Eco-friendly products - What does it all mean?
Eco-friendly products are “products that do not harm the environment whether in their production, use or disposal”. In other words, these products help preserve the environment by significantly reducing the pollution they could produce. This is the definition given by the website all-recycling-facts.com.
There is a misconception that it takes a lot of effort and money to make a home eco-friendly. The truth is that there are lot of eco-products that you can start using right now which can help you to reduce waste and make this planet a better place to live.
We've make it simple for our parent and eco-hero audience to decide what’s important to you by categorizing the products available on The Parent Diary based 6 simple definitions. This also forms the basis of our Eco-Quality features and seal of approval for all sellers and product on our site,
- LOW IMPACT - companies or products with a low negative environmental impact and either enhances or does not significantly diminish environmental quality
- ORGANIC - (of food or farming methods) produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial agents.
- RECYCLED MATERIAL - Products made from Recycled organic material. Recycling is the process of taking an otherwise-discarded item or material and cleaning, sorting, and breaking it down into its basic form (such as fibers or pellets). This material is then used to produce new items.
- RENEWABLE RESOURCE - Products made from organic material that are a renewable resource (like bamboo)
- RESPONSIBLE - Made by Fair trade or certified eco-friendly companies
- UPCYCLED - Upcycling is the process of transforming materials destined to be destroyed into new products of higher value and environmental purpose. Reusing waste without destroying it takes far less energy than breaking it down to be remade into something new.
We find companies that utilize sustainable materials, manufacturing processes, and business practices to create products that keep the planet’s best interests in mind. We tell you exactly what’s sustainable about each product; no smoke and mirrors. We define every product with our 6 Eco-Quality Features above.
Please feel free to reach out to us if you would like to get your product listed on our website.
BPI Certified Compostable
These products are packaged or shipped in materials that can be composted in home systems or industrial facilities. Certain materials may be better fit for industrial facilities than backyard composting systems. Contact your local waste-hauler or composting facility to determine where these materials may be accepted. Industrial facilities may not exist in your area.
Parabens are synthetic chemical preservatives, commonly used in beauty products like shampoo, lotion, and deodorants. Parabens can accumulate in your body, and have been linked to hormonal disruption and reproductive problems. In studies of breast cancer patients, parabens have been found in the tissue of cancerous tumors–yikes! If you want to avoid Parabens in your beauty products, keep an eye out for methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and ethylparaben in the ingredients list.
Phthalates are found in toys, electronics, personal care products, plastic wraps, containers, and more. These petroleum based chemicals help soften plastics, and bind fragrances to perfumes, deodorants, creams, and other personal care products. Phthalates are are not chemically bound, meaning they can easily get released into the air, water, or your body, just by using the products as intended. Phthalates have been found to disrupt the endocrine system, which can cause reproductive damage, hormonal imbalances, infertility, mood changes, metabolism changes, and more.
Sulfates are synthetic chemical ingredients commonly used in beauty products and household cleaners, like shampoos and dish soaps. You can usually identify sulfates in an ingredients list by looking out for the most common types: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLC) and Sodium Laureth Sulfates (SLES). These chemicals, often derived from petroleum, are used to help form the “lather” we’re used to seeing in our beauty and cleaning products. When used in the shower or sink, these chemicals can flow through the pipes and into our waterways. Synthetic sulfates have been linked to allergic reactions, eye and skin irritation, and hair loss, and some studies suggest they contain carcinogenic ingredients.
Products that are labeled as BPA free do not contain Bisphenol A, a chemical commonly found in plastic products. Studies on BPA exposure have shown that high levels of BPA could lead to hormone disruption, effects on behavior and brain function, reproductive problems, breast cancer, heart disease, infertility, and more.
Some or all of the energy used to make this product is produced via renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, or hydropower.
This product does not contain any animal products or byproducts, and has not been tested on animals.
