Sustainable Living | Sep 18, 2018 2:08:46 PM
The meaning of eco-friendly directly translates to 'earth friendly' or not harmful to the environment. Eco-friendly is usually set as a descriptive term for goods and services that generate little to no environmental harm as a byproduct of their use.
It is a common misconception that eco-friendliness is a modern trend which has emerged over the last decade. However, the notion of 'being eco-friendly' actually first came to light in the 1960's. It has only integrated into our lives in recent years as we have developed a greater understanding of our environment and the simple things we can do to prevent permanent environmental damage.
The importance of eco-friendly products is echoed by an international cry to conserve energy, minimize our carbon footprint and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is no surprise as global sea levels have risen 7 centimeters alone in the last 25 years!
Are you advised to use eco-friendly products? Yes, using more eco-friendly products is a perfect way to start preventing the increase of dramatic global warming side effects from occurring.
To minimize production costs, some companies will intentionally use cheap toxic chemicals which could have adverse long-term health effects on consumers. eco-friendly products, on the other hand, prevent the use of toxic chemicals which benefits the consumers using them and the long-term health of our planet.
Let's start by answering some of the most common questions about eco-friendly lifestyle at home:
Also known as an environmentally friendly home, this type of house is sustainable and built to use energy, water, and building materials as strategically as possible.
Eco-friendly houses are built with natural materials that are free from toxic chemicals that can be damaging to your family and the surrounding environment. Water consumption and electricity use are less than when compared to traditional housing. Eco-friendly houses can be adapted to collect kinetic or solar energy through wind turbines and solar panels, making them self-sufficient.
Other eco-friendly building materials include hempcrete made from the hemp plant, bamboo, recycled plastic, and wood.
What is an eco-friendly piece of furniture for my bedroom? Believe it or not, we spend nearly one-third of our entire lives lying down on mattresses that contain an array of chemicals that don't help you sleep at night. For this reason alone, we are much better off using safer materials like organic cotton or organic wool to fill our king mattress with. The most important room in your home deserves modern eco-friendly furniture that benefits both you and the earth. Simple changes even down to using a current eco-friendly wallpaper, like papers made from managed forests or using natural materials can push you in the right direction to living a greener life.
Another simple environmentally friendly addition you can make to your bedroom is to fit carpet made from recycled plastic or natural, renewable fibers.
After washing machines and toilets, it's said that showers use the third highest amount of water in our homes. Listen up long shower users! If you're trying to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle at home and spending 20 minutes in the shower, then you may want to reconsider… Ok, so if it isn't 20 minutes, how long is an eco-friendly shower?
The average shower is estimated to take 8 minutes. If you can cut that shower time in half and use a low flow eco-friendly shower head instead, you can reduce your C02 emissions by over 70% and save thousands of gallons of water per year.
Don't forget shower curtains! Plastic shower curtains are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which are packed with harmful chemicals that you smell as soon as you take the curtain from its plastic packaging. If you're building a bathroom, be sure to consider a glass partition or wet room instead of a shower bath that requires a shower curtain.
Keeping with the eco-friendly shower trend, let's see what eco-friendly shampoo and conditioner there is to offer. Whether you're aware or not, shampoos and conditioners contain chemicals like parabens which successfully prevent bacteria growth in your hair when you wash, but are also heavily linked to the growth of breast cancer cells. Eco-friendly shampoo and conditioner avoid these chemicals by using natural oils, minerals, plant and herb extracts which stimulate hair follicles to promote new hair growth and maintain moisture.
Yes, yes there is. Dental experts say we should change our toothbrushes every four months. This means that over an 80-year lifespan, the average person will go through approximately 320 toothbrushes! Biodegradable toothbrush handles like bamboo is a popular choice for an eco-friendly toothbrush. Some companies will even go to lengths of using castor bean oil to fashion the bristles, as to reduce plastic content even further.
Toilets, we can't talk about the bathroom without mentioning toilets.
Generally, an eco-friendly toilet is referred to as a water efficient toilet. What makes this toilet highly efficient is its dual flush ability, which reduces water use by 20% or more per flush!
