The Eco Label
Why bother about the Eco Label?
As the demand for eco-friendly products and services grow, more and more businesses are born to meet the market demand.
To make sure that you are provided with exactly what you are looking for and nothing less, you need to understand what the various supposedly green companies claim about their products and services, and whether these claims are justified.
What does the Ecolabel mean?
The ecolabel is a system for labeling products on the level to which they contribute to environment protection efforts, or are environmentally friendly – whether in production, use or disposal.
There are various systems of eco labels that are used in various parts of the world.
One such system of eco-labeling is the “Flower” below, which is a symbol used in Europe for products that have been checked by independent bodies for compliance with strict ecological standards.
In turn, the standards for different product groups differ.
For example, when the “Flower” is found on refrigerators, the eco label denotes that the refrigerator uses substances that have a minimal impact on global warming and ozone depletion. When found on mattress, the “Flower” symbol signifies that water and air pollution are minimized in its production process.
In other words, you can be better assured of the quality of the green product and its impact on the environment, when it comes with the eco label.
Beware the labels
Nevertheless, you must bear in mind that not all supposed labels used are officially verified.
For example, the label “100% BIOCOMPATIBLE” is found on the container of some cleaning agents. Nevertheless, this eco label does not actually come with official standards, and there is no organization independently certifying this claim.
In other words, having such a label on your product may not exactly mean anything.
In other cases, the labels are very similar, but may mean totally different things.
For example, the label “CERTIFIED BIODEGRADABLE” that you see below, is certified by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), an independent certifier with certification standards for household products.
SCS’s standards require testing using an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) test (or other validated tests) to show 70% biodegradation within 28 days into carbon dioxide, water, and minerals under conditions where oxygen is present, or under “real world” conditions.
SCS also requires validated tests to ensure that whatever material is left after biodegradation is not toxic to aquatic organisms. SCS also reviews the labeling and marketing attempts of companies to ensure that the logo is used appropriately, and that the meaning or scope of the certification is not exaggerated, or associating with other environmental claims.
Although the “Certified Biodegradable” claim should not be taken to mean that the product is 100% bio-degradable, the label is still highly meaningful.
Conversely, the general “BIODEGRADABLE” label is less meaningful.
The standards for a product to be labeled “biodegradable” is not clearly defined, transparent (publicly available), meaningful, or independently verified. In other words, the label can have different meanings for different products.
So do look out for the eco-label on products you intend to buy.
A slight difference could mean totally different things.
If you are unsure what a particular label means, do check them out. Websites like Greener Choices offer information on whether the eco-label you are looking at is actually meaning in the eco-friendly sense.
Other green labels
Other than the eco label, you may also wish to check out the recycling symbols and plastic recycling codes.
The symbols and codes are important, as they can help you identify products that are recyclable as well as those made of recyclable materials.
Both these categories of products help contribute to a cleaner and healthy environment, by reducing the amount of waste created, and helping to conserve valuable raw materials and energy.
Identify the recycle products today, use them and help sustain the efforts of the recycling industry.
Check out our online catalog of green products and services.
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