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Frequently Asked Eco-Friendly Questions!

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A product is called organic when it is produced without the use of pesticides, synthetic or chemical fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, bioengineering, sewage sludge and ionized irradiation. In the case of animal produce such as meat or dairy products, the animals should not be fed antibiotics and growth hormones to be considered organic.

Natural products are products that have minimal synthetic or chemical processing and are closer to naturally derived plant or animal extracts. While organic products are strictly regulated and require stringent compliance to standards specified by certification authorities, natural products lack regulation. However they are safer than conventional products.

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. You can engage in eco-friendly habits or practices by being more conscious of how you use resources.

Preventing climate change is the responsibility of everybody. Sustainer Container provides eco friendly alternatives to help you to make simple eco friendly swaps which will have a big impact. For example, the average person will use 300 toothbrushes in their lifetime, so swapping your plastic toothbrush to a compostable bamboo toothbrush alone can have a massive impact on reducing the waste you produce. 

There is an overwhelming scientific consensus that our planet is experiencing a climate crisis.  Unfortunately, the furnishings industry is a contributor to that crisis, and to dangerous pollutants that negatively affect our health, and to issues of social injustice such child labor.

Let’s start with the climate crisis:  The furnishings industry is the third largest consumer of wood products (after buildings and paper).  We need to know when we are purchasing new wood flooring and furnishings where the wood is coming from to make sure we are not inadvertently contributing to deforestation.  Fortunately, there is an independent organization, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which certifies wood when it is from a responsible source.

Moving onto dangerous pollutants:  In addition to creating smog, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are found in flooring, paint and as finishes on furniture.  These compounds, such as formaldehyde, are linked with damage to the kidneys, liver, lungs and nervous system and they off-gas for at least a year.  It’s much better to select low or no-VOC options such or natural finishes such as waxes or natural oils for furniture.

Speaking of natural choices:  Cotton is still grown in 19 countries using child and forced labor!  Fortunately, the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), run by an independent organization, certifies that textiles are not only organically grown, but produced using fair labor practices too.

There are many other ways the furnishings industry impacts our planet, health and society.  These are just a few examples to illustrate the importance of making responsible decisions when selecting furnishings.  The good news is that there are many great options for sustainable and stylish furnishings if you know where to look and what to look for.  We’re here to make that easy!

Copious amounts of garbage resulting from a consumption-driven and densely populated society have led waste managers to adopt and promote an approach to the waste problem summarized by the phrase “reduce, reuse and recycle” — the waste hierarchy. This slogan reminds consumers of the actions they can take to minimize the burdens that their waste creates: reducing waste, reusing waste when possible and recycling waste into goods for tomorrow.

Reduce

The first and most effective component of the waste hierarchy is reducing the waste created. Consumers are encouraged to reduce their waste by purchasing in bulk, buying items with less packaging and switching to reusable instead of single-use items. Businesses can adopt manufacturing methods that require fewer resources and generate less waste. In addition to benefiting the environment, these efforts often offer consumers and businesses the financial incentive of lower expenses in purchases.

Reuse

Despite efforts to reduce the amount of waste generated, consumers and businesses still create substantial waste. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that each American generated 4.3 pounds of waste daily in 2009 (see References 5). Much of this waste can immediately be reused to minimize the strain on the environment and municipal waste management. For example, consumers can refill a purchased bottle of water with water from home to minimize the number of plastic bottles being discarded. Consumers have a financial incentive here as well, as municipal water is far cheaper than bottled water.

Recycle

When waste is eventually discarded, segregating items for recycling from other waste is important. Recyclables include glass, newspaper, aluminum, cardboard and a surprising array of other materials. Lead, for example, has one of the highest recycling rates because of laws requiring the recycling of lead-acid batteries. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, recycled lead accounts for almost 90 percent of the lead used in manufacturing today.

Disposal

Waste that cannot be reused or recycled in some form eventually finds its way to disposal. This disposal includes landfills, but an increasing number of municipalities have elected to divert waste into resource recovery. These recovery methods use the waste to generate electricity or produce raw materials for industry. However, resource recovery is not without its own undesirable effects, such as pollution from incinerators. Some waste, however, is not suitable for resource recovery methods.

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