what makes a product sustainable?
A product can be considered as “Sustainable” if it was manufactured responsibly by embracing biodegradable or reusable raw material, minimizing the energy use, implementing ethical process, practicing fair trade supply chain, cutting down the release of harmful substances to the environment, designing the product that is durable and easy to dispose of.
WHAT IS A SUSTAINABLE PRODUCT?
We have been heavily drawn towards mass production, where the products are produced bulk; they tend to have an extremely short-term or low quality. The mass-produced product we buy contributes a lot of waste before and after the use of the products.
A product is usually considered sustainable if:
- RAW MATERIALS SOURCE FROM RENEWABLE, BIODEGRADABLE, OR RECYCLED MATERIALS
- RESOURCE EFFICIENCY DURING MANUFACTURING
- SOCIAL ASPECTS
- BIODEGRADABLE PACKAGING
1.RAW MATERIALS SOURCE FROM RENEWABLE, BIODEGRADABLE, OR RECYCLED MATERIALS
The raw material is extremely important if you are looking out to ensure that raw materials are sourced responsibly and to trace them back to their origin. I would mention three different options you can look for
a. Raw materials from renewable sources or biodegradable materials – a product are sustainable if using renewable raw materials as it helps to save fossil resources and may contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. products based on renewable raw materials as they are often perceived as healthier, more natural, and having a positive environmental impact. Last, but not least the use of renewable raw materials broaden the basis of our raw material and thus reduces the dependency on fossil resources. these renewable raw materials are derived from various value chains, vegetable oils, fats, grains, sugars, and wood, vegetable-tanned leathers, natural rubber.
b.Raw materials from eco-friendly fibers- Natural fibers are sustainable materials that are easily available in nature and have advantages like low-cost, lightweight, renewability, biodegradability, and high specific properties.
|Ecofriendly fiber||Use||Special feature|
Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus)
|Used for paper and rope production||Stiff, strong, and tough and have high resistance to insecticides.|
|Bamboo (Bambusoideae)||Making houses, bridges, traditional boats,||Light-weight, low cost, high strength, and stiffness.|
|Coconut Fiber (Cocos nucifera)||Mattresses, brushes, in the upholstery industry, agriculture, construction,||Resilience, strength, and damping wear, resistance to weathering, and high elongation at break.|
|Silk (Bombyx mori)||Fabric||High strength, extensibility, and compressibility|
c.Raw materials from recyclable materials like coastal and marine reclaimed plastic waste are converted into threads, which are used to make recycled shoes.
Similarly, Billions of used tires are discarded every year, which pollute waterways and other natural habitats. These discarded tires are used for the soles of the vegan footwear line.
2.RESOURCE EFFICIENCY DURING MANUFACTURING
Energy is needed for the production, processing, and shipping of the fabric and finished product. It is not just the workmanship of the sustainable product that is crucial, but also the manufacturer uses and under which conditions the raw materials have been processed, which is equally important. It is important to consider resource efficiency including a minimal amount of material and minimal energy consumption during the manufacturing of sustainable products.
|Harmful chemicals||Embracing eco-efficient materials reduces the requirement of chemicals. Secondly, the production plant must take care of chemical waste and treatment management.|
|Water usage & discharge
|The manufacturing process must participate in saving water, and the treatment of contaminated water before it is released into the environment. It could be treated and reused as well.|
The production process must practice less usage of energy. Otherwise, the alternatives to the same are sustainable energies like, solar, hydro, biomass, geothermal, and wind, which tend to be renewable at the same time.
The products of fast and mass-produce engage in the unethical practice of exploitation of the workers in this industry as the demand requires the use of cheap materials and cheap labor to gain more profit in a short time. This may often lead to underpaid and not given a rightfully safe environment and facilities to work.
A socially sustainable business is one that practices fair and equal hiring, hiring a diverse range of different people, and ensuring they have a voice in the organization. Socially sustainable businesses also care about the health, wellbeing, and success of their employees — as well as the residents of the cities and countries in which they operate.
Fairtrade as it helps the third world while socially responsible production can help disabled people by creating jobs for them. These are the three main factors that refer to social responsibility in a sustainable product.
- Avoiding and standing against child labor
- Socially responsible production.
4. BIODEGRADABLE PACKAGING
Packaging protects the products as a protective covering for the product. while packaging adds tons of non-biodegradable waste to landfills every year. sustainable product companies always attempt to decrease this number and to encourage biodegradable material. they are responsible for the packaging that comes along with the products we buy. They generally packed sustainable products in recycled paper or eco-friendly products.
How do you know the product that you love is sustainable?
The label can help you make sustainable choices and identify sustainable products. The labels on a product will reveal how the product is made and what its environmental impact might be.
there are components that you should consider in the label.
Was product made from recycled materials or renewable resources;
Was the product made up of harmful chemicals?
Were resources are utilized efficiently during processing?
Is 100 percent biodegradable, or;
Was manufactured using ethically sourced labor
Is packaging eco-friendly?
Is product adverse impacts on the environment and public health?
You may also see marks of approval from formal standards and organizations, like the Organization. These organizations identify, analyze, and label the relative sustainability of different products.
In simple terms, a product that is manufactured or proceeded by a certain brand needs to fulfill certain prescribed standards or criteria. These criteria reveal that the product is socially responsible, has minimal environmental impact, and is financially beneficial for all those involved.
The tables below offer a simpler way to identify how a food certification programs so you can assume that product you are buying met some high standard, assuring it is indeed sustainable.
|Organization||What they analyze||Certify product’s or brands|
|Certified B Corporation||Impact of Brand’s operation’s on the workers, environment, and customers.||social and environmental performances|
|Fair Trade Certified||the supply chain of a product makes sure farmers/workers are paid fairly for their work and products.||As a responsible brand to empower farmers, workers, and protect the environment.|
|PETA Approved Vegan||there is no strict monitoring of compliance with the requirements, The certificate is issued in good faith.||made of vegan alternatives|
|bluesign||brand’s environmental footprint and employment practices.||Resource productivity and consumer safety.|
|Ethical Trading Initiative||The working conditions of workers based on the code of labor practice||supply chains are ethical and transparent.|
|Global Organic Textile Standard||The textile products contain a minimum of 70% organic fibers for all chemicals along with certain environmental and ecological, toxicological aspects.||quality assurance of the product|
|Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)||what a product is made of and how it impacts the environment across its entire life cycle.||product is environmentally superior to alternatives.|
|Safer Choice||ingredients and their impact on human health and the environment.||safe for human health and the environment.|
|toxic chemicals for children’s clothing and sleepwear||quality assurance which processes and product quality.|
|Green Good Housekeeping||Measures product’s lifestyle and its environmental impact.||signifies to consumers that a product manufacturing strides towards being environmentally sound.|
Remember, be an informed shopper. Read the labels and choose the product responsibly to achieve a sustainable lifestyle!