All big companies are talking about ‘eco-friendly’ business practices these days. Many smaller ones are following these environmentally conscious strategies too! But, as consumers, how can you tell when something is actually ‘eco-friendly?’ And what does being eco-friendly actually involve?

In this article, we’ll discuss what eco-friendly means and how to avoid greenwashing in the name of eco-friendliness.

What is Eco-friendly?

an eco-friendly child holding a plant

The word ‘eco’ is originated from the Latin ‘oeco,’ meaning ‘household,’ ‘habitat,’ or ‘Earth.’ The term ‘eco-friendly’ means Earth-friendly in simpler terms. Cambridge Dictionary defines eco-friendly as anything that has little or zero damaging impact on the environment.

Businesses use the term ‘eco-friendly’ and other similar terms to convey that their products and services don’t harm environmental resources, like air, water, energy, and land. In some cases, these companies have less of a damaging impact than their competitors. These businesses usually engage in sustainable practices by being more efficient and using the latest technology during production.

The words ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’ are widely interchangeable, and are synonymous with ‘eco-friendly.’ Experts agree that companies use ‘green’ as a colloquial term to show eco-consciousness. In a study of 5,000 people, 65% think that ‘green’ is synonymous with eco-friendly.

‘Sustainable’ means something more. A sustainable company policy also focuses on cost friendliness and the societal benefits of its products and services in addition to environmental friendliness.

Eco-friendly vs. Greenwashing

While eco-friendly is good for Mother Nature and our future generation, greenwashing is not as good as they claim. Greenwashing is a deceptive claim that makes particular products or services of a company look environmentally friendly and sustainable. However, in reality, they’re not. Sometimes, companies take greenwashed marketing approaches to make their policies and goals look environment-friendly.

eco-friendly tablewares in a reusable bag

How do you say whether something is really eco-friendly or just greenwashing? Here are some tips to spot greenwashing:

  • The claim is too good to be true.
  • The certification is not from any renowned independent organization.
  • The claim is hard to double-check.
  • Dramatic wording, like natural, organic, eco & bio, without any factual data.
  • X% biodegradable- either a product is completely biodegradable within the lifetime of a human, or it’s not. Anything else? Hype.

How to Lead an Eco-friendly Life?

girl with an eco fruit bag

Here are some actionable tips for leading an eco-friendly life:

  • Minimize food waste by planned buying and proper storage.
  • Use eco-friendly transportation, like bicycles, skateboards, and hybrid vehicles.
  • Use eco-friendly products at home, like LED light bulbs, hempcrete, solar energy from solar panels, and more.
  • Reduce the use of single-use plastic.
  • Use as much recycled product as possible.

Going green is not only essential for minimizing our impact on the world around us; it’s also the best way to lead a sustainable life and ensure a better future for our upcoming generations.

What Exactly Does Eco-Friendly Mean?
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