You Should Know Before You Shop Green



You Should Know Before You Shop Green

Going green always starts with good intentions, but the massive amount of green terms can sometimes be overwhelming. Here’s some of the common green terms you’ll hear and what they mean.

Organic
The term organic can often be used very broadly, but typically refers to products that have only organic components, produced without pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, or fertilizers or other harmful chemicals.
Look for: USDA Certified Organic

Sustainable
Products or materials that are described as being sustainable contain materials that do not deplete the Earth of its resources and is easily replenished. There are many common types of materials that are considered sustainable:

Bamboo – Bamboo is a fast-growing and renewable resource that can be used to make fabrics, flooring, furniture and other products.

Jute – Jute is a long and shiny vegetable plant fiber that can be woven into a strong thread or twine. It is commonly used to create cloth or used within carpets, and rugs.

Hemp – Hemp is a fast-growing plant that is most commonly used for its strong fibers to create cloth used in bags and clothing. It can grow organically and also be used to create oils for cosmetic products as well as be used in food.

Sustainable Wool – There are many types of sustainable animal wools such as alpaca fibers or merino wool that can be used to create strong fibers commonly used in clothing.

Energy-Efficient
Products that are energy-efficient are design to consume less energy when operating without sacrificing performance, reducing long-term environmental and cost impacts. Energy-efficient products can range from appliances to light bulbs as well as contain different levels of efficiency.
Look for: Energy Star Qualified, EPEAT Rated

Post-Consumer Recycled
Once a product has completely served its purpose, what remains are post-consumer materials that would otherwise be disposed as waste but are instead recycled. This would include products such as old packaging, glass bottles, aluminum cans, and plastics. When you recycle from your home these products become post-consumer recycled.

How is this different vs recycled? Regular recycled materials can contain a combination of materials, often coming a scraps or other by-products as a result of manufacturing. This could include both pre-consumer and post-consumer waste.

Recyclable
A recyclable product means that it can be recycled and be used to create future products. Polypropylene #5 is a common plastic to look for in products which is one of the most easily recyclable plastics.
Look for: Polypropylene #5

Reusable
Reusable products mean that a product can be used multiple times before the product is discarded or recycled. Some common reusable products are shopping bags, water bottles and tableware.

Fair Trade
Fair Trade is a social movement that promotes certain standards of sustainability practices and empowering producers in developing nations. Fair trade supports fair prices, fair labor conditions, community development and environmental sustainability.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
VOCs are organic chemical compounds that have high vapor pressure and easily evaporate at room temperature. VOCs can be released from many household items such as paints, flooring, upholstery, and cleaners. These VOCs are not only air pollutants but have also been known to cause health effects as well.
Look for: Low-VOC, Zero-VOC

Bisphenol A (BPA)
BPA is an organic compound that is used in the creation of many plastics and resins. Most commonly you will find BPA used polycarbonate bottles. While there is some controversy about the effects of BPA, some research has raised serious health concerns about the usage of BPA.
Look for: BPA-free

Biodegradable
Biodegradable means that a substance can be naturally decomposed by biological processes. If a product is biodegradable, this means that it can be disposed of with no negative environmental impacts.

Solar-Powered
Solar powered products are powered using energy from the sun. Solar power can be used in a range of products from small household gadgets to entire home heating systems.

Now you’re ready to start shopping for green products!

To learn about more about shopping for green products, please visit the All Green Store.

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