This product is made without the use of Genetically Modified Organisms. The process of using GMO's involves manipulating the DNA of plants, animals, and other organisms to produce benefits such as an ability to tolerate herbicides or produce their own pesticides. GMOs have been deemed as unsafe by many developed nations.
This product helps promote a more sustainable lifestyle. Whether it encourages re-use and the movement away from disposable products, or it promotes sustainable actions like recycling and composting, this product can help you lower your environmental footprint.
Low Impact Dyes:
Companies can adopt multiple practices to dye their textiles and products in a more environmentally safe way. Low impact dyes usually do not contain toxins such as heavy metals, plasticizers, fluorocarbons, and formaldehyde. Sustainable dyes can also be water or plant based, or use less water than conventional dyeing methods.
Companies can adopt multiple practices to print clothing, books, and catalogs in a more environmentally safe way. Low impact inks can include vegetable, soy, or water based alternatives, and generally do not contain harmful toxins like heavy metals or phthalates.
Organic wool presents less harm than conventional wool production, as both the feed and forage for the sheep must be organic, and no pesticides or insecticides can be used to treat the sheep. Organic wool can be harvested yearly without harming the sheep, and does not involve toxic "sheep dips" where farmers drench the sheep in harmful chemicals. Organically raised sheep are housed in ways that prevent overgrazing, and are not dependent on antibiotics or other drugs, as they live in healthy conditions. Wool is highly absorbent, so it requires little water to dye the finished fabrics. Wool is odor resistant, so you can get away with skipping washes (and saving water!), plus when wool is untreated it's biodegradable.
Organic materials and ingredients are grown without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilizers, promoting a healthier use of land and decreasing harmful agricultural runoff. By steering clear of toxic chemicals, farm workers experience less exposure to hazardous conditions, promoting social responsibility as well as environmental stewardship. Choosing organic materials eliminates the use of insecticides and other harmful chemicals, promotes efficient resource use, and results in a safer products and a cleaner planet! This product contains 100% organic content.
USDA certified organic:
Products labeled as USDA certified organic contain ingredients that are produced without pesticides, petrochemicals, ionizing radiation, or synthetic preservetives. USDA certified products are categorized into three classifications. Items labeled as "100% Organic" with the USDA seal must only include organic ingredients. Items labeled as "Organic" with the USDA seal must contain at least 95% organically produced ingredients, and cannot contain any of the USDA excluded methods or ingredients. Products labeled as "Made with Organic Ingredients" must contain at least 70% organic ingredients.
The Global Organic Textile Standard is an international processing standard for organic fibers that covers everything from processing, packaging, and distributing organic fibers. GOTS certified products are labeled organic if they contain 95% or more certified organic fibers, and are labeled as "made with organic" if they contain at least 70% organic fibers. GOTS assures that textiles are produced with socially responsible labor and environmentally conscious manufacturing. Certified textiles must follow guidelines on chemical use, energy and water consumption, safety and living standards for employees, waste produced throughout the manufacture process, and more.
Organic linen is made from the flax plant, a versatile crop that grows with minimal water and no chemical pesticides or fertilizers. The entire flax plant is generally harvested and utilized, and the fibers used to create fabric run the length of the stem. These long fibers create a super durable fabric, and result in little to no waste in harvesting! Creating linen usually involves mechanical pulling and retting to soften and release the fibers from the stems. These fibers can then be woven into fabric without using chemical processes.
Organic cotton production uses zero chemical pesticides and fertilizers, promoting a healthier use of land and decreasing harmful agricultural runoff. By steering clear of toxic chemicals, workers experience less exposure to hazardous conditions, promoting social responsibility as well as environmental stewardship. Plus, farming methods for organic cotton have been shown to use up to 20% less water than nonorganic production methods. Choosing organic cotton eliminates the use of insecticides and other harmful chemicals, promotes efficient resource use, and results in a safer products and a cleaner planet!