Where do we begin? They say the kitchen is the heart of the home, so why not treat it like the eco-friendly fortress it should be.
There is a debate as to whether or not a dishwasher is more economical than washing dishes by hand. This depends entirely on load size and the dishwasher model. But dishwashers use electricity?
Yes, when it comes to cost, hand washing doesn't use any electricity and is by far the cheaper option. It may be a little time to consume, but if you use as little water as possible, good old-fashioned scrubbing is always going to come out on top when washing dishes eco-friendly style.
Is there an eco-friendly washing up liquid one should use to accompany the task of hand washing dishes?
Well, the active ingredient in washing up liquid is a surfactant, which assists in tough grease removal. Surfactants can be made from petrochemical sources or vegetable oils like natural coconut oil. Petrochemical surfactants have been found to biodegrade much slower than natural oils, and are more earth damaging in relation to aquatic/air toxicity and global warming. So yes, the best eco-friendly cleaning products for washing dishes will use vegetable oils to create surfactants.
The best eco-friendly way to get rid of trash is separate the recyclables like glass, organic waste, plastic, and cardboard from the non recyclable waste. A suggestion would be several small recycling bins rather than one large trash can.
Unless you're willing to go waste-free, eco-friendly trash bags, which are entirely biodegradable are a fantastic solution to trash bags. This means from the minute they hit the dump; the bags begin decomposing due to a natural additive within the plastic.
We all have an image in our heads of a traditional mop (yes the one that resembles a shoddy wig). They always seem to get dirty so quickly, which makes them seem counterproductive and not to mention the length of time they take to dry.
Just like traditional mops, the best eco-friendly mops have limited reusability too, which are made from biodegradable, recycled fibers.
On the side of most mop detergent containers, you may notice they inform you to 'keep out of reach of children'. If you have a toddler, this will make you wonder why you would even consider using this product on a floor crawled on daily by your child.
This is when an eco-friendly mop solution comes in handy. The best alternative, create your mop solutions which can be made by merely mixing white vinegar, water, and lemon pure essential oils.
This starts with the types of pots and pans you use on a day to day basis. Be sure to avoid Perfluoroctanoic Acid (PFOA) and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) pans. These pans are used to create a non-stick effect on the pans, but also have been known to become absorbed by food when being used, which has been linked to causing health conditions like kidney and liver disease.
Eco-friendly pots and pans like stainless steel or cast iron are much better alternatives and won't release strange chemicals onto your food.
Finally, after cooking, we're faced with cleaning. A particularly hard object to clean effectively after heavy usage is an oven. As well as this, the oven cleaning products used usually contain toxic chemicals. Ideally, to avoid the side effects of using a traditional oven cleaner, one could use an oven cleaning product that uses ingredients which are non-toxic, biodegradable, and free of all suspected carcinogens.
How eco-friendly is your washing machine? It is said that some older washers can use from 150 to 170 litres of water per load and newer high-efficiency washers can 53 to 95 litres of water per load. The most eco-friendly type of washing machine is a portable hand powered washer. Completely electricity free and using up to 90% less water than older washers, it's an obvious choice for anyone looking to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle at home.
Another significant change that one should make to live a more eco-friendly life is to avoid using the dryer… at ALL costs.
Dryers use an extortionate amount of electricity, which isn't just bad for the environment, it's also incredibly damaging to your bank account. Dryers are also notorious for shrinking some of your favourite clothes!
So, still wondering how to wash clothes the most eco-friendly way possible?
This isn't necessarily the case. As outlined in parts of this article, cleaning products can be homemade which means non-eco friendly products in certain cases are more expensive. The main reason why green products at the retail level are slightly more expensive is that they avoid toxic chemicals which are used in non-eco friendly products to lower their products cost. We supply a vast selection of cleaning products to support an eco-friendly lifestyle, and they can be seen here.
Generally, all major retailers will supply eco-friendly items from fabrics to sunscreen to disposable plates.
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