'Eco' is short for ecology, i.e. the science of studying the earth, the environment, etc. Because many ecologists are campaigning against pollution, etc. it has been associated with the green movement.
Eco-friendly is about protecting and preserving the environment, which would, in turn, ensure a healthy and sustainable lifestyle for us. We need to make only a few alterations and adjustments in our lives in order to help make the world a better place to live in. One of the major problems in millions of homes is air quality. Even in the largest of cities, indoor air pollution is more than outdoor pollution. With more and more homes today becoming energy efficient and airtight, humidity levels at homes are on the rise.
Making a Difference
One of the most important aspects of improving the environment is reducing emissions of harmful gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases, into the atmosphere and replacing them with eco-friendly alternatives. Recycling is one way these emissions can be reduced. By recycling, we cut down on the amount of waste that enters our landfills, by recycling paper we save trees, and by recycling and reusing materials such as glass, cardboard and metal, we help lower the production of new materials and, thereby, save energy and reduce air pollution by cutting down on industrial processes. A lot of difference can also be made by using natural products and making your home energy efficient. Use of natural products at home helps improve the environment. As we dispose of products containing harsh chemicals, they end up in the environment and, ultimately, cause us harm. Natural, eco-friendly products are safe for all as they are non-toxic and biodegradable.
- Install compact fluorescent bulbs, LED bulbs, or fibre optic lighting systems, as these make a home more energy-efficient.
- Replace old windows with energy-efficient windows.
- Tune your heating and cooling system, and change the air conditioner's filter regularly.
- Remodel your home using eco-friendly paints and low-to-zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs) products.
- Include green furniture, flooring and accessories.
- Introduce air purifiers and natural plants in your surroundings.
It’s a simple fact that we can’t keep using up the world's non-renewable resources. If we are to protect our precious environment, we all need to think carefully about the products we use. The deterioration in the environment has forced the international community to introduce environment-friendly technologies.
- Hand-made paper: To produce 1 tonne of paper from virgin pulp, 17 large trees are required. By using hand-made paper, we prevent more cutting of trees and, therefore, deforestation. Moreover, at least 50 per cent less energy and up to 75 per cent less water is required to make hand-made paper compared to paper from virgin pulp. It also reduces air pollution by 70 per cent. And produces up to 90 per cent less waste water.
- Paper bags and notebooks: Plastic bags create visual pollution problems and can adversely affect aquatic and terrestrial animals. As they are not biodegradable, plastic bags can take a long time to fully break down. Paper bags, either made of virgin wood pulp or recycled paper or hand-made paper, are environment friendly and biodegradable. Hence, to save the environment and the earth from catastrophic plastics, we should start using paper-made products.
- Eco-friendly furniture: The enormous use of wood has led to deforestation, resulting in the Greenhouse Effect and global warming. Today, there are many alternatives to wooden furniture in the form of eco-friendly furniture. These use less wood and more of waste products and other items, such as wheat panels, sunflower board, aluminum, polywoods, wrought irons, metals, stones, post consumer materials, all of which are eco-friendly.
- The eco-fan: An eco-fan is a soundless, powerful (up to 150cfm) fan that doesn’t use electricity but distributes air throughout the house. The warm air produced by a wood stove is circulated into rooms by this environment-friendly eco-fan, as it generates its own electricity when placed on top of a heated surface. The eco-fan does not use any batteries or external electrical connections.
- Eco-shoes: Shoes are made of animal leather, thereby resulting in the extinction of several animals. Eco-shoes can be recycled and reused. Today, numerous shoe manufacturers are coming up with eco-friendly shoes.
- Eco-friendly paints: There are more than 10,000 chemicals that can be used in conventional paints. Many of these chemicals may lead to health problems or complicate existing conditions. Low-level exposure to paint may irritate or burn the eyes, nose, throat and skin and cause reactions such as headaches, dizziness or nausea.
Today, there are paints with non-toxic elements that ensure a healthier body and greener environment. Eco-paints are non-toxic with zero VOC, they have no odour and can be tinted to any colour of your choice.
Solar energy flow is not a cycle, but a flow from the sun to the biosphere. It is one of the four basic ecosystem processes through which we can begin to perceive the ecosystem as a whole. Solar products are innovative mechanisms that help conserve energy, are environmentally friendly and are usually cost effective.
Today, there are several solar power products in the market for both home and office use. Solar products include items such as hot water heaters, heating systems, panels, flashlights, small radios, calculators, battery chargers, lanterns, lighting, car batteries and much more.
Eco-friendly handicraft items are of made of jute, waste material, hand-made paper, polywood products, fabric products, hand-made greeting cards, recycled bottles, recycled products, biodegradable products, etc.
Pollution and the escalating cost of petroleum products have put pressure on governments to find alternatives for transportation. Mass transportation systems are helpful to a limited extent, but reducing the world's dependence on oil has become a major challenge for scientists and planners.
It is high time that we start using eco-friendly vehicles. Today, there a variety of zero=emission vehicles that can address a great number of our transportation needs. Eco-vehicles are designed keeping in mind the customer's, the environment's and society's benefit.
Reference and Useful Websites
- Natural Handyman
- Common Household Chemicals Linked to Cancer
- The Toilet Tank Trick
- Garden Organic
- The Green Shop
- How to Make Eco-Friendly Home Improvements
- Eco Products
- Home Repair Q&A Categories offers hundreds of websites with tips on eco-friendly building and repair work.
- Common Household Chemicals Linked to Cancer, which highlights ways of avoiding harmful sources.
- How to Clean Your House the ECO Friendly Way.
- Garden Organic, where you can shop online for organic garden products and get advice on how to make wonderful compost.
- The Green Shop.
- BuildingGreen.com, offers a free online “GreenSpec” database with detailed listings for over 2,000 environmentally preferable building products, including eco-paints.