It's easier than ever to find products especially designed to promote a green, eco-friendly lifestyle. From items made with sustainable or recycled materials to those designed to help reduce your energy consumption or carbon footprint, there are many options to choose among.
Three Eco-Friendly Home Products
Waterpik EcoFlow Showerhead
If you're looking for a way to reduce water consumption, the EcoFlow showerhead from Waterpik is a great option to consider. While some low-flow showerheads provide a weak water stream, that is not the case with this particular item.
Waterpik sent me a sample to test, so I can report first-hand that the showerhead has excellent water pressure, even with a flow rate of just 1.6 gallons per minute (gpm), which is significantly below the legal maximum of 2.5 gpm, for maximum water-saving. Use the water savings calculator on Waterpik's website to find out how much water you can save based on your usage patterns.
- Certified with the EPA's WaterSense® label
- Available in wall-mount or handheld designs
- Very easy to install, with no special tools or plumbing expertise needed
- Has multiple spray settings, including soothing and massaging options (number of settings ranges from three to six based on specific model purchased)
- Unique 'Pause Control Dial' allows you to temporarily slow the water to a trickle (useful to conserve water while lathering, shaving, bathing children, bathing pets, etc.)
- Simple to maintain due to its self-cleaning nozzles
- Rated as a Bestcovery Best Pick for adjustable showerheads.
EcoFlow showerheads are available from The Home Depot, with prices ranging from around $15 to $45 based on particular model selected.
Roxul COMFORTBATT® Insulation
Roxul COMFORTBATT® stone wool insulation provides a way to improve the energy efficiency of your home using a sustainable product manufactured in an environmentally responsible manner. According to GoGreenStar.com, Roxul insulation is made "from natural and recycled materials using natural basalt rock and slag (a by-product of steel manufacturing)". In 2012, on his LamiDesign Blog, architect Greg La Vardera spoke out in favor of mineral wool insulation as a means "to improve the energy performance of the way we build houses." La Vardera further described Roxul as "the only mineral wool manufacturer taking the residential market seriously" in the United States.
- Designed for use in attics, crawl spaces and interior walls to promote energy savings
- Fire resistant
- Easy to cut and install
- Named as a BuildingGreen top ten green building product for 2014
- "Can recover the energy used to manufacture itself" per the company's environmental policy
Hunter Douglas Duette Architella Honeycomb Shades
If you're looking for a way to reduce your energy consumption for heating and cooling your home, it's important to consider how your windows are covered. As Energy.gov points out, "Carefully selected window treatments can reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer." Duette® Architella® pleated shades from Hunter Douglas, a company whose designs are described as timeless and traditional by King Shade and Window, utilizes patented 'honeycomb-within-a-honeycomb' construction to increase energy efficiency by stopping heat transfer.
- Can reduce "heat loss at the window by 40 percent" according to company literature
- Constructed with a honeycomb cell inside another honeycomb cell
- Provides optimal insulation with multiple layers of fabric and separate air pockets
- Recognized with GREENGUARD Certification
- Named Best Style Concept in the Window Covering Manufacturing Association's (WCMA) 2013 Product Awards
- Received honorable mention in the WCMA's 2009 Product Innovation Awards
You can find a dealer in your area via the Where to Buy page on the Hunter Douglas website. Prices vary based on size, customization, and installation.
Two Green Household Supplies
Cree Light Bulbs
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, switching to LED light bulbs can lead to significant savings on energy expenditures, as well as a significant reduction in carbon emissions. Cree light bulbs were introduced to the market in 2013 and quickly became "the best-selling LED bulb in America" according to SeekingAlpha.com. The brand's quick rise has to do with the fact that they look like traditional incandescent bulbs, as pointed out on Geek.com, and light like them as well.
A review on TheVerge.com describes the lighting quality of Cree as better than other LED bulbs, something that I have observed first-hand myself (as someone who began purchasing LED bulbs many years ago) when trying samples I received of the soft white bulbs in 40 and 60 Watts (W).
- Available in 40W, 60W, 75W and 100W sizes
- Dimmable when used in a standard dimmer
- Reaches full brightness as soon as you turn it on
- Cree True White (TW) bulbs meet California Energy Commission guidelines
- Long lasting bulbs that use less energy than incandescents; see Cree's Savings Calculator for typical savings
Cree bulbs are available at The Home Depot. Prices range from around $10 to $20 each, depending on the wattage selected. Individual bulbs and multi-packs are available.
Cascades Moka 100 Unbleached Bathroom Tissue
Cascades® Moka 100 percent recycled unbleached bathroom tissue was recognized with a gold award in the 2013 Green Manufacturer Product Innovation Awards. It is made using a new 100% recycled pulp mix that consists of 80 percent post-consumer materials and 20 percent corrugated boxes. The addition of cardboard eliminates the need to use chlorine to bleach the fiber, resulting in reduced emissions from the manufacturing process. Business Wire calls this brand the "ultimate sustainable bath tissue."
