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Category: Recycling     Views: 2,547

Eco-friendly Design - The Truth About Recycling

Problem

Is eco-friendly design a simple buzzword that allows manufacturers to hike up their prices while giving consumers the false belief that we are doing something good for the planet? I have to admit that to me the name eco-friendly design evokes images of houses clad in green grass and powered with solar panels while the walls are made from straw-like materials or clay.

But do we really have to go to such extremes to use eco-friendly designs? I'm pretty sure most of you wonder about the validity of all things eco. It's clear that the word has taken on its very own magnitude with companies all too quick to jump on the frenzied bandwagon to become part of the revolution. But unfortunately not all recycled materials are equal. Some are actually loaded with poison and the dream house with its eco-friendly design you built could well become a trap for illness.

Solution

Don't just go green with eco-friendly design - make sure the materials are safe for you and the environment:

Not so long ago I read a disturbing article that was describing the potential effects our green designs had on us health-wise. While the eco industry has come about in leaps and bounds during the last five years it is clear that we still need to adhere to stricter regulations, much like the food labelling industry.

Green labels for eco-friendly design:

To be 100% certain that the materials we deal with are actually safe for us and the environment we need to an official controlling body that determines the rules and uses strict measures to control the quality. This body will have to operate worldwide.

We need formaldehyde-free cupboards in our kitchens, toxic-free paints on our walls, and a general assurance that when we build green using eco-friendly designs we can do so without the use of harmful and unseen chemicals.

Effectiveness / Result

The hidden dangers in recycled materials:

Despite increasing consumer awareness for green building materials we need more stringent control. So when we choose eco-friendly designs we can do so with peace of mind, knowing their impact on the environment is minimal if all.

At the same time we have to be realistic, because unless we deal with local produce only, there will always be some measures of impact due to shipping and transport issues.

The biggest evil if there is such a word in the green energy industry is the very stuff we often hail as 'the thing.' Recycled materials warrant much closer scrutiny from official bodies because many of them contain poison.

Many manufacturers still choose to use:

  • formaldehyde,
  • carcinogens,
  • and vinyl, of which all contain harmful chemicals.

Coming back to the green labelling system we could have security measures in place to inform the consumer whether an eco-friendly design product is actually safe to use or not.

The downside of an eco-friendly design control:

It quickly becomes apparent that if such a body will ever exist it will hurt us in other places, namely on our hips. It is hard to imagine an eco-friendly design control body without cost inflation of the product.

One thing is for sure, we have come a long way in the past two decades and I have no doubt that we are barely scratching the surface of the go green industry. Renewable energy is in its baby steps and the future is certainly looking very promising to all of us who welcome eco-friendly design solutions in our homes.

Where to apply eco-friendly design control:

The following eco-industries are all abuzz with popularity and my suggestion is to offer some sort of control to give consumers labels they can verify for standards. Right now each of those already has labelling measures in place but what we lack to date is a master labelling system that sorts the apples from the oranges when we need eco-friendly design:

  • Eco-friendly furniture
  • Eco-friendly buildings
  • Eco-friendly paints
  • Eco-friendly interior design
  • Eco-friendly decorating
  • Eco-friendly clothing

 

Submitted by Eco Warrior on Sep 16, 2009