eco Friendly



eco Friendly

Eco-friendly, environmentally friendly and nature friendly are synonyms used to refer to goods and services considered to inflict minimal harm on the environment.

However, these terms are not regulated so you need to look past the label to be sure what you are getting. Organic fertilizer is a good example. In many locals, by law, an "organic" fertilizer only needs to contain 15% organic material... the rest, 85% can be synthetic fertilizers. By the way, a good organic fertilizer will contain only plant and mineral materials, such as Alfalfa and Corn Gluten. While Hen Manure, Human Waste and Animal Renderings can be considered organic, they can contain trace amounts of Heavy Metals, Bio Stimulants, Pathogens and Salts. Some additional terms:



There's a lot of "greenwashing" going on, since businesses have realized that green sells! EcoLogo is North America's oldest and most respected stamp of environmental approval. Launched in 1988, it sets standards and certifies genuinely green products in more than 120 categories. See our section on EcoLogo.

6 Sins of Greenwashing

  1. Hidden Trade Off - product focuses on only 1 or 2 environmental areas, ignoring others that may be even more important.
  2. No Proof - product offers no evidence for it's claim.
  3. Vagueness - when you really think about it, what does a claim of "environmental-friendly" really mean??? Does the product provide details of all aspects - production, packaging, disposal.
  4. Irrelevance - are the product claims true of all products in that category. Does it claim to not contain something that no product in that field ever contained? CFC's were banned 30 years ago, so it MUST be CFC free by law...
  5. Fibbing - can the manufacturer back up certified organic or green claims? Are they listed on the website of the certification group?
  6. Sin of Lesser of 2 Evils - tries to make you feel "green" about a questionable product field. Is organic tobacco for example, really a green product?

Fair Trade

This certification indicates that producers & workers receive a fair price for their goods and the production process considers social, economic and environmental factors. It requires annual inspections, fees, and filings. Fair Trade certification is controlled by fairtrade Labeling Organizations International and it's USA arm, Transfair USA.



This certification uses a process similar to fair-trade but focuses on food production methods, not price or labour specifications.The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements provides an umbrella organization and voluntary agreement on organic basics.

Shade-Grown (coffee)

While organic and fair-trade are organized and widespread eco-labels, shade-grown certification is a bit less formalized at this point. The Rainforest Alliance offers third party labels that verify the maintenance of diverse forest on coffee plantations.

Quick Eco Tips

  1. Q. Should I use paper or plastic? A. They are both the same. Best solution, bring your own cloth bag.
  2. Q. Is it ok to use a dishwasher? A. If it's an efficient model and full, Yes.
  3. Q. Is it better to leave the car running, or turn off and restart? A. If you must use a car, then turn it off when not needed and restart.
  4. Q. Which plastics ar OK? A. We don't like any plastics, but always avoid #3.
  5. Q. Are CFL's ok? What about the mercury? A. Install the CFL's! The small amount of mercury, less than in a watch battery, can be easily handled by a hazardous waste facility at the end of their long life.

We'll take a look at some of the more common items you use on a regular basis, to see what Eco-friendly alternatives are available.

Under eco Friendly Cleaners, you'll find instructions on how to make your own laundry cleaner, soft scrub, floor cleaner, furniture polish, window cleaner, air freshener, dish soap, all purpose cleaner and drain cleaner.

Under Lighting, we look at channeling daylight into your home, compact fluorescent lighting (CFL), LEDs, and dimmers and motion sensors.

The eco Friendly Household, walks you through the individual rooms in your house and talks about the items you'll find in each such as the fridge, oven, dishwasher and plastic wrap found in the Kitchen.

Please feel free to drop us a line (feedback), and tell us about a particular item that you've come across that really works well. We're always looking to expand our lists!


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