Having a 13-year-old daughter in the house who loves sport and animals means I hear the term ‘eco-friendly’ pretty much daily.
Whether it’s reducing our food waste, ditching single-use plastic bottles for the soccer team, or metal straws for every cookout and birthday party, she certainly has strong opinions on ‘eco-friendly’ practices.
‘Eco-friendly’ is a term that we are all used to hearing, but do we actually understand what it means?
Cambridge Dictionary states the definition of eco-friendly as “designed to have little or no damaging effect on the environment” and is often used in the context of products, natural resources, and lifestyle choices.
There is very little, if any, difference between the terms ‘eco-friendly’, ‘environmentally friendly’, ‘nature-friendly’, and ‘earth-friendly’. All three describe products and services that are not environmentally harmful.
Whether you are doing the weekly food shop, commuting to work, or building a condo, it needs doing in a way that conserves resources for future generations.
Trying to live a more ‘eco-friendly’ lifestyle can throw up several challenges. One of which is trying to understand ‘environmentally friendly’ language.
Here’s a quick jargon buster to help get you up-to-speed:
You can find our comprehensive glossary of ‘eco-friendly’ terms here.
The term ‘greenwashing’, coined by environmentalist Jay Westerveld in 1986, refers to brands or corporations using ‘green’, ‘eco-friendly’, and ‘sustainable’ credentials to boost sales.
Being seen as ‘green’ can be very profitable to corporations, so it’s important to look beyond the marketing hype and investigate whether they really have legitimate ‘eco-friendly’ credentials.
You can learn more about greenwashing here. But for now, here are a few examples I’ve come across in the past.
Some corporations design fake logos on their product packaging, to try and trick consumers into thinking their product is more eco-friendly than it actually is.
Look out for products that carry ‘eco-friendly’ logos from legitimate organizations like USDA Organic, Energy Star, and Fair Trade Certified
The material used (bamboo or organic cotton, for example) might be ‘green’. However, the raw material has likely gone through several processes to make it usable. The ‘all natural’ claim makes it sound like your sheets have come directly from nature. This is not the case.
It has not been common practice to have phosphates in detergent for many decades. Any brand claiming this as a selling point is most likely ‘greenwashing’, seeing as all other brands are likely to be free of phosphates.
In the UK, Ryanair was accused of greenwashing when they produced ads claiming that they had the “lowest carbon emissions of any major airline”.
After a full investigation, the Advertising Standards Authority banned the ads because the airline failed to provide enough evidence to back up their claims.
This is just one example of a company overstating their eco friendliness. You can read more about ‘greenwashing’ here and learn how to spot the tactics used.
There are many simple ways to incorporate green practices into your everyday life without too much effort. I cover all these topics in more detail in this guide on how to be more eco friendly, but I would like to run through some of my personal favorites to get you started.
Cutting back on animal products is one of the best ways to ease the pressure on the planet. A University of Oxford study found that switching to a vegan diet can reduce an individual’s food carbon footprint by up to 73%. I could never go full vegan (I love a ribeye too much), but meat-free Monday is a firm favorite in our house. The kids go mad for my veggie tacos.
I’m a proud MAMIL. There is nothing better on a Sunday morning than getting out on the bike and causing gridlock. If we are to combat air pollution, we need to drive less. Cycling more and driving less is an excellent place to start.
Residential energy use accounts for approximately 20% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Making our homes more efficient will reduce these emissions and save us a few bucks in the process.
You can also take this a step further and install solar panels to go "off grid" and generate your own power.
This is a big topic, but here are a couple of headline takeaways for you.
According to MasterClass there are “8 Ways to Conserve Natural Resources at Home”.
The more ‘eco-friendly’ products we can use daily, the better it will be for the planet long-term.
Here at The Roundup, we’re on a mission to test and review as many products as possible so you can make better-informed decisions to develop ‘eco-friendly’ habits, consume fewer resources and reduce your carbon footprint.
The list of products now available to the environmentally-conscious is vast. Check out our ‘eco-friendly’ products article for more details.
From aerospace and construction to packaging and clothing, plastic has found its way into almost every aspect of modern life.
Developing better ‘eco-friendly’ habits around plastic is essential if we want to conserve resources for future generations.
A: The planet only has a finite amount of natural resources. If we all do our small part to be eco friendly those resources will hopefully last for many generations to come.
A: The 10 worst products for the environment are paper coffee cups, boxes of tea bags, plastic water bottles, disposable cutlery, plastic bags, produce bags, disposable single-use razors, menstrual products, disposable cleaning cloths, and food packaging.
A: It is now easier than ever to choose an environmentally responsible energy source. There are four main options to choose from:
A: Yes, due to it being recyclable and biodegradable, amongst other benefits, cardboard is generally considered to be eco friendly.
I like to think of being ‘eco-friendly’ as the act of living with mindful intent. That intent is not to harm the environment or allow any harm on your behalf.
It goes beyond turning off the lights in an empty room, using recycled materials, and knocking the thermostat down a couple of degrees.
It can feel like a daunting task at first, and you might not have any idea where to start. However, chipping away at your environmental impact every day will soon add up and begin to make a real difference for now and future generations.
Looking for practical tips on how to be more ‘eco-friendly’? Check out our simple, practical guide to find out some simple changes you can make that could make a huge difference to the future of the planet.