This high-yield crop grows quickly and doesn't rely on harsh pesticides and fertilizers, making it a dependable renewable resource. The cannabis plant produces more fiber per acre than common textile crops like cotton and flax, and actually adds nutrients to the soil instead of depleting them! Organic hemp farming promotes healthy land use and reduces harmful chemical runoff. Hemp is strong, breathable, and moisture wicking, and it requires minimal dye during fabric production due to its high absorbency qualities.
This product contains recyclable materials. It may be recyclable with curbside recycling collections, but might need to be sent to a special recycling facility. Contact your local waste-hauler or recycling facility for details. Appropriate facilities may not exist in your area.
It's great to turn to recycled instead of virgin resources when producing new items. Recycled down utilizes goose and duck feathers from pre- and post- consumer products. These feathers are usually recovered from duvet covers or pillows, cleaned, sorted, and can be repurposed for insulation in jackets or new bedding. Recycled down removes the need to kill or harm any new birds, while reducing the amount of waste sent to the landfill. Recycled down offers the same warmth that virgin down provides, at a fraction of the cost to the environment.
Recycled wool textiles utilize salvaged fabric from both pre- and post- consumer sources. Fabric scraps, as well as old clothing items, are cleaned and broken down into fibers, then respun into new wool yarn. Buying products made from recycled wool prevents the need to produce more wool while keeping waste out of the landfill.
Items made from recycled glass are generally made from bottles and other containers which are collected in recycling programs throughout the world. This recycled glass is taken to a facility where it's sorted by color, cleaned, broken down, and melted. This new glass can be molded into any shape to be reused for new products. Glass can be recycled almost infinitely without losing quality, and recycling glass keeps waste out of the landfill while lowering the resources and energy used to create new objects.
Recycled paper can contain both pre- and post-consumer recycled content. Once paper is sent to a recycling facility, it's washed to remove any inks and converted to a watery slush called "slurry." This slurry is spread and rolled to create different types of paper. This process keeps paper out of the landfill, prevents trees from being cut down, and saves the energy and resources needed to create virgin paper products.
This product is packaged or shipped in materials that contain recycled content.
Recycled cotton is created by salvaging post-industrial and post-consumer cotton scraps. The scraps are cleaned, sorted, stripped down, and separated into fibers before being respun into new yarn. This yarn can be utilized to make new textiles, while avoiding the energy and resources required to produce virgin fibers. Plus, it extends the valuable life cycle of the material instead of sending it to the landfill.
Recycled PET Fabric
Recycled PET utilizes salvaged post-industrial PET scraps and post-consumer products such as water bottles and other plastic containers. These plastics are dried, crushed, and spun into yarn in order to create recycled PET fabric, or polyester. By providing a use for recycled plastics, companies encourage recycling programs worldwide, while adding new value to discarded items. Currently, over half of virgin PET production goes towards making textiles, so by utilizing recycled PET, post-consumer materials are both diverting waste while taking the place of raw materials. This helps to reduce the demand for the extraction of oil, as well as energy used to produce new synthetic fibers.
Recycled plastic utilizes salvaged post-industrial plastic scraps and post-consumer products such as water bottles and other plastic containers, and transforms them into new products. The containers are sorted, crushed, and then heated to form resins, which are liquid plastics that can harden into new shapes. These resins can be molded and used to create anything from carpet to outdoor furniture. Recycling plastic lowers the amount of petroleum extracted and the production of greenhouse gasses associated with first-time plastic production. Plus, by using these existing materials, we're benefiting from the original energy and resources spent to create them in the first place, while diverting waste from the landfill.
Recycling scrap aluminum uses just 5% of the energy required to create virgin aluminum. When first-time aluminum is manufactured, the extraction, transportation, and processing required uses large amounts of energy, emits CO2, and degrades the natural environment due to deforestation and mining. Recycling aluminum not only reduces these harmful consequences, but also decreases the amount of aluminum taking up space in landfills. Best of all, aluminum maintains the same properties each time it is recycled, so it can be transformed into new materials indefinitely.
