There are two key “green” standards that are regularly used by product manufacturers “Ecolabel” and “Cradle to Cradle” but how green are they and what do they really mean?
What is Ecolabel?
Ecolabel is a EU government backed labelling scheme primarily for food and consumer items, but is sometimes used for commercial products such as cleaning products. The Ecolabel is a voluntary accreditation available to show that a product meets the EU environmental government regulations. Companies adopting this standard are either manufacturers, importers, wholesalers, or retailers”. As an EU standard, with Brexit looming, Ecolabel could become less relevant in the UK?
In recent years, in addition to government schemes like Ecolabel there have been a number of “green” labels all attempting to create the impression that these products are 100% eco-friendly. However, there are significantly varying standards and requirements across these various marks.
How green is Ecolabel?
Industries are slowly becoming aware that environmental concerns must be taken seriously. The Ecolabel is a recognised symbol and this acts as a benefit for the products and manufactures. Yet, a product with the Ecolabel sticker doesn’t have to be 100% green but can have green “elements” or just one element. Typically, this is around the biodegradability of the chemicals and often whether the waste water contains surfactants. Once the Ecolabel is granted the applicant must keep their products up to date and ensue they are taking the responsibility promised on the packaging.
What is Cradle to Cradle?
Cradle to Cradle takes a more holistic approach across the products life-cycle. It’s an independent standard and the ethos of the company is to offer 100% Eco-friendly cleaning products. It aims to ensure an “optimistic agenda for the continuous support around social issues, environmental and economic concerns”. The Cradle to Cradle standard has created five key categories used to highlight all green commercial elements.
Cradle to Cradle Categories
- Material Health – Recyclable packaging
- Material Reutilization – Using only natural ingredients for the cleaning agents
- Renewable Energy and Carbon Management
- Water Stewardship -Using water responsibly protecting rivers and streams.
- Social Fairness – Exposure of people working with/coming into contact with the products
These five aspects are fundamental parts of the Cradle to Cradle standards and their total requirement ensures all products are carefully and completely considered. One of the most important things to remember is that going green often can save money.