Choosing the right eco friendly products can be very confusing! all the different brands and materials can turn a simple purchase into 2-hour research.
This is why we decided to write the «ultimate guide for choosing eco-friendly products » Where we show our priorties when we buy a new product. We hope this guide can make green consumers lives’ easier on the way to their next green purchase.
Table of contents
Importance of eco friendly products
How important is it that you choose a product that is eco friendly? Is it worth the effort or money? How much impact does our decisions as small consumers have on the environment?
Buying Eco friendly products or the green alternative has an obvious importance of causing less harm to the environment. For example; products that consume less electricity or less petrol help reduce the amount of fossil fuel we burn, products that use less water and chemicals-free products help us conserve our water resources for future generations, products that are packed by biodegradable materials contribute to a cleaner environment for us and for the wildlife surrounding us.
Those are all great examples of the direct importance eco friendly products have on the environment. Beyond that, buying eco-friendly products also sends an important message.
When you’re buying eco-friendly products from a big brand you’re basically voting with your money. Your telling that big brand “Hi, I want to buy more products like this” when a big company notices more people are buying their green alternatives – they will make more of them.
Another importance of buying green products is the message you send to your close environment. When your friends and family notice you’re using a green product, and it does the work just as good as the non-eco friendly alternative. You’re setting a positive example that goes a long way.
10 Guidelines for choosing eco-friendly products
Walking through the supermarket or scrolling for «green products» online, you see much more green-alternatives than you would 10 years ago. That’s making the decision-making process a lot harder.
Here are the 10 guidelines we go by when choosing new eco-friendly products
The first quality I look for when buying new products is reusability. I will prefer reusable products that I can use again and again over disposable ones. Even if the disposable product is compostable and the reusable one isn’t.
The second quality I look for is product longevity. I try to figure out how long the product in front of me is going to last. Some times I will choose a product that is made of non-degradable materials because I know it’s going to stick with me much longer than the degradable one.
3. Energy efficiency
When I buy products that run on electricity, petrol, or gas, I will look for the ones that are more energy-efficient. An easy way to go about it is to look for the “Energy-star” symbol. These products are usually a little more pricy but they end up saving money in the long run.
Lately, there are more and more products running on solar power which if you can implement in your house are a great solution.
I want to emphasis the difference between “Low-energy” to “Energy-efficient”
Buy a product that is appropriate for the task you need it to do. An energy-efficient appliance can perform the same task but with less energy.
For example, if you buy a new low-energy air-con for the living room but it fails to make the room cool by itself, so end up using a fan in addition. You’re missing the point of energy-efficiency.
I know most people look at the material first when buying eco-friendly products, but I only recommend doing so after you checked the 3 steps above. A long-lasting material is more eco-friendly than a compostable material that needs to be replaced often. But if you’re going for a disposable product try to find a product that is labeled “compostable” other than “biodegradeable”
For non-compostable products it’s important to make sure they are recyclable and that you have the option to recycle them in your area. Some levels of plastic, like the one they are using to make plastic straws, for example, can not be recycled. Glass, metal
Try choosing products with compostable packaging like paper, card box, wood cotton and so on. Usually, when a product is marketed as eco friendly it will have a compostable or at least recyclable packaging. But not always.
Many times when we order online it’s hard to tell how the product is going to be packed and that it an issue by itself. For example, one may order organic shampoo in a glass container instead of plastic, but that will force the shipping company to tightly wrap it with, you guessed it, plastic. A good way to go about this is to ask the seller about their packaging techniques.
7. Manufacturing process
Investigating the manufacturing process of a company is going the extra mile when looking for an eco friendly product. Because not always this info is out for the public to see, or it’s actually well hidden.
Not many people are aware that the textile industry, is one of the 3 most contaminating industries in the world with a footprint in contaminating water sources, excessive burning of fossil fuel factories, use of non-degradable materials and manufacturing of products that are not built too last long. Choosing to buy your clothes from a company or brand with an environmentally friendly manufacturing process can make a big difference.
