Just like you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t judge a household product by its labeling alone. With modern, legitimate concerns about what goes into the products you eat and use daily and the impact those goods have on the environment, it’s more important than ever to be conscious of what you buy, particularly if you have children and pets in the household.
Luckily, as the population has grown more aware of the possible dangers of certain products, so have many of the companies that produce them. However, just because the packaging claims to be environmentally safe and sound, doesn’t mean that this is always the case. Here are a couple rules to go by when evaluating what products to bring into your home to be certain that they are what they claim to be.
Understand Green Certification and Eco-Labeling
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been evaluating household products for more than 15 years. Its Design for the Environment program underwent a name change and standard revision in February of last year, yielding more stringent requirements for approval and a new name: Safer Choice Standard. When a product receives a Safer Choice label, it means that EPA experts tested each ingredient and that the final product follows the intensive criteria needed to guarantee the safety of users and the environment.
The Safer Choice logo is a reliable indication that the product was scientifically evaluated for safety and passed the test. Look for the blue and green label to confirm that the window cleaner or bathroom scrub in your hand is good to go. Since words like “organic” and “eco-friendly” can be tossed about and printed on labels without much regulation, the Safer Choice sign saves you from having to read the ingredients and research them yourself.
Some companies are extremely diligent in their efforts and ensure all of their products sport the Safer Choice label. When stocking up on essential eco-friendly items, look for these reliable companies that are known for environmental stewardship and manufacturing products that meet the EPA’s requirements.
Use Companies and Products That Promote Sustainability and Safety
Many established companies are finding that promoting sustainability pays off not only in a reduced carbon footprint, but also in generating revenue, according to the Harvard Business Review. When you pay for goods and services from these establishments, your money is going toward the common good.
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is another well-respected standard that ensures that the products showing their logo are textiles generated and produced with organic fibers. The GOTS label, found on hygiene products and clothing, can only be on items that are 70 percent composed of organic fibers or higher. The standard guarantees that auxiliaries, dyestuffs and other chemical inputs commonly used in production meet a specific and stringent toxicological and ecological criteria. When you buy products with the GOTS stamp of approval, you are bringing home items that are safe for your kids and pets and that improve the condition of the environment.