The word 'eco-friendly' means "having little or no damaging effect on the environment." When it comes to products, that means assessing how they were made, shipped, used and disposed of. A good way to test if something is truly eco-friendly is to look for third-party green certifications like EcoCert Cosmos or Fair Trade Certified to this. If a company is not accredited, it might be engaging in greenwashing (false eco-friendly marketing) or selling dangerous and toxic substances.

Eco-friendly products can reduce your environmental impact by lowering or eliminating your consumption of non-sustainable and single-use plastic items. For instance, replacing a plastic grocery bag with a recycled one is a simple and effective change that can make a big difference. Likewise, opting for plastic-free cleaning and beauty products can eliminate the waste that many companies produce in the form of plastics and chemicals. You can also support the many eco friendly brands that manufacture clothing and shoes using recycled plastics or who are helping to divert these waste products away from landfills with Western biodegradable garden pots.

Choosing to use public transport, ride your bike or walk to work rather than driving your car can significantly lower your carbon footprint. Similarly, swapping paper documents for email or online alternatives will minimise the amount of printing and postage that you need to do. If you’re a business owner or employee, arranging meetings over Skype or Zoom will also cut your emissions and help save money on travel costs.

Switching to energy efficient lighting, appliances and hot water systems can significantly cut your household’s electricity consumption, saving on your utility bills. If you’re in a climate that supports it, switching to solar power can have an even greater impact.

You can also make eco-friendly changes to your car usage, with many petrol and diesel vehicles releasing harmful air pollutants. An electric vehicle, however, doesn’t release any air pollutants and is much more environmentally friendly to drive.

A great example of a product that is both eco-friendly and socially responsible is Pela’s sustainable bioplastic iPhone and Android phone cases, which are manufactured and designed to be both durable and beautiful. The company aims to disrupt the tech accessories industry, which is notorious for waste and pollution.

If you live in a tropical or subtropical climate, constructing a rainwater harvesting system is an easy and more cost-effective way to reduce your water consumption. The system collects stormwater runoff and stores it in a tank, so you can reuse it to water your plants or wash your clothes. Alternatively, you can buy a water-efficient shower head or opt to let your dishes drain and air dry rather than running the dishwasher each time they’re dirty.