Green and Natural Industry Standards
In every industry it seems folks are trying to determine the right standards to set; to ask of themselves and their suppliers, around everything from their ingredients to manufacturing methods. Industries are developing new and various seals of approval to indicate new standards of quality. Some want higher, tougher standards, others less. Customers often are left not knowing who to trust, what to ask.
We thought it helpful for you to see what standards we use, in determining what we carry on TheNaturalStore.com.
What Exactly Does Natural Mean?
Wondering exactly what the word “natural” even means when you see it on a package? We do. We ask each of our natural suppliers about their own natural standards and practices. After nearly a decade in the natural market, we’ve gained knowledge and built strong relationships with industry leaders, in order to bring you the best selection of natural product choices available online. For us, “natural” isn’t a buzzword or fad that will go out of style. It’s part of our long term and serious commitment to offering our customers the finest products available.
We’ve developed standards for the products that we offer that we firmly hold to. For us to consider a product natural it must meet these requirements:
- No artificial colors or dyes used
- Contains no mineral oils or petrolatum
- Not tested on animals
- Free of harsh chemicals and known skin irritants
- Full disclosure labeling
- Meets Good Manufacturing Process (GMP) Standards
Eco-Friendly Product Attributes
Most of us who “shop natural” are looking for the best, safest products for our selves, our families, homes, pets, and even the planet. Many of the products we offer like water filtering systems, or rechargeable batteries, aren’t “natural’, but help us live greener; more environmentally friendly. But what qualifies a product as “green” or eco-friendly is often difficult to standardize or define.
At TheNaturalStore.com, we look for a variety of product attributes, as well as a demonstrated commitment from their makers. We use a set of guiding criteria to help us qualify the products we carry on our site: Specifically we look at three key areas:
1. Materials & Manufacturing: Learn the process and materials by which the product is made, such as their:
- Minimal environmental impact, artificial materials, or toxicity
- Minimal of alternative packaging; materials used were made without endangering any species or environments
- Manufacturing without endangering the health of people or animals
2. Energy or Resource-Saving: Does the product’s use encourage environmental, “greener living”?
- Minimizing waste, energy, and other natural resource consumption
- Household water reduction
- Battery re-charging
- Does using the product limit energy or other natural resources and waste?
- Is it more eco-friendly than similar products on the market?
- Does it encourage a sustainable lifestyle?
- Does it have a positive effect on the health of the user? Is it Energy Star® certified?
3. Product Life Cycle & Disposal: Understand the long-term effects of what we buy:
- Did the producers create it to have a long life and healthy product lifecycle?
- Can its materials be safely or easily reused,
- Is it easily recycled – or made from recycled materials?
- Are resources used scarce or renewable,
- Is it biodegradable:
- Can this product be disposed of safely?
Developing Your Own Standards
Because sustainability can be subjective, and isn’t black or white, or necessarily quantifiable there are many other questions you may want to consider when determining if a product is eco-friendly. Learn more. Develop your own standards:
- Is the product made of eco-friendly materials? Are they scarce resources?
- Were fair trade practices employed in acquiring them?
- Are there more local alternatives?
- Does the product include sustainable source materials such as bamboo?
- Does the manufacturing process take the ecosystem’s health into consideration?
- Are fossil fuels burnt releasing harmful greenhouse gasses into the air?
- Has the producer made efforts to use renewable energy sources such as wind, hydro, or solar?
We Partner with the Industry Leaders
It’s not likely a product will meet all of these product attributes but we honor our vendors’ demonstrated efforts in addressing them and the issues that surround them. Many of the brands we partner with are pioneers; leaders in the natural or green product industries, who have developed standards and guidelines of their own, serving as needed inspiration to others. A range of government agencies, industries and businesses are working on clearer consumer guidelines around green products. But until these are set, at TheNaturalStore.com, we look for these product attributes, and encourage you to do the same. Find out more about the products you use. When you love them, or if you don’t, let us know by writing reviews. Share your thoughts with others wanting to learn.