What Does Eco-Friendly Mean?

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eco-friendly (adjective): involving or resulting from methods which do little or no harm to the environment in their making, nor in their disposal.

In short, eco-friendliness is the practice of living in a way that is friendly to the environment, both in terms of the resources we use and the waste we produce. It means taking action to protect our planet and its natural resources. This can include recycling, using energy-efficient and less wasteful products, composting, and reducing your overall consumption.

Making eco-friendly choices is important not only for the environment, but also for our health. By reducing our reliance on harmful chemicals and products, we can create a healthier world for ourselves and future generations.

So next time you’re about to make a purchase, take a moment to consider whether there is a more eco-friendly option available. You might be surprised at how easy it is to make environmentally sustainable choices in your everyday life!

Similar Terms To “Eco-Friendly” (And the Differences)

“Going green”, “environmentally friendly”, and “sustainable” are all terms used to describe products or practices that have a minimal negative impact on the environment. “Eco-friendly” is often used interchangeably with these terms, but it actually has a slightly different meaning.

While “eco-friendly” and “environmentally-friendly” are essentially the same, referring to products or practices that cause less damage than a typical alternative, terms like “sustainable” are held to a higher standard.

A good way to differentiate them is that “sustainable” refers to something that can be maintained at a certain level indefinitely. In other words, it’s a practice that can be continued without depleting resources and either causes no harm or has a positive environmental impact.

For example, a product made from recycled materials may be considered to be more eco-friendly because it is reusing materials, but often the recycling process has limitations on the amount of materials that can truly be recycled, resulting in some non-biodegradable waste. In general, all sustainable things are eco- or environmentally-friendly, but not all eco-friendly things are sustainable.

Both eco-friendly and sustainable practices are important to do what we can to reduce environmental impact in various situations, but sustainable practices are especially important when possible because they help ensure that our planet truly benefits.

What Qualifications Determine if a Product is “Eco-Friendly”?

There are less official or regulated definitions for the term “eco-friendly”. It’s often used as a comparative term, positioning an item as better than another.

Eco-friendly products are often made from natural substances which can easily decompose, are safe for humans, animals, and plants, cause less pollution, and help in saving energy and resources.

These products are frequently recyclable, compostable, and/or biodegradable, reducing the exposure to harmful chemicals to ourselves and wildlife. The list of common eco-friendly products could go on forever, including recycled paper, bamboo furniture, reusable coffee filters, or cork flooring.

Many people are unaware of the alternative products that they could be using to replace their environmentally harmful ones they’ve been using for years. That’s where we come in!

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Environmentally Friendly Companies

Many companies are eager to position themselves as eco-friendly and attract customers who are looking to make more ethical purchasing decisions. There are a few reasons for this.

  • Eco-friendly companies often enjoy a boost in sales and public opinion. Consumers are often willing to pay more for products that they perceive as being eco-friendly.
  • Eco-friendly companies can often benefit from tax breaks and other incentives.
  • Many companies see eco-friendliness as a form of social responsibility. By taking steps to reduce their impact on the environment, they hope to set a positive example for other businesses to follow.

Improving reputation and trust from consumers is critical to the success of a business. In today’s climate of mistrust, social responsibility is increasingly important to consumers, and eco-friendly companies are seen as being on the right side of history. However, it’s important to be aware of greenwashing, which is when companies make false or exaggerated claims about their environmental results.

We do our best to vet the products and brands that we not only promote, but use ourselves in our everyday lives. Promoting the best products for you, your families, and the earth is a core part of our mission.

Focus Areas to Make Your Life More Eco-Friendly

  • Fashion – Buying second-hand clothing or investing in high-quality items that will last longer can help to reduce textile waste.
  • Diet – You can also think about the food you eat and where it comes from. Choosing organic, locally-grown produce and reducing your meat consumption can help to reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Household Products – Reusing, reducing, and recycling are all crucial for everyday products around the house. From cleaning supplies to personal hygiene products and everything between, there are eco-friendly replacements that you can switch to, reducing your impact on the environment.
  • Life Events – Life events such as holidays, weddings, having a child, or traveling tend to accumulate the use of wasteful products. Thinking through the most environmentally friendly options when planning for these events can make a tremendous impact.

There are many other areas in addition to this short list, of course, and so many opportunities within each of them. The important thing to keep in mind is that every change counts – every environmentally responsible decision, every conversation to inspire others, every replacement.

Eco-Friendliness FAQs

What is eco-friendliness?

Eco-friendliness is the practice of living in a way that is friendly to the environment, both in terms of the resources we use and the waste we produce. It means taking action to protect our planet and its natural resources. This can include recycling, using energy-efficient and less wasteful products, composting, and reducing your overall consumption.

What are some simple ways to be more eco-friendly?

There are many ways to be more eco-friendly. You can do simple things like being more attentive to turning off lights, taking shorter showers, or composting. An easy way to make a big impact is by switching to more eco-friendly products that you can discover through our quiz!

Why should I care about eco-friendliness?

There are many reasons to care about eco-friendliness. For one, it can improve our own health by reducing exposure to harmful chemicals and pollutants. Additionally, it can help to protect our planet and its biodiversity. And finally, it can sometimes even save you money by simplifying and reducing our reliance on mass produced products.

Want to Live More Eco-Friendly?

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Citations for This Article


Plonkey, Jim. (December 7, 2022). What Does Eco-Friendly Mean?. Natural Replacements. Retrieved May 19, 2024, from https://naturalreplacements.com/learn/environment/eco-friendly/


Plonkey, Jim. "What Does Eco-Friendly Mean?." Natural Replacements, https://naturalreplacements.com/learn/environment/eco-friendly/


Plonkey, Jim. "What Does Eco-Friendly Mean?." Natural Replacements, Last modified December 7, 2022. https://naturalreplacements.com/learn/environment/eco-friendly/

Jim Plonkey

Jim Plonkey is a Co-founder of Natural Replacements. A digital marketing professional with a passion for sustainability, Jim lives in Southeast Michigan and enjoys traveling to new places, spending time outdoors - kayaking, hiking, and gardening, and yoga.

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