Sunday, January 1, 2012

Living Green in the New Year: Eco-friendly Products

It seems that some people find that being eco-conscious takes too much effort and therefore won't even bother. However, living a green lifestyle is so much easier than people think; all it takes is a choice. A choice to throw a bottle in a different bin instead of the trashcan, a choice to buy a different brand of soap, a choice to take shorter showers, a choice. Some might think that it's probably easier said than done, but it's really not.

I suppose another reason some find living a green lifestyle out of reach is because they don't know just how easy it is and what they could do to start. I've been recycling since high school. I've also been using reusable bags for years, long before it became such a fad. I donate clothes, household items, and toys to charity instead of throwing them away. As a child, we were taught to turn off lights in rooms that were not being used and to turn off the water while soaping our hands or brushing our teeth. It doesn't take much to live a green lifestyle, little things do add up.

Today, more and more companies are helping consumers live a green lifestyle. There are so many great companies and products out there that it can be a little overwhelming to know which company is truly eco-conscious or just jumping on the bandwagon for a profit. I wish I knew how to tell too. But, choosing an eco-friendly product over a conventional one is a great way to start living a green lifestyle. Products can be eco-friendly in a variety of ways. Products can be made from renewable raw materials (i.e. plant surfactants) or materials that are better for the environment (think organic). They can also be manufactured using technology that minimizes depletion of natural resource or production of byproducts harmful to the environment and human health. Some products are manufactured and distributed locally to save on fuel (farmer's markets anyone?).
Image from PD Photo.
Another way a product is eco-friendly is it's ability to be reused. If you've been following this blog for a while, you know I love reusable bags. I've already reviewed a few reusable snack and sandwich bags as well as shopping bags, and I still have more to come (yay!). Reusable products minimize cost to the consumer, waste in landfills, and litter on the streets. Lunch accessories (lunch box, snack bag, sandwich wrap, beverage container, glass straw) and household items (cloth napkins, cloth cleaner, wool dryer balls) are just a few examples of everyday products that people can use to live a green lifestyle.

Recyclable products are eco-friendly. I am fortunate to live in a city that provides recycling pickup along with our trash. We can dispose of consumable materials in the green bin, from paper to plastic and everything in between, providing they meet the criteria. Plastics with the recycle sign and SPI Resin Identification Code 1-7 are fair game. We also take some recyclables to recycling centers for disposal. In California, we are charged a minimum of $.05 per recyclable beverage container at the store during purchase, called CRV. Consumers see a portion of that money back when they recycle the containers.
Image from CalRecycle.
Over the next 2 weeks, I will be publishing sponsor spotlights in preparation for the Green Resolutions Giveaway Hop set to start on January 16. This blog event is a great way to introduce some to companies and products that can help them live a greener, more eco-friendly lifestyle. I hope you can join me and the 30+ bloggers who are participating in this event.

There are also other ways to live a green lifestyle in addition to using eco-friendly products. I will continue to publish posts that will hopefully encourage more people to take baby steps in being more eco-conscious.

What are your favorite eco-friendly products?

Disclaimer: I was not financially compensated for this post. The opinions expressed in this post are solely mine.