What Does Eco-Friendly Mean?

In recent years, you might’ve stumbled across the terms “going green” and “eco-friendly”.  These terms have become buzzwords on hashtags, points of differentiators and product packaging. The word “eco-friendly” is used for a variety of products and practices, and with it being on everything and everywhere, its meaning can become lost. Understanding the true meaning behind eco-friendly can help you implement the practices that will lead to healthier living for you and our planet. 

What does ‘eco-friendly’ mean?

‘Eco’ comes from the Latin root ‘oeco’, meaning ‘household’. Eco is often used now to mean habitat, home, or Earth. Therefore, “eco-friendly” simply means Earth-friendly. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, eco-friendly means “Eco-friendly products have been designed to do the least possible damage to the environment.”

Basically, it’s all about doing no harm to the environment. Products, events, and services that are eco-friendly don’t hurt the Earth. When thinking about products in particular, it means looking at everything from how the product is made, to how it’s delivered. Does any part of that process harm the planet? If so, it’s not entirely eco-friendly. 

What are the product qualifications?

A true eco-friendly product keeps both environmental and human safety at heart. At the bare minimum, the product needs to be non-toxic. Other eco-friendly attributes include using sustainably grown or raised materials produced in ways that do not deplete the ecosystem. Organic ingredients or materials are grown without toxic pesticides or herbicides. Products with “made from recycled materials” contain glass, wood, metal or plastic reclaimed from waste products and made into something new. Biodegradable products break down through natural decomposition, which is less taxing on landfills and the ecosystem as a whole.

What is greenwashing?

Companies sometimes label their products “eco-friendly” or “environmentally friendly” without them truly being so. This is where the term “greenwashing” comes into play. It’s the marketing campaigns that perpetuate this practice and aim to help companies increase their product sales by appealing to eco-conscious buyers. 

To avoid purchasing “greenwashed” products, look for products approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Energy Star program or an ecologically minded consumer-advocacy group such as the Green Good Housekeeping Seal. Or in the EcoSmart case, we are backed by the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Criteria.

How can I find eco products?

One quick way to see if a product is environmentally-friendly is to look up the label. Not all eco-friendly products are labeled, but there are various logos that signal things that are sustainably made, fairtrade, or cruelty-free. Trusted logos include the Soil Association symbol, which shows that a product is organic. There’s also the Rainforest Alliance frog logo, which appears on rigorous sustainability standards.

There are many websites that help you look to see how sustainable products and businesses are. Make sure to check the business’s website, particularly the about us and media room pages. CompanyFolders.com has a great example of this, devoting a special page specifically about their eco-friendly initiatives and printing practices. Ecomall.com is a central sites where you can shop among many companies that offer eco-friendly products. National Green Pages is a directory of about 3,000 companies that have made commitments to sustainable and socially just operations. Keep in mind, even if a product has sustainable ingredients, it might not come in a sustainable box or bottle. Always think of the three R’s: Can this be recycled, reused, or reduced?

How is EcoSmart eco-friendly?

EcoSmart is paving the way for sustainable living for future generations. Through our conservative efforts, we have constructed the neighborhood not of the future, but of now. A neighborhood where people come together and are integrated with nature. A neighborhood where homeowners are provided with an affordable, comfortable and energy efficient home that they never have to think twice about. From the very start of our venture, we have strived to deliver a greener future, and we believe that is where we are and where we will continue to head towards.