eco credentials than a single-use item. However, this is only if the item is used as intended. An example of this would be plastic carrier bags that are intended to be used multiple times but are instead used once and then thrown away.

Disposal of the finished product

The final thing to consider when deciding if a product is eco-friendly or not is how you will dispose of it at the end of its life. A single use face wipe is a great example of a product that could be eco-friendly, or it could be harmful. Some single use face wipes are manufactured to be able to break down in water, while others contain fibres that will take a long time to break down.

When making decisions about the products you use, don’t just think about where they came from and what they contain, but also about how you can recycle or reuse them at the end of their life.

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