What does it mean to be eco-friendly?

In the past few years, the term “eco-friendly” has become a buzzword, on print advertisements, TV commercials and variety shows. Lately, this word has been utilised for many products, services and corporate practices. Is being “eco-friendly” losing its vital significance?

The concept behind “eco-friendly” is to live with the intent and purpose of conserving resources while reducing the contribution of harm to the environment (e.g. pollution, global warming) through our interactions with it. This involves being conscious of how we use resources through engaging in eco-friendly practices, creating more sustainable relationships between ourselves and our natural environment.

How to become eco-friendly?

The very first step is to change our existing pattern of consumption. This entails transforming our habits like how we dispose of waste materials, how much packaging we use because of our shopping, whether we often drive as compared with taking public transport or opting for carpooling.

The second step examines the degree of our carbon footprint that we have little or no control over due to our living circumstances, such as the type of employment we have, living in an apartment versus a house, and channeling our actions with the responsibility to minimise the carbon footprint to our utmost best.

The last step involves proactively pursuing connections with other eco-friendly individual, businesses and communities, choosing and creating social networks that support and encourage our own efforts. This step, by far, is probably the most difficult – to live in and support a sustainable economy where we may not have many of the conveniences that we are accustomed to, can be a personal challenge to face.

5 steps to become more eco-friendly

1. 3Rs of Waste Hierarchy

The 3Rs of Waste Hierarchy can improve the entire waste management process. For example, taking a quick shower instead of a long bath (Reducing water wastage); using water that is left over from floor cleaning to water plants (Reuse); purifying rainwater for human consumption (recycle). In general, reduce what is manufactured and consumed to lessen the quantity of waste generated; reuse items for different purposes rather than discard them instantaneously; recycle items like paper, metals, glass and plastic, which can be reconditioned into new, functional objects.

Regarding recycling, we can also be more environmentally responsible by looking out for the recycling symbol when we do our shopping. Small, conscious steps like carrying a grocery bag instead of plastic bags go a long way in controlling the amount of waste that we create.

2. Conserve Energy

Besides water, electricity also constitutes our daily energy consumption. Simple routines like switching off the lights when they are not in use, proper wiring insulation to prevent unnecessary current loss, maximising our use of daylight, purchasing energy-efficient lighting equipment and gadgets, go a long way in conserving energy.

3. Find Alternatives to Driving

To reduce our carbon footprint and save fuel, consider taking public transport for commuting or pool with family members, friends and colleagues. If we have time to spare and the destination which we need to get to is not too far away, walking on foot or riding a bicycle is definitely the most eco-friendly approach.

4. Purchase Locally Grown Products

When we produce or purchase locally grown products, we are reducing our carbon footprint in the form of using less packaging and plastic bags, and reducing the dependence on industrial farming, which can be detrimental to the environment with the pollution it causes. Also, when we shop at farmers’ markets that retail organic fruits, vegetables and meat, we are also getting more nutritious and wholesome meals for ourselves, not just helping the environment.

The concept of thinking locally does not apply to food only. When we purchase locally-manufactured green products like toys, furniture or leather goods, we are putting money back into our own community and helping homegrown brands fulfil their eco-friendly practices. For business owners going the eco-friendly route, it means being conscious of the waste products that our business can potentially create and the manner in which resources are used – for example, using packaging materials or conducting advertising that reduces any adverse impact on the environment.

5. Engage in Gardening

Deforestation on a massive scale has reduced the Earth’s forested area significantly, leading to adverse consequences like soil erosion, loss of natural habits for millions of forest species and threatening their existence, desertification, global warming. On an individual level, we can do our part by gardening – our way of “reforestation” – as going green. One immediate way we can make an impact is to start doing so right in our own garden or backyard. We can also volunteer with local green projects or get involved in recycling programs, as part of our sustainability efforts.

bio-home advocates the eco-friendly movement with our product range designed to help create a more sustainable environment for its customers. Find out more here.