By Esme Bourne|
March 10, 2022|
6 mins read
The term “eco-friendly” gets thrown around a lot. From clothing tags and labels to produce and beauty, the use of “eco-friendly” is a phrase consumers are seeing more often. The rise of sustainable credentials is a movement we can all get behind, but when out shopping it can sometimes feel confusing on what all this jargon really means, making it easier for products to mislead us. When reducing our impact on the planet has never been more important, it’s time to discover what being eco-friendly means to you.
So what is the definition of “eco-friendly”?
It is defined by Merriam-Webster as “not environmentally harmful”. In the world of consumerism, this means anything from product packaging, sourcing materials and ingredients, yet this wide scope allows companies to easily greenwash consumers. The FTC Green Guides suggest that for a product to be labelled as “eco-friendly” the packaging must explain why it’s responsible. Understanding what the term means is the best way to help implement sustainable actions into our lives. Whether we are buying reusable food wraps or the latest lipstick, knowing our labels and certificates is a powerful way to ensure our principles aren’t taken advantage of.
It can feel overwhelming where to begin when starting your eco-friendly journey. When immediate action must be taken to ensure a healthy planet for all, it’s no wonder we are all a little daunted on where to begin and who to trust. Taking mindful steps in reducing our carbon footprint is a great place to start. At Wearth we are devoted to conscious living, how big or small your actions, we believe progress over perfection. Small steps can create positive impacts, and getting to know not only your values but your terms can help ensure your actions are making a difference.
As terms are carelessly thrown around it’s good to note that not all labels mean the same. Eco-friendly and sustainability mean different things. Eco-friendly signifies a product does not harm the environment, whereas sustainability suggests that a product doesn’t deplete the natural resources for future generations to come. Sustainability has three principles, people, planet and profit. The idea is that reducing or reversing any environmental impact should come before profit to ensure long term sustainability.
Getting to know the correct terminology and where your values stand is a great way to prevent falling for greenwashing traps and where to begin on your eco-conscious journey. Here is our roundup of what an eco-friendly lifestyle means to us in our everyday lives.
In the world of fashion
From the clothing rails to the catwalks, fashion has an impact. From raw materials, manufacturing to stores, the world of fashion has a large carbon footprint. Our addiction to disposable clothing is causing negative impacts on the safety of workers and our planet. The equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is burned or landfilled every second, and in the UK around 300,000 tonnes of clothes are burned or buried in landfills every year. It’s predicted by 2050 fashion will account for a quarter of the world’s carbon budget.
It’s no wonder then that consumers and businesses are wanting to take mindful action and ensure the fashion industry becomes a more conscious place for all. Understanding certificates, materials and standards that are trustworthy and reliable is a great place to start when seeking authentic conscious clothing. When browsing the rails looks out for terms such as:
- Global Organic Textiles Standard (GOTS)
- Fairtrade Certified Cotton
- Better Cotton Initiative
- Oeko-Tex 100
- Ethical Trading Initiative
These certificates and standards help ensure your shopping baskets are as sustainable as possible and keep a watch for more to come in the future of fashion.
Keeping an eye on the standards of clothing you buy is not the only way to support responsible shopping. There are many ways to shop ethically and mindfully. Whether that’s cherishing the clothes already in your wardrobe, renting or buying second-hand treasures, the fashion scene is abundant in eco-friendly practices. At Wearth we support any small steps to help make your wardrobe as sustainable as possible. Choosing to support independent, eco-friendly brands is another great idea to help reshape your wardrobe.
We stock beautifully ethical brands that are making their mark on the sustainable fashion scene. Brands such as KOHR, Morcant or Stidston Studio who focus on sustainable and ethical practices are inspiring stories that bring hope back into the world of fashion. You can check out our blog post here for our roundup of the best sustainable fashion brands. Championing ethical and eco-conscious brands with meaning is the future of retail.
Finding our next travelling adventure
As beaches and nature reserves received a well-deserved rest bite from overcrowding while the tourists kept away during the pandemic, nature had time to recover. It’s no wonder, after our time in lockdown, we are seeking a change of scenery, but this can come with some negative impacts on the environment. Tourism can put a lot of stress on areas and can lead to habitat loss, increased pollution and waste. By 2030 it’s predicted that there will be 1.8 billion tourist arrivals compared to the 25 million in 1950. With so many of us packing up and exploring the world, the tourism industry contributes to more than 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. From flying to plastic waste, our holiday habits can be harmful to the planet, and we hope the new year brings a new future for tourism. So how can we travel sustainably?