Recycled nylon salvages post-industrial and post-consumer nylon scraps in order to create new items. The scraps are cleaned, sorted, stripped down, and separated into fibers before being transformed into completely new products. This process avoids the energy and resource extraction required to produce virgin fibers, and takes advantage of the efforts used to create the item initially. Recycling nylon provides a second life for materials which might otherwise end up polluting the ocean or buried in a landfill. Recycled nylon can be made from salvaged fishing nets as well as carpet and scraps from clothing production.
Recycled Stainless Steel
Recycled stainless steel utilizes steel salvaged from used products and construction materials, as well as scraps left over from the production of other items. It is durable and long lasting, and can be recycled with scrap metal collections at the end of any stainless steel product's life. Steel can be infinitely recycled and maintains its quality throughout each recycling process. This eliminates the extraction of natural resources required to produce new steel, while providing a new life for materials that could otherwise end up in the landfill.
Sustainably Harvested Rubber
Natural rubber is harvested by tapping the Havea tree and collecting the sap. Sustainably harvested rubber comes from forests that are carefully managed to avoid over-tapping, ensuring healthy rubber trees for the future. Some sustainable rubber tree management prohibits clear cutting to plant rubber plantations, and ensures the livelihoods of native peoples and local workers.
Organic Raffia Straw
Organic raffia straw is generated from palm trees, which have the ability to grow over 50 feet in length, and have the longest leaves in the plant kingdom! Organic raffia doesn’t require any chemical pesticides or fertilizers to grow abundantly This ensures safe and sustainable product for you to use, as well as healthy working conditions for the farmers handling the raffia. Raffia rejuvenates rapidly, and can be used in a variety of ways. The fiber found in the sizable leaves is often used to produce twine, rope, and textiles. These items can then be turned into products such as baskets and hats, which really benefit from the flexible, durable material of the raffia plant.
Raising alpaca to produce alpaca wool is a relatively low-impact type of livestock farming. Alpaca wool can be shorn annually, and it's easy to clean because of the lack of lanolin, a natural grease that is present in other types of wool. Compared to other livestock, alpaca create less damage to the land they inhabit because their feet are padded and they "trim" the grass instead of pulling it out from the roots. Alpacas are also large animals, producing a large amount of fur per year.
Wool is a natural and renewable resource that can be harvested annually from sheep. Sheep are relatively low impact animals, but can overgraze land if not raised properly. Wool production can also be insecticide and water intensive, but the finished yarn is absorbent and requires little dye during processing and untreated wool is biodegradable. Merino wool is particularly soft and lightweight, due to the thinner wool fibers found on sheep from Australia and New Zealand.
Wool is a natural and renewable resource that can be harvested annually from sheep. Sheep are relatively low impact animals, but can overgraze land if not raised properly. Wool production can also be insecticide and water intensive, but the finished yarn is absorbent and requires little dye during processing. Untreated wool is biodegradable.
Cork is a renewable resource, as cork trees can be harvested without cutting down the tree. The bark is stripped from the cork tree once every 9-12 years, and the trees can live for 200-300 years when harvested properly. Natural cork is biodegradable, and can be recycled into anything from yoga blocks to flooring.
As a member of the grass family, bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants on earth. It requires no irrigation, pesticides or fertilizers to grow, and can be harvested within 3-5 years, as compared to approximately 30+ years for traditional hardwoods. Bamboo is extremely adaptable and produces more oxygen per acre than large tree species, while using a fraction of the water to grow. Its durable and lightweight qualities make bamboo a great alternative for hard wood products!
As sugar is harvested from the sugarcane plant, a fiber is left behind, called bagasse. This fiber has been left as waste or burned as fuel in the past, but companies are learning to utilize it in a more earth-friendly way. By breaking the bagasse down into a pulp, it can be molded into paperlike products. This sustainable process doesn't require additional cultivation, as the sugarcane plants are already harvested for other uses! The biodegradable material made from sugarcane pulp can be used in napkins, cardboard, toilet paper, and more.
