Why Buy Greener Products?
Products can have a wide variety of potential human health and environmental impacts including:
- Toxic exposures
- Air pollution
- Water pollution
- Climate change
- Natural resource use (e.g., energy, water, materials)
- Waste disposal
- Ecosystem damages
These impacts may occur at just one or at many places throughout the product's life cycle: e.g., extracting raw materials, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, retailing, and product use, repair or maintenance, and disposal.
Different products have different human health or environmental "hotspots" of concern. For example:
- Greener office carpeting 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.
- Greener cleaning products should contain safer chemical ingredients and may also try to minimize packaging waste.
By looking for greener products when you shop, you will be joining millions of Americans in helping protect human health and the environment. For more information on why to buy greener products, here are some resources below.
Human health and environmental impacts of products
- EPA website on Sustainable Materials Management
- EPA report: Opportunities to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions through Materials and Land Management Practices September 2009 (PDF)
- Consumer Product Information Database
Results achieved by product sustainability programs
- Global Electronics Council (GEC) results from purchasing EPEAT-registered products
- The Direct and Indirect Benefits of the European Ecolabel – Final Report for DG Environment at the European Commission (PDF)
- EU report, Green Public Procurement in Europe (PDF)