What is the Definition of Eco-Friendly?

Being Eco-friendly simply means going about our lives being mindful of the environment with our day to day choices and purchases.

The more the human population grows, the more food we must produce, the more clothing we need, the more land we must clear for housing and infrastructure, and the more resources we have to acquire such as oil, gas and coal. The list goes on, but these are the necessities humans ‘require’ to live healthy and long lives.

Unfortunately, due to our ‘necessities’, we are depleting its resources and contributing to significant impact on the earth’s healthy functioning

Therefore, the more we educate ourselves about how we can help our earth from human activities, the more we can invest in ways that favour environmental protection rather than exploiting it. In turn, our small but regular changes will improve our earth and help improve the lives of future generations as well as the animals we share this world with.

Where Do We Start?

If you are only just starting to grasp the idea of being Eco-friendly but want to know what it really means then you’ve come to the right place!

More Eco-friendly products are coming out to help us live these Eco-friendly lives. There are products that are made from sustainable materials, are reusable, plastic-free or biodegradable. The products and ideas have become endless!

However, we don’t always have to BUY products to live Eco-friendly lives, there are small things we can do every day that impact the world and influence those close to us to follow suit.  

The following list provides areas we can start to rethink before acting:

Clothing

Clothing is not usually the first thing you think of when you think environmentally harmful. But quite surprisingly, clothing made from Cotton or Polyester is very unsustainable throughout its life span, from farm to its disposal. To grow cotton, large amounts of water are needed, for example, it takes 290 gallons of water to make ONE t-shirt.

Furthermore, polyester clothing, the other most common type of clothing is very environmentally harmful as it is made from a synthetic petroleum-based fiber which means it is non-renewable and a very carbon-intensive resource to attain. In fact, 70 billion barrels are used each year to make polyester around the world. This is a scary fact, when you know that it takes 200 years to decompose!


Plastic

Plastic is an obvious one. Plastic is not biodegradable, so pretty much, every plastic that has ever been created, still exists today. That’s pretty scary especially considering how much plastic we create and use every single day.

Therefore, being able to avoid plastic and use reusable items instead such as swapping a Plastic Bottle for a Reusable Bottle, or using a Reusable Bag instead of using Single-Use Plastic Bags is a great way to avoid plastic use daily!

There are plenty of plastic alternative products found here at The Earth Co. if you want to check them out below!

Meat

I know, I know, I am sure this is the last thing you want to hear but unfortunately it is true. Animal Agriculture is a very environmentally harmful process. From their contribution to high deforestation levels to their water usage and greenhouse gas emissions being significantly high, animal agriculture is a problem. It is especially concerning when we are eating so much of it as well as having the population increasing and demanding more!

Beef is at the forefront of all meat and requires the most water, land and release themost GHG emissions into the atmosphere.

Below is a graph showing this distinction and a clear message that we should avoid red meat and choose white meat or go vegetarian or vegan which is becoming increasingly popular due to environmental reasons among others. 

Palm Oil

This is likely something you have heard about being ‘bad’ but do not necessary know why, well that was me. Palm oil is crucial to avoid to begin an eco-friendly life because it is responsible for an immense amount of deforestation every single day.

Palm oil is used in almost half of our everyday supermarket products so it is important to read food labels before purchasing. They can be found in frozen pizzas, biscuits, margarine, as well as body creams, soaps, candles and detergents.

Many species that rely on these forests are becoming increasingly at risk to extinction, such as the Borneo Orangutan, Siberian Tiger, and the Borneo Elephant.

What is also surprising to me is that half of the palm oil harvested is used for bio fuel! This is distressing because palm oil based bio fuel’s have three times the climate impact than that of traditional fossil fuels.

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Paper

Paper is an easy one! Paper is made from trees so avoid it when you can! This has never been easier as well due to our technological age with emails being sent instead of letters or reports made over and used over the computer instead of being needed to be printed! There is also the Kindle that has made it possible for us to read many books on one screen, saving tens of thousands of paper from being used. Therefore, avoid paper where you can, a tip would be to call up companies that send you letters and ask to be sent as an email instead if the option is available.

Paper and Palm Oil means more deforestation resulting in habitat loss and the increased risk of endangered species becoming extinct.

Water

We take water for granted a lot of the time, thinking there is just an endless supply. But this is not the case, we need to be careful with water as it is not infinite. Some ways to be careful with our water use is:

  • Take shorter showers, we all have to admit we take more time then we need to in there
  • Use water saving options when they are available, washing machines are an example
  • If you are buying a new toilet or appliance that uses water, pick the most water efficient
  • Choose shower heads that use less pressure and therefore use less water per second 

Energy

Energy-use is an obvious one but is something we all take for granted regularly. Energy comes from fossil fuels, (unless you have solar panels then go you!) but otherwise, a lot of our energy comes from the harmful energy extraction of burning natural gases and fossil fuels. Bear this in mind when you leave the television on when you’re not watching it or using the clothes dryer instead of the clothesline when you don’t need to.

Making these small changes or simply thinking about your energy usage is Eco-friendly living. It is about being conscious of your usage and making small and daily choices to reduce your use. It’ll save you money too!

Another tip is to buy energy appliances such as a Washing Machine or a Dryer that have a high energy star rating which ensures it will be using the least amount of energy per use.

Composting

According to Food Wise, Australians discard up to 20% of the food they purchase. By getting yourself a compost bin, any scraps you have can be turned into compost for your garden!

You can also pick up eco-tips to avoid food waste in the first instance, such as chopping up your vegetables and putting them in containers ready for use! You can also use the food scraps to create new and creative meals that you havnt tried before. 

Recycling

Recycling is something we have all heard about and have the facilities to use. But what is concerning is that a lot of us don’t know how to recycle properly. Yep, that’s right. There is a wrong and right way to recycle. Sometimes we think we can recycle about almost anything! My family has tried to put all sorts of things in the recycling bin and what is concerning about this is that it does affect the recycling process. In fact, if you don’t recycle properly, you can be responsible for the whole bin being sent straight to landfill due to contamination.

Here are some tips to look out for when recycling:

  • You can Recycle glass, cardboard, some plastic, paper, steel (tin) and aluminium cans and empty aerosols.
  • Look for the Recycling sign, anything that is recyclable will most likely have the recycle sign on it, if it doesn’t it is best you put it in the ordinary bin unless it is paper or cardboard, then it always goes into the recycling bin
  • Wash out your Recyclables, if there is food waste still in the product you want to throw out, be sure to rinse it out as this will be regarded as contamination and affect the recycling process.
  • Some plastic is Recyclable! Again, look for the Recycling sign, it is usually quite hard to see but it usually at the bottom of the bottle or container.
  • Disposing Electrical Items Properly instead of chucking it in the regular bin which goes straight to landfill! Technology is a tough one, but there are places and/or services that offer technology recycle facilities. In fact, check out this website: Recycling Electrical Items for more information about what electrical items are Recyclable and where to go to Recycle them. 

Your a Champ Every Step of the Way

Being Eco-friendly doesn’t mean you have to do EVERYTHING all the time, but is a process. We can’t expect to be perfect especially when we have grown up in a society that has processes that make it easy for us be wasteful. Instead, do the best you can, even having the awareness about what you can do to help the environment can bring about change. Every decision you make is contributing to positive change! 

Be the Change You Wish To See In the World

Mahatma Gandi

Yours Truly,

Danielle Packer

Founder of The Earth Co.

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