Eco-friendly, organic, sustainability, going green, recycled and non-toxic—you have certainly come across these terms when reading about planet-friendly products, practices or brands.
People are “going green” in a pursuit to do their bit for the earth.
But what does this mean?
Well, the phrase is a euphemism for someone who possesses adequate knowledge, experience or expertise to choose products, adopt practices and follow a lifestyle that has minimal adverse effects on the environment.
One example of a green practice is to replacing commercial cleaners with bio-enzyme cleaners at home.
Smitha Kamath makes these green cleaners, packs them in used plastic bottles for sale.
Eco-friendly is a term that literally translates to being environmentally friendly. These are products that don’t harm the planet, use any plastic, are biodegradable and make use of minimum resources to be manufactured.
Sustainability goes a step ahead.
A sustainable product or practice is not just green or eco-friendly but also conscious about the future. In addition to being eco-friendly, such products can be reused over a long period of time, eliminating the need to purchase new products frequently.
Carrying a glass or steel bottle everywhere instead of purchasing a mineral water bottle is a classic example of sustainability.
Often misunderstood, recycling, upcycling and downcycling do not mean the same thing.
When the original product is recycled to make another of lesser value, the process is called downcycling. For instance, if papers from a notebook are recycled to make toilet paper, it is downcycled.
If a plastic bottle is scrapped and made into another plastic bottle, it is recycled.
Upcycling is the process of reusing an existing “waste” item to make one of higher value like making flower pot from plastic bottles.
When you use the word organic, it means that no synthetic chemicals were used right from the first step of production.
For example, if your juice claims to be organic, its manufacturing process—right from the fruit that is plucked—should be completely free of chemical additives.
Chemical-free, on the other hand, is reserved for personal care products, home improvement items, dyes and colours. It means that no synthetic chemicals were added in the production of the final item.
When a product is labelled as ‘ethical,’ it goes a step ahead and assures you of ingredients that are non-toxic as well as free from practices like animal testing, child labour and promise free trade.
Reference- The Better India, Economic Times, Wikipedia