Eco-friendly. Organic. All natural.
Whether you’re new to picking out environmentally-friendly products or you’ve been a sustainable shopper for years, you’ve probably already noticed dozens of different eco-labels as you scan store shelves.
But what do they really mean? And are all of them valid?
It’s important to know manufacturers and service providers can create their own “green” claims and symbols, however, the most credible eco-labels are certified or awarded by an impartial third party. That’s how you really know you’re buying a product that has been assessed and its sustainability claims have been verified. Research, of course, is key to understanding which labels are certified and which ones are not.
Lowe’s offers a number of products that have certified eco-labels on their packaging. Need help spotting a few? Here is a list of some of the most common, environmentally-friendly products featuring a certified eco-label you can find at Lowe’s:
- FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council. FSC is an independent, non-government, nonprofit that helps protect the world’s forests for future generations. This certification is completely voluntary and when products carry this label, it means they have come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits. FSC has three variations of its label: FSC 100%, FSC Recycled, and FSC Mix. Read more about each label on the FSC’s website.
- Some products you’re likely to find an FSC label on are things like lumber and even certain types of patio furniture.
- The ENERGY STAR label is a government-backed symbol established by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). This label represents the effort to save energy, save money and protect the climate. Products with these labels have been independently certified and must contribute significant energy savings, deliver measurable performance and feature the label where it’s easily visible to customers.
- You’ve probably seen the ENERGY STAR label on a variety of appliances, but did you know you can also buy ENERGY STAR rated roof shingles?
- The Safer Choice label is also regulated by the EPA. Strict requirements ensure products with the Safer Choice label are made with safer chemical ingredients, without giving up any quality or performance. In addition to regulating product ingredients, the EPA also ensures the product performance, PH and packaging are safe for you, your family, pets, workers’ health, fish and the environment.
- You’re likely to see this label on some laundry supplies, but you might also find it on other cleaning products, like a granite and stone cleaner.
- Organic labels aren’t just for the grocery store. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) has strict production and labeling requirements for products that carry an Organic label. Generally, it means these products are produced without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, GMOs, antibiotics and more. There are a few different kinds of Organic labels: 100% Organic, Organic, or Made with Organic. Read details about each label on the USDA’s website.
- Plant soil is a common place you’ll find an Organic label. Lesser-known products that might also carry the label are certain kinds of bedding.
- Products with a GREENGUARD certification are verified through Greenguard Environmental Institute (GEI) which is an independent, third-party, nonprofit. This label can be found on indoor products that have met strict chemical emissions limits, which helps reduce indoor air pollution and the risk of chemical exposure.
- Check out the paint department and you’re likely to find this label on some of the paint cans. But that’s not the only place. You can also find the GREENGUARD label on some insulation products.
- GreenCircle Certified is also a third-party organization that can provide other companies certification of their environmental claims. GreenCircle marks represent products that make a sustainable claim, have been verified and given a specific GreenCircle label that provides a clear message to customers. Those label certifications include: Recycled Content, Certified Energy Savings, Closed Loop Product, Life Cycle Assessment Optimized, Biobased and Rapidly Renewable Resource Content and Recycle Material.
- When shopping for spray foam insulation, you might spot one of these labels. But other products like roofing adhesive might also carry the label.