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Eco2: Sustainable Design

Conveniently, the title of this post is the name of my favourite course this semester.  Sustainable design is, "a philosophical approach to design that seeks to maximize the quality of the built environment, while minimizing or eliminating the negative impact to the environment."(McLennan).

And while in theory, buying eco-friendly products sounds like a great idea, it isn't necessarily easy to find.  There is a term in environmental studies called Green Washing.  This is when products appear to be envrionmentally-friendy, when in fact that may not be the case.  How many times have you been to a store and seen a product with the words "natural" on the label?  Have you ever read the label and still found a list of chemical-based products?  Unlike organic food, which is more strictly regulated, consumer products do not have a level of accountability to ensure they are actually good for the environment.  And while many feel they are doing their due-dilligence by "researching" the product first, they can often be lead astray.  Again, have you ever been reading a bloggers post on a certain product or brand, only to see that it's sponsored at the bottom?  While doing research is a great way to become better informed, it can also be misleading, inaccurate, by being sponsored by a brand trying to promote their objective.

While I don't often learn what brands are "good" in my classes, I am learning criteria to look for when making informed purchases.  And I'd love to share that information with all of you.

First off: Forest Stewardship Council, or the FSC:

FSC is an international certification and labeling system dedicated to promoting responsible forest management of the world’s forests.

This means that forests are evaluated to meet FSC’s strict environmental and social standards. Fibre from certified forests is then tracked all the way to the consumer through the FSC Chain of Custody system. FSC-certified wood, paper and other forest products are then sold with the FSC label by certified companies in the marketplace. 

FSC enables businesses and consumers to make informed choices about the forest products they buy, and create positive change to keep our forests healthy for generations to come. (1)

(This is the symbol you want to look for on packaging!)

While there have been flaws cited with this certification process, it's a great way to better inform yourself of more sustainable options. 

Conveniently, Ikea has come along way in making some of their items for sustainable (Note: not everything there is; generally, if it seems cheap and too good to be true, it probably is).  You can follow 
this link to learn more about Ikea's responsibility ethics.  I'll be doing some more research in the coming weeks (specifically going to Ikea to find out more), and letting you know which items are best, both ascetically and sustainably.

Until next time,

Happy sustainable shopping,

xoxo K