Eco-friendly products: what are they and can they help save the planet?

Eco-Friendly Products That Are Actually Good For You and The Planet

What are eco-friendly products?

At a time when UK energy prices are going up and the effects of climate change are being felt more acutely around the world, many of us want to make the switch to going green to save energy, save money, and to save the planet. Small changes like switching to eco friendly products can help, but what exactly are they?

Eco-friendly products are ‘designed to have little or no damaging effect on the environment’, according to the Cambridge Dictionary. Traditionally eco friendly products are made with raw materials that have little to no damaging effects on the environment during the products life cycle.  There are many different types of eco friendly products ranging from cleaning products, beauty, fashion, lifestyle, and much more. Nearly everything these days has an eco friendly alternative.

Greenwashing: Why some "eco-friendly" products are not as good for the planet as they appear

Greenwashing is a common term used to describe a marketing tactic in which companies trick consumers into buying products that are mislabeled as eco friendly or sustainable, when in reality they are not. Due to lack of proper regulation behind this, companies can get away with things like false or irrelevant  claims as well as faking labels or being vague (like stating something is all natural).

These practices often have hidden agendas, and leaves the consumer unaware and in the dark about what's really going on and how these products are produced. Greenwashing contributes to unsustainable practices, climate change, carbon emissions, and environmental pollution and damage done to our air, water, and land.

How to make sure what you buy is genuinely good for the planet

It's easy for products to be advertised as "green". But how do you ensure that what you're buying is genuinely a green product and not Greenwashing?

One of the easiest ways to do this is to focus on the claims that the product itself is making whether it's on the physical product itself, the website, or advertisements made by the company.  Be on the lookout for trendy buzzwords such as all natural or derived from nature. It’s easy to make these claims but

For example palm oil is a natural ingredient, but it can be highly unsustainable. WWF explains that large scale conversion of tropical forests to oil palm plantations has a devastating impact on the plant and animal species. Not only that, tropical forests are “carbon sinks”; which means they are extremely effective at converting carbon dioxide into breathable oxygen and locking carbon into the trees. Chopping down a tropical forest is problematic in two key ways; firstly, it releases carbon back into the atmosphere at an incredibly rapid rate and secondly, the those felled trees can no longer absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide.  

As a side note, we feel this is such an important issue that we have started working with Tribe, a charity which buys and protects rain forests. For every purchase made on Counter Culture, Tribe will be able to protect 5 rain forest trees.

Palm oil can be grown sustainably but you need to check the label.

Checking the label is a Another way to do this is to check for specific certifications or labels like being a B Corporation. This means that the business is verified by a 3rd party and is meeting high standards and expectations, as well as being transparent and accountable. Some other labels to look out for include certification by Energy STAR, Forest Stewardship and the Soil Association.

Lastly, use common sense and do your own research on the product. If a product is wrapped in plastic packaging, flown halfway across the world, and is made by factory workers who aren't paid a living wage, is it really eco friendly and good for the planet?

Do eco-friendly products cost more?

It is true that eco-friendly products can cost more than less sustainable versions, but it's not always the case. Eco-friendly products tend to be designed to last longer - so on a cost per use they actually come out less expensive than single use products.

That said, it appears cost isn't an issue for most consumers - sustainability is. It seems like everyone is trying to do their part to reduce carbon emissions and their impact on the planet. In 2021, a survey of over 10,000 people from 17 nations found that sustainability is becoming more important than price when it comes to purchasing decisions. Looking at it from a generational perspective, older generations such as Baby Boomers and Gen X are less likely to purchase sustainable products, whereas Millenials are 32 percent more likely to choose a more eco-friendly alternative.

Sustainable companies are mindful of paying workers a livable wage to afford basic needs. Therefore, sustainable businesses have higher labor costs compared to larger companies who pay their workers as little as 11p an hour.

Getting rid of harsh chemicals and toxins in eco-friendly products is another reason why the cost is typically higher. Products with emitted toxins and harsh additives must meet a higher standard in order to be safe for human use. Natural cleaning products must be made from non-toxic materials, which cost more and explains the increase in price.

Can you buy eco-friendly beauty products?

Eco friendly beauty products are widely available! Sustainable beauty products are not only better for the environment, but they are also better for your health and skin as well. By switching to eco-friendly beauty products, you don’t have to worry about harsh chemicals or artificial fragrances because the products are made with natural safe ingredients that are healthier and more beneficial to your skin.

Eco friendly beauty products are also more cost effective than traditional beauty products because of different advertising costs. When you switch to buying an eco friendly beauty product, you are voting with your dollar to support more ethical values.

If you are wanting even more plant based and Vegan ingredients, we have Vegan beauty products as well like our Exfoliating Body Bar to help achieve smoother glowing skin. Shop our collection to find your perfect match so you can start feeling better from the inside out.


Other interesting eco-friendly products you need to know about?

As mentioned earlier there are a wide variety of eco friendly products, and there are some more interesting than others. Take for example the sanitary underwear from WUKA. They are made from earth friendly materials that are biodegradable, and the company has several accreditations including being carbon neutral. Now that's a sustainable period!

Beeswax food coverings are a great eco friendly and reusable alternative to plastic wrap. These are made from all natural materials, are easy to use, and can be used for pretty much anything you would normally use to cover your food with. Less plastic wrap in the ocean is always a plus.

Loofa dish sponges are a great biodegradable  eco friendly alternative and are as durable as a traditional dish sponge, all without plastic usage. Loofa is made from loofa plants, so you can even grow it in your garden!

Do as much as you can

Our motto is that we need millions of people doing something, however small or imperfect,  rather than a few doing everything perfectly.

As Kermit the Frog said, we know being green isn't easy- but we have to do as much as we can. It can be a little overwhelming trying to figure everything out all at once. Start small. At Counter Culture we encourage our community to #MakeJustOneSwitch , you don't need to change everything overnight. Just one product at a time and eventually it will become second nature.

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