With increased pressure being put on making environmentally conscious decisions, consumers are often presented with 3 options: Eco-Friendly, Green & Sustainable.
You can’t be faulted for believing that these 3 are one in the same and to an extent, they are. They share a common goal – reduce the impact we have on our fragile environment and increase awareness on social and environmental responsibility but that’s where the similarities end.
Marketers have created a bit of confusion by using these terms carelessly and loosely and as advocates for sustainability, we believe we need to educate consumers on the small differences that are important to define.
Sustainability focuses on the future by generating environmental, social and economic benefits – while not using up too many resources or causing pollution. The aim of sustainable practices is to not compromise future generations to meet their needs, with much higher standards than that of green or eco-friendly. Products with “made from recycled materials” contain glass, wood, metal or plastic reclaimed from waste products and made into something new, which is less taxing on landfills and the ecosystem as a whole. Reusable grocery bags made from recycled materials are significantly more environmentally friendly than similar bags made from virgin plastic materials. Reusable bags made from recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) are a more eco-friendly choice. Made from recycled plastic bottles, PET fabric has an almost 90% lower carbon footprint than nylon
Green is a frequently used term to anything related to benefiting the environment but it isn’t quite this broad. Ideally green is meant to be a practice that doesn’t harm the environment. Sustainability includes eco-friendly activities and green products, but green doesn’t necessarily mean sustainable. For example, a product made from renewable resources is considered green yet a lot of energy is required to manufacture and ship it to the end-user. Another issue with green technology is that if there isn’t a proper way to dispose of the product, then it isn’t considered sustainable.
Eco-Friendly literally means earth-friendly or not harmful to the environment.
Making a truly eco-friendly product keeps both environmental and human safety in mind. At a minimum, the product is non-toxic. Other eco-friendly attributes include the use of sustainably grown or raised ingredients, produced in ways that do not deplete the ecosystem. Some natural-fibre bags such as cotton and canvas have a significant impact on the environment due to the way the crops are grown and processed.