How to Identify Eco-Friendly Products

You want to help the environment, but how do you identify "green" products outside a health food store? Here's how.

You will need

  • To be willing to spend a bit more

Step 1 Start with packaging Look for products with the least amount of packaging, and try to buy ones that indicate that they are packaged with ‘biodegradable’ or ‘recycled’ material.

Step 2 Know your chemicals Have a basic understanding of what chemicals are bad for the environment. Major no-no’s include nonylphenol ethoxylates (or NPEs, which are detrimental to aquatic life), phosphates, petroleum-based cleaners, and chlorine.

Step 3 Choose organic Anything labeled ‘organic’ is going to be eco-friendly. It’s probably going to cost more, too, but that’s the trade-off for a cleaner environment.

Step 4 Make the efficient choice When it comes to appliances or windows, look for the Energy Star label, which indicates that the product is energy efficient.

Step 5 Be PC with PVC Save some trees by looking for flooring and furniture made from a recycled plastic material called cellular PVC lumber.

Step 6 Buy recycled paper goods Look for ‘recycled’ when you buy tissues, paper towels, gift wrap, greeting cards, and computer paper.

Step 7 Look for bamboo Look for bamboo when buying everything from flooring to furniture to paper to clothing. It’s the fastest-growing plant on the planet, with some varieties growing four feet a day.