Friday, July 19, 2013

Are Eco-Friendly and Organic Same Thing?

“One person can make all the difference in the world. For the first time in recorded human history, we have the fate of the whole planet in our hands.” 
Chrissie Hynde

The terms ‘Eco-friendly’, ‘organic’, ‘natural’ ‘herbal’ are tossed so much around that usually they are considered one and the same thing often used interchangeably. So do they mean the same thing?

Not necessarily. As per the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP), India, defines organic as “Products that are grown under a system of agriculture without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides with an environmentally and socially responsible approach”. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program, organic is “a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods. These methods integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used.”

Products that are made with organic raw materials such as organic cotton clothes, organic food products etc. are also termed as organic products.

While, eco-friendly products literally means that the products that do not harm the ecology or the environment during their manufacturing or usage. As per Wikipedia, “Environmentally friendly (also eco-friendly, nature friendly, and green) are ambiguous terms used to refer to goods and services, laws, guidelines and policies claimed to inflict reduced, minimal, or no harm at all, upon ecosystems or the environment.”

So, organic automatically means eco-friendly as they are not harming the environment during their growth, but eco-friendly not necessarily means organic.

So which is better?

“I feel more confident than ever that the power to save the planet rests with the individual consumer.”  (Denis Hayes, Chair, Earth Day Network)

In my opinion, both are good choices if you are looking forward to a healthy lifestyle. Organic food products save toxins and pesticides from entering your body, thus making you healthy. On the other hand, eco-friendly products have less effect on the environment, thus reducing the pressure on our already polluted air, water, soil and other natural resources.

However, as with any product, reading the fine print would help you to make and educated choice. It
might save you from the ‘green-washing’ that is being done in the name of giving eco-friendly or organic products. Look for certifications on the product or if possible on the website of the companies manufacturing them. Bottomline is, its all about the choices we make.