What Makes a Product "Greener?"
The answer to what makes a product "green" can be complicated. Consider the multiple potential impacts to human health and the environment throughout the product's life cycle — from product raw material extraction to manufacture through use and disposal.
Many factors come into play:
- Toxic exposures
- Air pollution
- Water pollution
- Climate change
- Stratospheric ozone depletion
- Natural resource use (e.g., energy, water, materials)
- Waste disposal
- Ecosystem damages
Different products have different human health or environmental "hot spots" of concern. For example:
- Office carpeting that has been "greened" may use safer raw materials in the manufacturing stage and have a modular design that allows for easy disassembly and recycling once the usefulness is complete.
- Environmentally preferable cleaning products should contain safer chemical ingredients and may also try to minimize packaging waste.
EPA works with manufacturers, environmental organizations, consumer groups, and our federal and state partners to support the development of standards and criteria for greener products using EPA's scientific expertise.