Most people nowadays know about green living and feel it’s something they should do — whether they abide by it or not, however, usually depends on an individual’s understanding of the severity of the issue.
Environmental science and sustainability are two complicated topics and trying to understand them can be a little overwhelming. Even learning the proper recycling practices can feel like a game of catch-up, and the whole green living thing may feel like just another layer of complexity in an already busy life.
It's Not Easy Being Green
We get it — especially in areas where resources and education are slim, it can be expensive and inconvenient to live green. But your individual effort is making a positive impact on a tricky situation: as modern medicine advances and the world becomes increasingly overpopulated, demand for necessary products will also continue increasing, putting a strain on the earth’s natural resources. That means finding ways to standardize both sustainable production of goods and proper disposal of waste are equally important. Though the U.S. is certainly not the worst-ranked country for environmental impact, we are also not even in the top ten for the best. Given our resources and opportunity in this country, we could probably do a little better than that.
We at BuyGreen believe that the first step is taking the time to understand the overarching problem and recommended practices to prevent it — just by reading this article, you’re already off to a good start! In terms of education, it’s especially important to understand that as “environmentally friendly” becomes more and more mainstream, more and more products will claim themselves as “environmentally friendly” to appeal to the goodwill of consumers. This phenomenon in marketing, dubbed “greenwashing”, means it’s becoming more difficult to find the genuinely green products.
We carefully research products before we add them to our inventory — but rather than keep that information to ourselves, we would also love for our customers to understand what it is about our products that makes them green. That way, our customers can take part in educating the rest of the world.
What is an Environmentally Friendly Product?
Let’s start with the basics: an environmentally friendly product, as defined by Wikipedia, is a good or service “that claims reduced, minimal, or no harm upon ecosystems or the environment.” Whether it's through a process of degradation (which, by the way, there’s a difference between compostable and biodegradable) or a re-purposing of something already produced, the goal is to find products that generate little to no trace of their existence on the environment. Non-recyclable plastic, for example, seems to be Enemy #1 right now, filling landfills and polluting natural settings. Even recyclable plastic that is left dirty or otherwise improperly disposed of, often ends up in landfill — National Geographic reports that a whopping 91% of all plastic becomes waste. Sometimes, especially with plastic, it's best to just avoid it completely if you can.
It’s important to think about both how the product was produced and what the best method of disposal is. Products that seem eco-friendly on one end could actually be harmful on the other. For food and cosmetics, check out the ingredients list: a good rule of thumb is to find products that include shorter words because most harmful toxins get a little lengthy in name.
How Do I Know if It’s Actually Eco-Friendly?
The short answer? You can be sure that every product on BuyGreen, as well as most other product offered by our associated brands, has a limited environmental impact. We’ve made sure that the companies we work with share our dedication to the earth. We’ve done the research, ensuring something as complicated as green living is just a little more convenient for you.
For products outside our inventory, your best bet is do exactly what you’re doing now: read up before purchasing. Unlike at the start of the green movement, we now have access to a wealth information via the internet — look beyond advertising claims, read ingredient lists and find employee reviews of the company’s genuine intentions. We at BuyGreen also recommend you look for companies that already have certifications — like Energy Star, Green America or Fair Trade — awarded by third-party, accredited organizations.
If you have any questions during your search, let us know!