The term “eco-friendly” is used to describe activities which are good for the environment. It is a shortening of “ecologically friendly,” and you may also hear terms like “environmentally friendly” or “green” used to describe similar activities. There are a range of ways in which activities can be eco or environmentally friendly, ranging from products which are constructed in an environmentally friendly way to making lifestyle changes which are designed to benefit the environment.
People engage in eco-friendly activities because they are concerned about the health of the environment. Environmental issues were first pushed to the forefront of the collective consciousness in the late 1900s, when people realized that their activities were having a negative impact on the environment. Pollution, rampant use of natural resources, and other activities were questioned in light of information about how these activities hurt the environment, and people began to look into more environmentally friendly ways of living and doing business.
Many savvy companies realized that investing in green product development would pay off, and lines of eco-friendly products can be found in many regions of the world today as a result. These products are usually made in factories which are environmentally friendly, such as facilities built from recycled materials which use solar panels for power, and they are made from components which are also good for the environment, like plant-sourced ingredients for soaps, or recycled metal for electronics. Product packaging, advertisements, and other materials may also be environmentally friendly.
Strictly speaking, eco-friendly products still have an impact on the environment, but the impact is greatly reduced when compared to conventionally produced products. In some cases, environmentally friendly products may even have a positive benefit, depending on how the company does business. Many such products are also aimed at lifestyle changes which benefit the environment, so even if the product itself is not totally neutral, the actions undertaken by the consumer after buying the product are beneficial. For example, eco-friendly light bulbs require energy and resources to make, but they save energy once they are installed in a home.
Products are not the only thing which can be environmentally friendly. Activities can also be friendly to the environment, as in the case of things like carpooling, gardening, composting, and recycling. Some people think that eco-friendly products are only the first step, and that people who are really committed to the environment also need to modify their lifestyles, reducing the amount of resources they use by living more efficiently.