Definition of "What does eco-friendly mean?"

Ron Gozza real estate agent

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Ron Gozzaelite badge icon

Premier Brokers International Inc

You might have come across this term more often over the last few years when you shop. With environmental awareness on the rise in today’s society, it might become confusing to understand its true meaning. Words like “eco-friendly”, “environmentally friendly” and “green” appear lately on foods we buy or clothes we wear, but what does it actually mean?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary kindly defined “eco-friendly”, and it stands as something that is not environmentally harmful. We understand if that doesn’t clear it up or creates even more confusion. The term itself is easy to understand, but how can an everyday consumer determine what is and isn’t harmful to the environment?

We should have a more comprehensive explanation before we start throwing terms like this or “sustainable” around. Understanding these terms is necessary if you want to live an environmentally friendly lifestyle.

Defining “Eco-friendly”

The word eco-friendly comprises the word-forming element “eco” abstracted from ecology, which refers to man’s relation to the environment and “friendly”. Together they stand for a friendly, beneficial, or, at the very least, not harmful relationship between man and nature. 

The most common use of the word is in relation to products or practices that do not harm the environment. An eco-friendly product considers the impact it has, from raw materials to end consumer, on the environment by limiting its carbon footprint as much as possible. Eco-friendly products and practices prevent air, water, and soil pollution by using the lowest amounts, if any, of chemicals in their manufacturing processes. They are designed to cause little or no damage to the environment. In other words, the term “eco-friendly” strives not to harm the planet. 

When we consider any product through the eco-friendly prism, we look at everything from how the product is made to how it gets to the end consumer and how much the end consumer uses it. If any part of these processes causes harm to the planet, then we can not say that the product is 100% eco-friendly. 

How to apply Eco-Friendly to Our Modern Lifestyle?

We are all creatures of comfort, meaning that we are used to a certain amount of comfort in our lives. After a careful analysis, it’s easy to say how our modern lifestyle harms the environment in which we live. Those considering implementing an eco-friendly lifestyle might be held back by the belief that they would need to do a complete 180-degree turn, but more often than not, these changes are much simpler than feared. Everyone can implement the following eco-friendly choices, and anyone can see their benefits.

  • Practice the 5 R’s - refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and rot. Refuse products you don’t need. Reduce consumption and waste by buying only what you need. Reuse materials, items, and products to their full potential or donate, gift, and share them with someone else that might find use in them. Recycle everything that you no longer need daily. Rot food waste in your household or take it somewhere else to compost.

Did you know that your indoor plants love compost more than anything else you can find at the plant store? You already have it in your home, so just compost it and layer it in every pot.

  • Say no to Plastic - nowadays, there are many eco-friendly and naturally sourced alternatives that you can use. Single-use plastic should be taken out of circulation entirely and replaced with textile bags, metal or glass containers, metal or glass glasses, straws, utensils, etc.

Did you know that Teflon is a known cancerogenic and accumulates in your body without decomposing or being eliminated? Non-stick pans, take-away containers (for coffee or food), and water-proof cosmetics are just some examples of products that contain them and can not be recycled.

  • Purchase eco-friendly products - there are alternatives available from clothing brands to the products we use to care for our children.

Did you know that organic cotton uses 91% less water to produce than plain cotton? On the other hand, when compared to hemp, for every 5 gallons of water used to grow hemp, cotton uses 20 with the added pesticides that hemp doesn’t need. Also, bamboo might be eco-friendly in its raw form, but bamboo fibers use chemicals and toxins to become flexible enough, meaning that bamboo is only green in its initial form.

  • Conserve energy - use energy-efficient products with the EnergyStar label and switch to LED bulbs.

Did you know that anything you can turn off when not in active use should be taken out of the socket? Otherwise, those products still use energy even when not in use. Here we can look at phone chargers, electric toothbrushes, toasters, coffee machines, or really anything electric in your home that is used only for a short time.

  • Buy local - If a Farmer’s Market trip isn’t too far away from you, do your shopping there when possible. Farmer’s Markets in the US provide a platform for local farmers to sell their local produce to local buyers. The carbon footprint of these products is far lower than those from the grocery stores as they don’t come from across the country, pond, or globe; they come from your local farmer.

Did you know that homegrown vegetables will make your food taste better, your garden more beautiful, and your lifestyle healthier as you’ll have to maintain and manage your garden through physical labor?


The benefits of eco-friendly living include physical and mental health, financial gain, a clutterless home, and a healthier environment. While the big goal, the end purpose of the environmental awareness movement, is to save the planet, that goal is too big for one person, so thinking of the things surrounding you, your lifestyle, your choices brings the fight closer to everyone. 

The fight for the greater good starts with each individual’s decision to improve their life. It is up to you and what you choose. We just gave you a more in debt definition with examples to help you understand exactly how eco-friendly translates to your life.

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