Green living simply means opting for a lifestyle that minimizes the carbon footprint on the planet. This includes choosing more and more eco-friendly products. But what are these and what are they made of?
Let’s take a look.
Eco-friendly products are made out of sustainable materials. These are natural, compostable, or bio-degradable. Eco-friendly products do not harm the environment at any stage of their production, consumption, or disposal.
Some of the popular raw materials used to make eco-friendly products include:
1. Bamboo hardwood
When it comes to renewable raw materials for eco-friendly products, bamboo stands out first in the choice. The unique feature of bamboo, when compared to other woods, is that bamboo can reach full maturity in a short period.
The maturity period of bamboo is five years, while that for hardwood is over 30 years. The essential quality of bamboo, which makes it an excellent material, is that it is environmentally friendly. Once a full harvest is done, the bamboo forest can be grown back in a few years.
Some of the advantages of bamboo hardwood are:
- Superior hardwood
Bamboo is often called as ‘Green Steel’ due it’s durable and rigid natural fiber. This makes it superior to hardwood and can be used as a great building material for flooring, concrete, roofing, piping, and reinforcement. If properly maintained, it can last as long as hardwood.
- High in flexibility
When compared to normal hardwood, bamboo is highly flexible. Its strong shock-absorbing property makes it a great building material for earthquake-resistant buildings. Bamboo has a natural ability to withstand winds, which are over 200 Kmph. The Nat school in the Philippines is designed to withstand even the strong winds which regularly swept across the area.
- Ease of transportation
Unlike other materials that require expensive machinery for handling and shipping, bamboo is quite light in weight and easy to carry.
- Cheap and easy availability
Bamboo is readily available and saves a lot of money when compared to regular hardwood.
few eco-friendly products made of bamboo are Bamboo straws, Bamboo plates, Bamboo cutlery, Bamboo toothbrush, Bamboo furniture, Bamboo safety razor, etc.:
Cork is harvested from the bark of the cork tree. This is naturally harvested from Oak forests located in the Iberian Peninsula.
- Strong and waterproof
One of the unique abilities of cork, when compared to other trees is that it is fire resistant, waterproof, elastic, buoyant and strong.
- Fully eco-friendly
As the cork is made from tree bark, it is fully biodegradable and eco-friendly.
- Helps to fight global warming
It has been noted that cork trees once harvested will absorb the carbon dioxide five times to aid in the regeneration process. This means the trees which are regularly harvested will helps to minimize the amount of carbon dioxide, thereby helping in the fight against global warming.
3. Organic cotton
Organic cotton is grown in the natural environment without any toxic materials.
- Can be used almost everywhere
The cotton plant is popularly known as the “fabric of our lives” is used almost everywhere on a daily basis.
- Completely biodegradable
Any item made of cotton is completely biodegradable once disposed of. The time taken for cotton to completely disintegrate quite less when compared to all the other eco-friendly raw materials.
4. Potato starch and Corn Starch
Starch-based raw materials like potatoes and corn are now being used to produce bioplastics.
After undergoing the processes of fermentation, heat application and some chemical and microbial manipulations, the starch within these agricultural raw materials turns into building blocks like polylactic acid, poly-3-hydroxybutyrate or other similar substances that come under the category of “plastics”
The material formed has characteristics similar to polyethylene and polypropylene.
- Tough and sturdy like their plastic counterparts
- Can be modified to give temperature resistant properties
- Can be recycled
- Can be safely used for plastic packaging, especially for the food and beverages industry
We are at the dawn of an era where more and more people are shifting towards a greener and healthier lifestyle. Choosing to surround us with eco-friendly products is the least we can do for the planet that supports us!