What does sustainable, green, eco-friendly really mean?

Updated: Aug 21

I thought I’d write this blog to help us understand what terms such as sustainability, green, eco-friendly and ethical really mean, especially in relation to our homes and interior design, allowing us to be better informed when we are specifying and buying product.

So, here goes, I will try to keep it as simple as possible.

What do the terms sustainable and sustainability mean?

"The definition of sustainable is to cause little or no damage to the environment and avoid the depletion of natural resources."

Sustainable products should encapsulate the three P’s: people, planet and profit which are the social, environmental, and economic benefits protecting public health and environment over their whole life cycle.

Sustainable interior design is about creating homes with emphasis on the health and wellness of families, individuals and our planet, by using design principles, products and materials that help reduce the use of chemicals, pollution, waste and reduce energy consumption.

What does Eco-friendly mean?

Eco-friendly literally means earth-friendly or not harmful to the environment. This term most commonly refers to products that contribute to green living or practices that help conserve resources like water and energy.

Eco-friendly products also prevent contributions to air, water and land pollution.

Making a truly eco-friendly product keeps both environmental and human safety in mind. At a minimum, the product is non-toxic.

What does Green mean?.

Green is more or less the same as eco-friendly. The term Green has become more of a trendy word for people that are interested in helping the planet. Going green means improving the way we produce, buy, use, and throw away products. It means contributing less to air pollution and to landfills. Going green means doing things in ways that are friendly to the environment.

Another term: GREENWASHING meaning some companies often label their products "eco-friendly" or "environmentally friendly" without them truly being so. That is why it's important to research and investigate the true provenance of a product.

On a different note, I was interested to see the spiritual meaning of the colour Green: represents abundance, renewal, growth and nature. A harmonising, balancing and calming colour. Green is also a healing colour that gives healing energy to the heart. An appropriate meaning when used in this context.

What does Ethical mean?

Ethical sourcing is the process of ensuring the products being sourced and selected are produced and obtained in a responsible and sustainable way, making sure the workers are safe and are not exploited.

As an example; part of a supply chain might engage in the use of a child labour, more than likely, well below the age of employment recognised by international standards and is therefore being exploited.

The bottom line here is - all of the terms - sustainable, eco-friendly, green all mean the same; to cause little or no damage to the environment and protect it in the future. Ethical is really about not exploiting humans in the process. Hope this has helps you understand these trendy, see them everywhere at the moment, words!

#sustainbledesign #interiordesign #ecofriendly #greeninteriors #ethicaldesign #healthandwellness #healthyhomes

Images: Susan Van Meter Interiors. Shutterstock for cover and "world" image.

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