- Because the fiber is not bleached, the toilet paper has a beige color
- Holds ECOLOGO product certification
- Recognized with Chlorine Free Products Association Certification
This product is available from OfficeDepot.com in cases of 80 rolls for around $45.
Two Eco-Friendly Cooking Products
Nuwave Precision Induction Cooktop
If you're looking for a way to reduce the amount of electricity required to cook foods traditionally prepared on a stove, the Nuwave Precision Induction Cooktop is a small appliance that you may want to check out. According to the company's website, it can result in a 90 percent reduction in the amount of energy used in cooking as compared to a traditional stove (gas or electric).
I received one of these portable cooktops from a family member as a Christmas gift, and have found that it greatly speeds up the cooking process for many foods that I ordinarily prepare on the stove, resulting in a lower output of electricity.
- Works with cast iron and most steel cookware (I use it with GreenPan cookware.)
- Comes with a recipe booklet and cooking conversions for recipes designed to be prepared on a traditional stove burner
- Remains cool to the touch throughout the cooking process
- LED display
- Six temperature settings that can be adjusted in increments of ten degrees
- Easy to clean
This item is available from Amazon for around $100 (pictured).
SodaStream Source Soda Maker
If you or others in your household enjoy drinking soda, adding a SodaStream Source home soda maker to your kitchen can be a good way to cut down on the number of aluminum cans and plastic bottles that your family goes through. The Source model came out in 2013, and has been updated for style and visual appeal, as well as to convey the product's "environmental aspect through the bottle's design".
I have had one of the older model SodaStream machines for several years, and have always found it to be easy-to-use and the soda it makes has a great flavor.
Uses a BPA-free carbonating bottle to turn flavoring syrup and water into carbonated soda
Works via a CO2 canister (which can make up to 60 liters of soda)
Carbonating bottle cap is designed to preserve beverage fizz
Comes in a variety of colors, including white, black and red
Does not require electricity or batteries
Older model (Crystal) recognized as a 2010 Green GOOD DESIGN™ award recipient
The SodaStream Source starter kit is available on Amazon for under $100.
Three Green Exercise Gear Options
Adidas Element Refine Running Shoes
Introduced to the U.S. market in March of 2014, Element Refine from Adidas is designed to provide runners with the protection and support they need in an environmentally-friendly way. According to FootLocker, "the shoe's upper is made of 90% recycled PET material", which FreshnessMag describes as woven tricot. PET stands for polyethylene terephthalate, and is the same recyclable plastic resin used in items like plastic strawberry containers and peanut butter jars. These shoes are part of the Adidas Better Place Program, which focuses on developing sustainable products and reducing the company's overall environmental impact.
- The upper is a solid piece of fabric designed to behave like a second skin on the foot
- Lightweight design offering support and designed for durability
- Both women's and men's styles available in solar slime (lime green) and black
- Ladies' styles also available in neon pink
- Men's styles also available in navy/black and red/black combinations
- Purchase Element Refine from FootLocker.com for around $70.
Banyan & Bo Earth Saver Yoga Mat
According to Dancing Crow Yoga, one of the benefits of a yoga practice is that it can help you deepen your connection to the earth, so it only makes sense to seek out gear designed with sustainability in mind. The Banyan & Bo Earth Saver Yoga Mat from Gaiam is just such a product. This mat is made from durable, recyclable synthetic rubber that is 100 percent re-usable.
Gaiam sent me one of these mats to try, and I have used it in both yoga and toning classes with positive results. The mat is made to be very lightweight, which makes it easy to carry in and out of the gym. I also like the fact that it provides a bit of cushion (something not common to other yoga mats I have used).
- Extra thick (5mm) design for maximum comfort
- Synthetic rubber materials provide surface with no-slip traction
- Available in three colors: blue, charcoal and plum.
- Closed-cell construction is designed to keep the mat from holding moisture and germs
- Comes with Gaiam's Lifetime Mat Guarantee
- Can be spot-cleaned using cold water and a mild detergent
Order one from Target for around $35.
Gaiam Sol Natural Cork Block
The Sol Natural Cork Block from Gaiam is a sturdy and environmentally-friendly yoga tool. Whereas most yoga blocks are made of foam, this one is made entirely of natural cork, a material recognized for its sustainability. In a review on the Live Run Love Yoga blog, this block is described as wider and thicker than other blocks, contributed to an increased feeling of "safety and security" when practicing advanced poses.
I received a sample to try, so I can confirm firsthand the durability and stability of this block.
- Made of sustainable and recyclable natural material
- Designed to be solid and durable enough to meet the needs of advanced yogis
- Also works to provide support for beginner and intermediate level yoga practitioners
- Can serve double-duty as a seat to use in meditation.
This block is available for around $20 from Amazon (pictured).
Many Eco-Friendly Options
These are just a few examples of the many innovative ways you can incorporate green and eco-friendly items into your daily life. While it's important to avoid purchasing things that you don't really need, it is certainly a good idea to seek out sustainable solutions when you do need to replace worn out products or add new items to your home or lifestyle.