Biodegradable, compostable, recycled, eco, environmentally friendly, green….the list goes on. When it comes to eco labels there are a lot of buzz words that companies use to describe their products, so what should we be looking for when considering a product that’s labelled this way?
Avoid vague claims
Words like ‘eco’, ‘green’ and ‘earth-friendly’, while well-meaning, don’t always have a huge amount of credibility. Unless a product is verified and certified by an approved organisation then don’t assume that every buzzword used to describe it is fact.
A perfect example of this, is this 'eco friendly' image used for packaging. It does not tell you anything about where the material is made from or how to dispose of it, it's misleading.
Look for specifics
Concrete claims on products are best to look out for. ‘Made from 100% recycled materials’ as apposed to just ‘Made from recycled materials’. This gives a better indication of product specifications, and how much of a product is made with sustainability in mind. Similarly, watch out for timelines within product descriptions. For example if a product is described as ‘biodegradable’; in theory most products out there will biodegrade eventually, but it’s better if a product specification notes that the product biodegrades within a certain timeframe.
These are image stamps that are often used in product descriptions, such as Natural/Renewably sourced/Eco-friendly etc. These labels can easily be made up by companies looking to catch a customers eye by using buzzwords. For a product to have a certified label it must are approved by organisations who work with manufacturers to check credibility, such as The Leaping Bunny or Fair Trade.
When vague labels like 'eco' are used, you should check these claims by looking out for certifications and standards for the product, this will give you proper information on a products specifications.
There is also a question around sustainable products to look at who you are buying from. It's always wise to look at the company you choose to buy from. Do they off set their carbon footprint, give charity donations or are they paying their employees a good living wage. By Choosing companies that withhold ethic you agree with, you will love your products even more as you know they have come to you in the best way possible and you have supported one of the good guys!
To Round It Up
It can be a little confusing to understand the sustainability of the products you use and buy when they are described in varying ways. They might on the surface look to be better for the environment, but actually don’t hold up to this claim when you look closer at their true specifications. As we are all working to live more sustainably, we recommend that if you’re trying to shop more ethically, always try and do a little research into where your products come from and how they are produced.