Due to the impending environmental crisis, manufacturers across the globe are using new ways to create consumer products. Sustainable products are made using cleaner production methods, renewable energy and come in environmentally-friendly packaging. Most products are made from recycled materials and can be recycled themselves at the end of their life cycles. All these efforts are aimed at making as small a footprint as possible on the environment, people and the economy.
Since they first became available in retail stores, sustainable products have been flying off the shelves. Because of their success in sales, more manufacturers are becoming greener and realizing the products’ social, economic and environmental value in the process. Sales of sustainable products are not showing signs of slowing down and it is likely these products will be around for a long time to come.
People – individuals and communities – stand to benefit from sustainable products. Consumers can enjoy the finished products, as well as the health safety that comes with newer, greener manufacturing processes. Companies are becoming more cautious about the way raw materials are collected and how they are processed, in order to reduce or eliminate their footprint on the environment. When the environment is cared for, the quality of life improves.
A greener manufacturing process means that every stage of production – from extracting materials to the disposing of the product- is cleaner and lowers overall pollution. Environment-conscious companies also use renewable energy. The most common types of renewable energy are hydroelectricity, solar power and bio fuel. Other sources include wind, tides and heat. Hydroelectricity is energy generated from water, solar from the sun and bio fuel from living plants.
In addition to using renewable energy, manufacturers utilize greener technologies as well. Biofuel is used for transportation and in some cases, electric vehicles. Green chemistry is also a rising trend, as well as energy-saving lighting and recycling. Pollution is kept to an absolute minimum to ensure the protection of the environment and people therein.
An impressive feature of sustainable products is that they can be recycled instead of being thrown away. These products are part of a closed-loop system, where recycled products are used as raw materials for new products. When the life cycle of new products ends, they are in turn used as raw materials as well. Any waste produced is healthy, non-toxic and bio-degradable.
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The performance and cost were under scrutiny when sustainable products first came on the scene. Many found products to be inferior in quality, efficiency and high in price. However, processing techniques have improved over the years. Today, sustainable products are cheaper to buy and to make, and deliver the performance consumers expect.
Sustainable products can range from solar-powered buildings to wooden sunglasses. One of the most popular line of sustainable products is produced by sportswear company PUMA. Named the InCycle collection, it includes shoes, apparel and green accessories. BMW has also introduced its range of electric cars, the urban i3 and the i8 sportscar, which run on biofuel.
The advent of sustainable products has changed the way manufacturers, individuals and communities view the environment. The product’s life cycle – from sourcing raw materials until the end of its life – is economical, safe and environmentally friendly. Sustainable products are competent, affordable and all-natural.