How do your ‘Green Credentials’ stack up?
Alongside the prominent voices of David Attenborough and Gretta Thunberg, consumers are increasingly protesting the devastating effects of climate change, even amid a global pandemic.
In the discussion of climate change you’ll hear terms such as Sustainability, Eco-Friendly, and Green being used interchangeably. However, there are key differences in their definitions which are important to understand when playing our part in the fight against climate change. What do they truly mean, and how can we action truly sustainable design?
Sustainability refers to human activity coexisting with our planet, without exploitation of resources resulting in a negative effect on the lives of future generations. The availability and accessibility of sustainable alternatives to interior design materials are getting greater each day. Sustainable materials such as bamboo, locally sourced natural stone, recycled materials (glass, paper, aluminium), among others, are highly versatile in their applications and can offer visually stunning results whilst mitigating environmental impact.
Eco-Friendly is often found on the packaging of products and simply means that they’re not harmful to the environment. For a product to be certified as eco-friendly it must be able to demonstrate, through a voluntary process, that it is generally better for the environment than comparable products. Examples include the use of LED lighting or using eco-friendly adhesives, water-based paint, plaster boards, etc. Being certified with an eco-label means that it’s produced or used in an environmentally less damaging way, but does not necessarily mean that it is sustainable. There are many different types of eco-friendly certifications, each with their own measures and requirements for applications. For more information on eco-labels, click here.
Green is a much broader term for things and practices that don’t have a negative impact on the environment. You can ‘be more green’ through making considered choices such as recycling, reducing and reusing, which can be applicable to anything from building sustainable design to material choices. Today, with innovations in manufacturing and recycling, there are more green alternatives than ever before. Plastics recycled from old phones, industrial waste, and even waste found out at sea, are now being transformed into beautiful modern surfaces and objects that mirror, if not exceed, the qualities of their traditional counterparts.
The gold standard, when it comes to sustainable design, is Circular Economy. It considers the full life cycle of materials including the energy used to create them and how it can be used again when no longer needed in its current form. Counter to the traditional model of “take, make, dispose”, a Circular system looks to “reuse, share, repair, refurbish, remanufacture, and recycle”. It encompasses a Green mindset, Eco-Friendly measures, and Sustainability at its core.
Consuming responsibly by opting for eco-friendly products and being more green in our actions will help us to lead more sustainable lives. Guided by environmental considerations to help reduce consumption, pollution and waste, we have the information, technology and innovation to make a difference and create a sustainable example for future generations to follow.