Linen is made from the flax plant, a versatile crop that grows with minimal water and usually does not require fertilizers to grow. Generally, the entire flax plant is harvested and utilized, and the fibers used to create fabric run the length of the stem. These long fibers create a super durable fabric, and result in little to no waste in harvesting! Creating linen usually involves mechanical pulling and retting to soften and release the fibers from the stems. These fibers can then be woven into fabric without using chemical processes.
Molded Bamboo® is a patented material made by Natural Home Brands. It utilizes bamboo sawdust and fibers harvested from sustainably managed forests, rice starch, and a natural, plant based binder. This durable material can be molded into any shape and provides a natural alternative to plastics typically used in cookware. It is made without harsh chemicals such as BPA, melamine, and formaldehyde.
This high-yield crop grows quickly and usually doesn't rely on harsh pesticides and fertilizers, making it a dependable renewable resource. The cannabis plant produces more fiber per acre than common textile crops like cotton and flax, and actually adds nutrients to the soil instead of depleting them! Hemp is strong, breathable, and moisture wicking, and it requires minimal dye during fabric production due to its high absorbency qualities.
Rubberwood is a hardwood harvested from rubber trees, which are tapped to to collect their sap, otherwise known as latex. These trees can be tapped for 25-30 years before they lose their ability to product latex. Once they’re no longer useful to create rubber, the trees are cut down to make way for new trees. To prevent these trees from being burned or going to waste, the wood can be kiln dried and formed into durable items like toys or furniture. Creating items out of rubberwood is a creative way to utilize a common byproduct of the latex industry.
Wildcrafted ingredients are those which have been grown in nature without human intervention. As these herbs and flowers are not cultivated by humans, they are not exposed to chemical pesticides or fertilizers, and are part of a natural ecosystem. Ideally, all wildcrafted ingredients are harvested in ways that maintain the natural population of the plant, and do not harm the plant when harvesting one part of it.
Cruelty Free is a certification process through PETA that labels products that are not tested on animals. All companies that are included on PETA's cruelty-free list have signed a statement verifying that they don't use ingredients or create finished products that help conduct or pay for any tests on animals.
Cruelty Free International certifies that cosmetic and household products are not tested on animals. These companies are audited to ensure that the ingredients and finished products are not causing harm to animals.
The bluesign Certification is a standard that regulates the environmental and social responsibility of textile manufacturing. bluesign certified textiles must meet guidelines for resource use, air and water emissions, safe labor, safe ingredients, and responsible processes. In order to become certified, every step of the production process is audited, from the chemicals used to the waste produced.
Fair Trade Certified
Ingredients and products that are Fair Trade Certified™ are made in ways that meet social, environmental, and economic standards that improve the lives of communities around the world. Fair Trade Certified™ items are agricultural items that can be used in food, clothing, or personal care products. Farmers and workers are ensured fair prices, livable wages, and direct and transparent deals. Fair trade farming and production invests in environmentally sustainable practices and community development.
Get One Give One
The company furthers their impact by providing a service or donating an item for each product sold.
We support small businesses and craftspeople who create each of their products with care. Handmade products are generally produced on a small scale, without the use of large energy consuming factories and production facilities. Buying handmade helps support art, communities, and people's livelihoods.
Safe and Fair Labor
We support safe and fair labor practices when producing sustainable products. This company cares for their workers by fostering a safe work environment and providing their employees with fair wage.
Plants a Tree
The company that makes this product has a program to plant trees in proportion with their sales. Planting trees helps to combat deforestation, reduce atmospheric CO2, and preserve the health of ecosystems across the globe.
This company donates a portion of their time or profits to charitable efforts in their community or abroad.
1% for the Planet
This company partners with 1% for the Planet, a nonprofit organization that helps promote environmental stewardship. Members commit to donating at least 1% of their sales to the program, which helps connect them to high-impact environmental nonprofits across the globe.
This company promotes the empowerment of women by providing safe employment opportunities and working conditions, promoting community programs and gender equality, or donating time or funds towards women's education and empowerment opportunities.
