Sustainability VS. Eco friendly (What is the Difference)

  • By: greenorb
  • Date: April 25, 2021
  • Time to read: 7 min.

It’s a habit for people, especially marketers, to consistently interchange the terms sustainability and eco-friendly

Not unusual, you’ll come across them on labels for everything from sheet sets and pizza cartons to plastic bags.

You won’t be wrong to throw both terms around as they all focus on environmental awareness and social responsibility. 

Although consumers often use them together, there’s a little bit of confusion.

Sustainability vs. eco-friendly – what do these terms mean? Aren’t they the same thing? 

Unfortunately, there are some differences between them that we should know.

Notably, environmentalists recommend an eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle. 

Companies and small businesses are dedicating all their resources to provide customers with viable options.  

To clear up the dilemma, let’s curate the relationship between the close-related green terms. 

I know you’re curious to know the difference. Without further ado, let’s get started.

What’s the Difference between Sustainability and Eco-friendly?

To help reduce footprint, considerable shifts in the way companies produce their products are a must-do thing. 

We, as consumers, on the other hand, need to revisit how we dispose of these products. 

That way, our planet will stand out more than before.

Thankfully, most growing brands and small businesses are working hard to ensure that consumers get planet-friendly products, services, and even practices.

If what they claim is something to go by, we can agree that they’re conscious of the environment. 

You’ll get borage of labels consisting of green terms like;

  • eco-friendly,
  • sustainable,
  • green,
  • Non-toxic
  • Vegan and more in their products.

At the end of the day, the primary goal is to cut back on harmful practices. 

And the consumers will have nothing to worry about the purchases they make.

That’s where the words eco-friendly and Sustainability come into play. What do these terms mean?

Eco-friendly – According to Merriam-Webster, eco-friendly means ‘not environmentally harmful.’ Everything from production, manufacturing, and packaging should be favorable and safe for the planet in terms of products.

For a product to qualify as eco-friendly, the packaging process must be top-notch and environmentally responsible, says the FTC Green Guides. Otherwise, it might impact the earth negatively based on how you use it.

Sustainability – refers to ‘the practice of ensuring we don’t harm our natural resources while promoting and maintaining a good economy, yet being conscious about the future. 

In simple words, Sustainability is about the future.

The item, practice, or action must generate environmental, economic, and social benefits without causing pollution throughout the whole life cycle.

Most environmental experts like to use the word ‘sustainable’ instead of ‘eco-friendly.’ But why? When it comes to products, Sustainability is kind of higher standards because it includes eco-earthy products and activities.

When is the product considered eco-friendly?

A product qualifies to be eco-friendly if it doesn’t harm the environment. 

Eco-friendly isn’t that broad and something certifiable. Truth be told, there’s no Organic stamp or Fair Trade to confirm and cement the company’s statements. 

However, the term can provide vital information about the brand’s values and practices.  

Aforementioned, a product is genuinely eco-friendly if:

  • It has the least possible harm to the planet.
  • Some methods and materials have no lower impact on the environment as compared to other available options.
  • Products use less energy during the production process.
  • Highly biodegradable and renewable. For example, a bamboo toothbrush instead of a plastic toothbrush.

When is the product considered sustainable?

A product is considered sustainable if it provides social, environmental, and economic benefits

Sustainability precisely represents the spectrum of activities and issues that don’t compromise the future generations in their quest to meet their needs.

Any product is sustainable if;

  • It provides environmental, social, and economic benefits
  • It uses less energy during the production and manufacturing process
  • Reduces or causes no pollution

Tips on How to Shop Sustainably

You don’t purchase just because you need to – there are things to look for before buying new things. 

In fact, that’s where rigorous testing comes in. You need to ‘go green’ and achieve Sustainability. Let’s see how you can shop sustainably.

Opt for reusable products (items)

Opting to go with reusable items will ensure a zero-waste lifestyle. Bring items that are made from organic materials. 

For instance, reusable bags for pantry and produce items so that you can mow down plastic-related things.

Switching to beeswax food wraps and reusable sandwich baggies as alternatives help reduce thousands of plastic bags that later end in oceans. 

Be more conscious of the planet by avoiding these single-plastic bags.

Purchase second-hand textiles

You can live sustainably by adopting reusing products. 

