Is Organic Always Green? 5 Tips on Knowing the Difference

As a mom, it makes sense that you would want to surround your children with a healthy environment and feed them in the best way possible. Chances are that you’ve been looking for green or organic options when it comes to the things that your child comes into contact with. Did you know, however, that organic isn’t always green?

It’s a fact that shocks most people because the terms have become somewhat synonymous with each other. Green, eco-friendly, environmentally-friendly, all-natural and organic have all taken on the same context in our minds, thanks to advertising. It’s important that you know, though, that by simply choosing organic, you may not be selecting the greenest option. Here are five facts that you should know:

1. The Definition of Organic

When you see a product labeled as “organic”, you probably assume that it is more natural than its counterparts, and you would be correct. The term organic refers to the way products are both grown and processed. Organic products are grown without the use of synthetic chemicals and are free of toxins. Organic products also lack heavy metals, thus increasing their biodegradability.

2. The Definition of Certified Organic

The USDA now oversees the NOP, or National Organic Program. To be certified organic, a product or item must have been grown in accordance with the strict standards set forth by the NOP. In addition, any food labeled as certified organic must meet the standards of the Organic Foods Production Act, established in 1990.

Parents should know, however, that there is no regulatory committee that oversees the labeling of a product as organic, green, natural or hypo-allergenic. If you are looking for organic products specifically, you must look for a label that states that the product is “certified organic” to be sure that it has been grown and produced in accordance with these standards.

3. Organic Furniture

If you are looking for furniture, you should know that there is really no such thing as organic furniture. You can find reclaimed or recycled furniture, but you’ll never find truly organic furniture. The good news is that when furniture is labeled as organic, what it means is that the materials used to paint, stain, stuff or cover the frame of the furniture is organic. There’s nothing wrong with buying organic furniture, it’s often the safer, less-toxic choice, but you should know that the label can be misleading.

4. Organic Food

Many people wonder what makes food organic. Organic food is that which is produce using no synthetic chemicals like pesticides and growth hormone. Organic food can be more expensive but is the perfect choice for those with allergies or sensitivities to chemicals commonly used to grow or preserve foods.

5. Organic v. Green

When you are trying to buy green, you need to consider many factors. How much energy was expended making the product you are considering buying? How much fuel was used to transport the product to your local store? For instance, if your grocery store is stocked with organic apples from Washington, they may be less green than choosing apples grown at the local orchard.

Don’t assume that because a product is labeled as organic that you are making the kindest choice for the environment. Rather than concentrating on the label, look, instead, for items and foods that are produced locally. Additionally, reclaimed or recycled items may be greener than those labeled as organic. By purchasing recycled and reclaimed items, you will be saving space in the landfill. Knowledge is power when it comes to making smart choices; it pays to know the difference between green and organic!

About the Author

Lindsey Harris is an environmentalist and Eco-interior decorator. When she’s not designing she blogs for erikorganic.com, a great site to find custom dining room tables and other furniture!

*Image: ponsulak / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*