Why we recommend buying recycled and biodegradable products

We feel caring for the environment is an integral part of living a holistic lifestyle. In doing so, we participate in the conservation for the next generation of the beauty and natural resources we enjoy today. The foods we choose to eat have a direct impact on our enviorment. So, too do the choices we make on the products we use in our home have a strong impact on our enviornment and its future. 

Buying recycled products helps close the waste circle. That is, it creates a demand for recycled products, thus ensuring a market for recyclable goods. Unfortunately, recycling is still not standard in all American cities. Every time we choose to recycle, it really does make a difference. Here is an interesting recycling fact: If every American household recycled one out of every ten HDPE (high density polyethylene) bottles, this would keep 200 million pounds of plastic out of landfills every year. National Geographic cites an amazing EPA statistic: recycling provides an annual benefit of 49.7 million metric tons of carbon equivalent emissions reduced, comparable to removing 39.4 million passenger cars from the road each year. 

Biodegradable plastics are made of plant materials. The renewable materials reduce our need for foreign oil, and make a product that breaks down much quicker than petroleum based plastic. Home cleaning and personal care products that have plant-sourced surfactants have a much greater level of biodegradability than petroleum based surfactants. Surfactants are the substances that reduce water tension and allow the cleaning products to penetrate the surface whenever it is being cleaned. Many of the chemicals in common household soaps and cleaners find their way into our rivers, lakes, streams and oceans. The EPA provides this guide on finding more environmentally friendly household cleaning products. The guide also enumerates the "benefits of buying green" in a very succinct and compelling way:

  • Choosing less hazardous products that have positive environmental attributes (e.g., biodegradability, low toxicity, low volatile organic compound (VOC) content, reduced packaging, low life cycle energy use) and taking steps to reduce exposure can minimize harmful impacts to custodial workers and building occupants, improve indoor air quality, and reduce water and ambient air pollution while also ensuring the effectiveness of cleaning in removing biological and other contaminants from the building's interior.

  • Buying cleaners in concentrates with appropriate handling safeguards, and reusable, reduced, or recyclable packaging, reduces packaging waste and transportation energy.

  • Buying less hazardous cleaners may reduce costs when it comes time to properly dispose of any leftover cleaners.

 The everyday choices we make including the food and the products we purchase are paramount in creating a healthier enviornment for our children.