Second-hand textiles like bedding and clothing may come to the rescue when it comes to the green environment.

Whether you’re ordering clothes from online sites or sharing with friends, give the existing garment a new life instead of creating something new. 

The practice looks more eco-friendly.

If an item comes from natural fibers or recycled, then no energy and water are needed in the production process.

Think about the amount you’re buying

Be mindful, and only buy what you need. On this, products require more resources and energy before you get them on your doorstep. 

During shipping, there’s potential carbon emission. Buying a few products will lessen the adverse effects on the environment.

Avoid stocking up barely-used items. Nothing more as it is time to reevaluate.

If buying new is a must, buy recyclable.

Under some circumstances, you must buy something new. 

Should this happen, pick up sustainable fiber such as organic cotton. 

These items use less toxic chemicals and water, so they’re less wasteful.

 Seek minimal packaging

This is another most incredible way of saving the planet. Omit products with secondary packaging when in grocery stores and supermarkets.

Items with minimal packaging like cardboard and papers feature recyclable materials. 

Toys and bard soaps are a great option because you can use them completely. 

Also, companies package them with sustainable materials.

How to Make Your Small Business More Sustainable

Making your business more sustainable will make a big difference. 

Remember that ‘sustainable business’ has little to no negative impacts on the local, global environment, society, community, and economy.

So, it’s something that business owners should check out keenly. 

Alongside this, a green business can promote reputation, decrease costs and create new business opportunities.

About 8 million tons of plastic waste end up in landfills and oceans every year. 

Researchers warn that plastic pollution is a non-nonsense threat to ecosystems.  

As a sustainable business, it’s critical to evaluate your energy, water, and waste decisions to boost eco-conscious customer satisfaction.

Many companies are striving hard to become greener today. 

So, where should you begin? Start off your sustainability program by employing these fascinating tricks:

Invest in natural resources

You not only need to restore but also maintain ecosystems to sustain business and society’s needs. 

Any sustainable business looks forward to reducing carbon emissions. Use either natural resources or alternative fuels rather than fossil fuels.

Recycling programs

Create recycling locations that are accessible to locals.  

Encourage your customers to bring all products once they use them optimally – after they deplete. Reward your customers with tokens once they deliver these items. 

A glass container is recyclable even if it’s 20 times.

Radical resource productivity

It’s high time we eliminate dependencies on materials and energy.

Let’s stretch the resources dug from the earth’s crust probably by a factor of 100. 

This move and commitment may tackle the problems that result in harvesting natural resources. 

It’s very risky to deplete our natural resources.

Responsible consumption

This idea may sound ambiguous to business owners. But it’s not rocket science. 

Your first role should be to encourage responsible consumption. 

Educate them on how to use these products. Besides, help them in making informed decisions.

How Can We Maintain an Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Environment?

Can you live sustainably? Absolutely yes. Environmental Sustainability is all about reducing unnecessary waste and becoming more aware of resource consumption. 

Eco-friendly activities are parts of Sustainability.

Here are the ways to maintain a sustainable environment:

  • Dispose of disposables
  • Recycle, reuse items
  • Resell and donate products
  • Ditch plastic bags
  • Save energy and water
  • Buy fair-trade items
  • Grow your food or eat locally

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Sustainability the same as green?

Not really. Although there’s a relationship between green and Sustainability, these two terms are not the same. 

Green represents everything that benefits the environment in general. That is – from action and architecture to fashion.

Sustainability reflects all green practices. 

The notion challenges us to take the next step and ensure all the resources are safe (not depleted)

How Can Consumers Know Which Company Is Truly Eco-Friendly? 

The recent trends reveal that environmental impact is a concern amongst most consumers. 

Consequently, companies are thriving in protecting the planet. So, it’s a no-brainer!

It’s no secret that many companies claim to be eco-friendly. 

However, it’s trickier to identify eco-friendly Companies available, especially when you need to buy something.

You can quickly tell whether the company is genuinely eco-friendly or not by looking at their website. 

Check whether its core mission is about environmental efforts. Another way is through their certifications and values.


Wrap Up

A sustainable and eco-friendly environment can’t be achieved that easily. 

Everyone must engage in both practices. 

Your awareness of these two words will help you live a sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle. 

All in all, we want to impact the environment positively.  

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