8. Where it’s made
The country where the product was made can tell you a lot about the product itself. Factories in developed countries are usually obligated to more strict rules when it comes to pollution or employee welfare. In my opinion, the best way to about this topic is to try and look for products that are either made in your own country or a nearby developed country. Or else, try to find out more details about the factory where the product is made.
9. Shipping distance
The shipment of goods around the world, whether it’s by air or by sea, uses immense amounts of fossil fuel. Buying local goods, or even goods that are manufactured in your country or state can make a big difference. And it’s usually not too hard to find out where a product is made, by a short visit to the company’s website.
10. Brand size
Is it better to buy eco friendly products from big brands or from small brands? I know many green consumers prefer the small, organic, 100% earth-friendly brand over big brands that have just one eco friendly alternative.
I believe that while supporting small eco-friendly brands is important and we all should do, let’s not forget that buying the eco-friendly alternative product from big brands has a lot of advantages. One of them is letting those brands know that green-products have a market and that they better make more of them instead of others.
Eco friendly cleaning products
What should a green consumer consider when buying eco friendly cleaning products?
For starters consider the chemical ingredients included in the product and if they are really necessary for the purpose you will use this product for. Some brands got us so worried about germs in our house so that we try to replace them with chemicals. But the truth is germs are everywhere and you can’t get rid of them, and if anything, they are better for your health than chemicals.
Using microfibers can save a lot of chemicals.
Moreover, try buying efficient products that can last you a long time. Condensed products that you can just add water too are great for that matter. They are easy to ship, easy to store, take less packaging and last for a long time.
Eco friendly laundry products
When it comes to laundry there’s a big room for making the process more eco-friendly. Green consumers should consider getting energy-efficient appliances that use less electricity and water, use eco-friendly detergent and dry their clothes outside in the sun.
Eco friendly kitchen products
Keeping your kitchen eco-friendly is not only good for the environment but mostly it’s also healthier. The guidelines for buying new eco-friendly products are very helpful when buying new products for the kitchen. Our kitchen is full of many appliances that can be replaced with energy-efficient ones, and also many disposable, non-degradable products that can be replaced by durable and reusable ones.
Eco friendly plastic bags alternatives
Plastic bags are notorious for their impact of polluting our rivers and seas, they are disposable and not degradable. Lately, we see an abounded of new substitutes for plastic bags from compostable materials, plant-based materials, or very durable materials. Here I believe the most eco friendly way to go is to use durable and reusable bags.
Eco-friendly bathroom products
Products for the bathroom usually envolve our personal hygiene and in that field of life some products, like toilet paper, better be disposable. If you’re going with a disposable product try to keep it compostable or at least recyclable. And the packaging plastic-free.
Eco friendly coffee
To keep your cup of coffee eco friendly you should take a few factors under consideration. First of all the cup itself, try not using disposable cups, and if you do make sure they are disposable. Try owning a coffee maker that is using a permanent filter and not a disposable one. Permanent filters and cups result in a tastier cup of coffee, guaranteed.
Products made of recycled battles
In an effort to support the recycling industry, and to increase the market for recycled plastic, some brands are now releasing products that are solely made from recycled bottles. Those products, even though made from plastic, are reusable and very durable, they also send a strong message to your surroundings.
Where to buy eco friendly products?
Eco friendly products are to be found everywhere we just need to look a bit further sometimes in order to find them. If you can’t find a good enough green alternative in your hometown supermarket. The obvious options will be Amazon, Walmart by entering the search term “product name + eco friendly” and then following the guidelines we stated above to make sure the product is really eco friendly for your needs.
Eco friendly products websites
Home & garden products
Eco friendly presents
Eco friendly furniture and home decor
Eco friendly clothing stores
Browsing through online eco-friendly clothing stores you will find brands that are not apart of what is known as “fast fashion” Clothing materials will be natural, plant-derived and recyclable. Production lines of these brands will also usually have a more sustainable approach like minimizing the use of water and chemicals. Most factories will also supply their workers with decent working terms.
Here are a few eco friendly clothing websites:
Eco friendly products on amazon
Amazon can be a great place to find eco friendly products if you know what to look for. Here on thelessen.com we review many Amazon products in the effort to present our readers with the most eco-friendly for their needs.
More about eco friendly products