Eco-friendly Shopping: How Do You Know If A Product Is Environmentally Friendly?

Modern consumers are savvy. They understand that their choices have a range of impacts, including on nature. This increasing level of consciousness has ushered in the era of eco-friendly consumerism. Buying environmentally-friendly products will allow you to enjoy the lifestyle you want while being assured that your choices have minimal impact on the planet. But how do you know something is really eco-friendly?

Not every brand is as environmentally-friendly as they claim to be. They can easily make statements about going green, and some use misleading terms that make them seem more eco-friendly than they actually are. Luckily, there are ways you can identify whether a product is truly eco-friendly. Read on to learn how!

Conduct External Research

green world

If a company claims to use natural ingredients in their product, be sure to visit their website and double check. Generally, genuine companies provide factual information about how their ingredients are sourced and how their products are manufactured. In addition, companies that adhere to guidelines provide factsheets and only make specific claims about their products.

For instance, compare these two phrases:
Made from organic cotton
93% of our products are made from certified organic cotton

The first statement is a generic claim that may be too good to be true, while the second claim has a specific percentage that acknowledges there’s still room for improvement.

The solution - Companies often provide links to verified sources and certification from official agencies on their websites. Therefore, before following a brand blindly, it’s important to conduct some research.

Be Wary Of Greenwashing

Time to change


Greenwashing refers to misleading consumers into buying products that aren’t genuinely environment-friendly. Companies who are guilty of greenwashing make exaggerated claims about the eco-friendliness of their products. For instance, they use terms like ‘all-natural,’ ‘energy-saving,’ ‘certified green,’ and ‘chemical-free’.

When you come across these labels in any product, double-check the data. In this case, data implies the ingredients, info, or any relevant material that proves its authenticity.

In most cases, these terms imply that the product is eco-friendly, but have no standardised meaning. Therefore companies can use these terms to make extravagant claims that don’t guarantee anything in reality.

The solution - Look out for certifications, minimal packaging, and be wary of standard greenwashing terms.

Don’t Fall Prey To Enticing Packaging

packaging

The sustainable market is growing rapidly, thanks to increasing environmental awareness among consumers. Therefore, companies are trying to make their products look more alluring in terms of packaging.

As a consumer, you should critically assess whether the packaging is actually necessary. Generally, brands use fancy packaging methods and colour themes to make their products look more eco-friendly.

For instance, truly environmentally friendly products like eco-friendly slippers need only a basic box with the brand’s label. If you find such a product with unnecessary packaging which represents more waste, you know something’s not right.

The solution - Just because a product has green-themed labels does not mean it’s eco-friendly. Always check the raw materials, certifications, and any unnecessary packaging to ensure the product you buy is environmentally friendly.

Check Eco-friendly Initiatives Of The Company

social media

If a company manufactures genuine eco-friendly products, it will advertise consistently. After all, it is will be seeking to establish its brand as an environmentally friendly brand you can trust.

As a customer, you can be confident in buying a ‘green’ product if its parent company displays these values.

Look out for the following:
  • Social media posts
  • Press releases
  • Newsletters
  • Blogs and articles
  • Online or offline events

The above content should promote the company’s latest updates and sustainable initiatives. Is the brand committed to being eco-friendly and every stage of production as well as their operations? Do they support environmental projects?

The solution - Companies that manufacture eco-friendly products usually highlight their efforts. Keep an eye on this information to assess whether a company has good eco-credentials.

Partner Organisations

tree
This point is most relevant to larger scale companies that produce sustainable products. Generally, such companies donate a certain amount of money to NGOs and/or government agencies for nature protection. Similarly, you may come across brands that partner with scientists to develop eco-friendly products.

In addition, check whether the brand or its products carries certifications from reputable organisations such as PETA, Carbon Trust, or the Forest Stewardship Council.

The solution — A product manufactured by a company with authentic partnerships is more likely to be eco-friendly.

Summing Up

For a product to be truly eco-friendly, it must be kind to nature through every stage of production, from how raw materials are gathered to how it is manufactured to packaging and shipping. To make sure the product that you’re buying is truly environmentally-friendly, it’s important to do a little research and look for certifications from trusted organisations. Additionally, you should be wary of greenwashing and have a healthy dose of cynicism when choosing which products to buy.

*Collaborative post


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