Some or all of the ingredients or materials used to produce this item have been sustainably harvested. Sustainable practices involve managing land in ways that prevent overharvesting, preserve the natural ecosystems and animal habitats, and ensure a sustainable harvest for the future.
The B Lab is a third-party, non-profit organization that certifies companies as socially and environmentally responsible. B Corps are businesses that go above and beyond traditional business models and aim to create positive change in the world through their practices. These companies must meet rigorous transparency and accountablity standards, while doing what is best for people and the environment.
Made in the USA
This product was made in the United States. Buying locally made items helps to reduce harmful emissions that result from transportation during and after the production process. Purchasing products made in the United States also ensures that the items are produced in ways that meet strict safety and labor standards.
FSC Certified Wood
Products with the Forest Stewardship Council certification are made from or with wood sourced from FSC managed forests. FSC standards ensure the respect and wellbeing of indegneous peoples, forest workers, and local communities. Harvesting in certified forests maintains the ecological functions of each habitat. FSC prohibits the use of pesticides, GMOs, and the conversion of forests to plantations. As a third party, not-for-profit agency, FSC provides nonbiased audits of forest management.
Sustainably Harvested Wood
This product contains wood that has been sourced from sustainably managed forests. These forests are typically managed in ways that prevent overharvesting and promote the wellbeing of local ecosystems, animals, workers, and communities.
Upcycled rubber can be salvaged from items like bicycle inner tubes or truck tires to make new products. The rubber is cleaned, cut, and sewn into new shapes to form durable and water resistant items like bags, wallets, and belts. Upcycling rubber tires can free up space in landfills and prevent chemicals from leaching into the ground when tires are disposed of. Recycling rubber lowers greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the amount of energy used and resources extracted create new rubber products, as most rubber products are synthetic and petroleum based.
Upcycled glass utilizes glass in its original form to make new materials. This glass is salvaged, cleaned, and made into new objects without being broken and melted down. Using upcycled glass prevents waste from entering the landfill while using very little energy to create new products.
Leather can be salvaged from items such as used clothing or textile factory scraps to create new products. Leather production is resource intensive and harmful to the environment, considering the land and water it takes to feed and house cattle, as well as the methane produced by the animals themselves. Harvesting, tanning, and processing the leather takes additional resources. In utilizing scraps that would otherwise enter the landfill, upcycled leather products provide a durable material at lower environmental cost than virgin leather.
Upcycling vinyl salvages pre- and post- consumer scraps and repurposes them into new products! By upcycling vinyl products, companies are extending the life of the durable material. Banners, tarps, and even vinyl jeep tops can be repurposed into unique, waterproof, and long-lasting products!
Reclaimed wood utilizes lumber left over from furniture, barrels, barns, buildings, and other wooden structures to create new buildings, furniture, and decorations. This provides a second life to wood that would otherwise be discarded, prevents new trees from being cut down, and diverts waste. Products using reclaimed wood have unique character, and reflect the history of their previous lives.
Bamboo is a fast growing, renewable, and durable resource. Scraps can be salvaged from the production of bamboo items like furniture, and are used to create new products. Using upcycled bamboo prevents waste from entering the landfill, and reduces the amount of energy and resources used to create new products.
Upcycled cotton salvages pre- and post-consumer fabric scraps and reuses them in new designs. Fabric scraps are cleaned, sorted, and often unwoven before being used again in new items. Upcycling cotton prevents the need for new textiles to be produced, and extends the life cycle of existing materials, rather than sending them to the landfill. Plus, it maintains the original structure of the cotton yarn, eliminating extra energy that would otherwise be needed to break down and respin the fibers into new yarn.
Upcycled nylon salvages pre- and post-consumer fabric scraps and reuses them in new designs. Upcycling nylon prevents the need for new textiles to be produced, and extends the valuable life cycle of existing fabric scraps, rather than sending them to the landfill. Plus, it maintains the original structure of the nylon, so it eliminates extra energy that would otherwise be needed to break down or respin the fibers into new yarn.