Eco Friendly Products – Look at their Packaging
In my previous blog, we saw(much to the disgust of my friend) that just because a product says “eco friendly” or “green” on the bottle, it isn’t necessarily an eco friendly product. It might be – or it may be greenwashing.
So, how can you tell?
Later, I’m going to look at what WE can do. But first, here are the things that manufacturers can do to make eco friendly products.
Because there are in fact a large number of things that can be done to make a product green (or greener), I’m going to categorise them into the eco friendly ‘mantra’ of Reduce, Re-use, Recycle.
But those 3 words are in that order for a very good reason.
Reduce is the most important of the three.
Eco friendly products Reduce their impact on the environment
As a general rule, products which have less packaging are more eco friendly.
Why? Because they use less resources to create (using less Styrofoam and plastic for example, is good because they are both made from petroleum). And what happens when you get home? You open the product and discard the packaging, which goes to landfill. Even if you recycle (and not all kerb-side recycling accepts it), it’s still better not to buy it in the first place.
Sometimes, buying in bulk reduces the packaging. (Just make sure you don’t end up using more than you normally would, just ‘because it’s there’).
Also, buying produce from the “help yourself” or “bulk bins” section in supermarkets – especially if you bring your own re-usable produce bags (I keep mine in the car) – can often reduce packaging. Fruit, nuts, spices, grains, beans, cereals and more can all be bought this way.
Tip: Often, (though not always) you’re getting a more genuinely natural product than if you bought the equivalent packaged variety (for example, some nuts have oil and salt added when they’re packaged, but not if you buy the right fresh nuts from the bulk bins).
Tip: The bulk bins should list the ingredients, just like packaged items. You can improve your health this way!
Tip: Although most stores have a weighing scale, you can also bring your own measuring cup if you prefer.
Tip: you can buy only the exact quantity you need, so you reduce waste at home. For example, small amounts of spices you don’t use often, or larger quantities of things you use a lot, so you don’t have to shop as often.
Tip: worried about the freshness? Ask the bulk bin manager how often their stock is replenished.
Tip: At home, store your produce in (reusable) airtight containers in a cool, dry place.
(Where can you find bulk bins? Whole Foods Market (USA and UK) promote their bulk bins well, but all the leading supermarket chains have bulk bins as well as many health stores. We’ve even got some on my little tropical island).
According to the EPA, packaging makes up 30% of consumer waste. Imagine being able to reduce your household rubbish!
The nice thing about buying products with less packaging is how easy it is to spot! You don’t need to read anything, just look, it’s easy!
Look for reduced packaging in everything you buy – from food to cosmetics, electronics, games, clothes, everything!
Reduce = phtotbucket, bulk bins = tradefixtures