Becoming aware of your impact is a great place to start. At Wearth we understand the need to find a mindful moment in nature, explore new cultures or visit friends and family but we can take small steps to help reduce our impact as much as possible.
Whether you are visiting nature reserves, museums or finding a vegan café in the city, whatever your break looks like ensuring the only footprints left behind are the ones on the sandy beach is important for your next trip away. Whether that’s swapping the short-haul flight for a train or bus or volunteering for beach clean-ups, there are many ways to help reduce the impact of our holidays.
- Choose destinations that promote sustainability. Supporting eco-friendly initiatives help focus tourism on sustainability and guide other places to take note.
- Consider the method of travel, can you swap the flight for public transport?
- Look into carbon offsetting your emissions.
- Book eco-friendly accommodations.
- Support local businesses
- Reduce your food and plastic waste
- Volunteer at a charity or organisation to help leave a place better than you found it.
Not only mindful swaps can help reduce your impact while travelling, looking out for the correct terminology also helps ensure a more eco-conscious trip away. Certificates and labels such as the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, EU Ecolabel, Green Label, B-Corporation, the Green Tourism business scheme and many more, all help ensure a regulated and mindful industry.
Of course, our holiday trips are not the only travelling impact to keep in check. Our day to day movements can make a difference. Offering a car share scheme, swapping the car entirely for public transport or joining a cycle to work scheme can help reduce your carbon footprint.
Never before have we spent so much time in our homes, bedrooms became offices, dining tables became schools, and living rooms became cinemas. Yet while we spent so much time at home, we can often overlook how are homes play a part in climate change. 40% of UK emissions come from our households. From food waste to electricity, our homes can be the perfect place to begin your eco-friendly journey. Taking informed decisions can help reduce our impact on the planet. Here are some simple swaps to help make your homes a haven of sustainability.
- Swapping your heating to more sustainable alternatives can help drastically reduce your emissions. You can use heating controls to help monitor your consumption or install a renewable heating system.
- Insulating your homes can help keep the warmth in, reducing the need for heating.
- Use energy-efficient appliances and bulbs.
- Reduce, reuse, recycle.
- Create a haven for wildlife in your garden. Forget the manicured lawns, giving space to wildflowers can help nature thrive.
- Choose renewable energy providers.
- Switching off lights or appliances when not needed.
Understanding where our biggest carbon footprint lies is the best place to start when wishing to reduce your impact. Ensuring your homes are as sustainable as possible has never been more important. Taking the time to switch to energy-efficient bulbs or turning down the heating when you can are all great ways that can make a difference.
Food for thought
Although at Wearth we champion vegan living, we understand it might not be accessible to everyone all the time. Reducing any amount of meat consumption can create real change. A report found that in 2018, the meat and dairy industry uses around 83% of farmland and produces 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing meat, even just once a week can reduce your overall environmental impact. Meatless Monday reports that missing one serving of beef every Monday for a year saves the equivalent emissions to driving 348 miles in a car.
As consumers, we have more power than we think to help drive positive change. Whether that’s choosing groceries free from plastic packaging, buying organically or locally are ways to ensure your weekly shopping is as green as can be. Supporting independent businesses or markets and buying fresh, local and seasonal food helps reduce the food miles of your products and supports the local economy. When shopping in your local supermarket, choose loose fruit and veg and products with the least plastic packaging. Even swapping from multi-pack crisps to single share packets helps eliminate some plastic waste from your basket. Reducing your meat and fish consumption whenever possible will also help reduce your carbon footprint.
Once responsibly brought, ensure you reduce your food waste. 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted across the globe, and once in landfills food can produce methane gas which accelerates climate change. Making mindful choices on how and what we consume is the positive step forward to help shift the climate change narrative. Looking out for certificates such as FairTrade, Organic Seals, Rainforest Alliance, Naturland Fair and GEPA to name a few, are ways to help you shop sustainably.
Every small step helps ensure a more positive relationship with our planet and helps steer climate action on the right path. Now more than ever, it’s important to find out what eco-friendly really means to you and how we can act on it together. Whether it’s cherishing the clothes you already have, switching to renewable energy suppliers, or going vegan, small actions make big difference.
At Wearth, we believe in progress over perfection and understand that any small step to become more eco-friendly moves us forward in the right direction. At Wearth we take a human approach to sustainability, and we champion sustainable and ethical brands. Check out our range of products for the perfect eco-conscious alternatives.