Benefits of organic and natural for the environment
Wildlife and the environment: Organic farms have been found to be considerably higher in biodiversity than non-organic farms and contribute substantially less to diffuse water pollution and soil contamination.
Climate change: An organic farm uses 50% less energy than a non-organic farm to produce the same amount of food. This is, in the main, attributable to the lack of chemical fertilisers used in organic systems, the production and transportation of which is responsible for large amounts of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions.
To reduce the environmental and health impacts of our shopping it is worth considering the following, and the effects they can have on the environment:
Petrochemicals: Many products we buy (such as paints, cleaning products, and plastics) are often derived from petrochemicals (crude oil), which are a non-renewable resource and associated with accelerated CO2 release. It is therefore preferable to look for non-petrochemical based products when possible.
Persistent and synthetic chemicals: Not all potentially harmful chemicals are legislated against, for example, current legislation requires that 60% of the surfactant in cleaning products has decomposed within 28 days of use. However, other functional chemicals, such as those for colour and fragrance, have no such safeguards. Consider the contents of every product that ends up going down a drain and into our soils and watercourses. Remember that ecosystems are better able to process natural compounds than synthetic ones, but that natural ones can still be harmful if a system becomes overloaded.
Life cycle and transportation energy: the amount of energy that has been used to produce a product is also important.
Other factors to consider are whether the product consumes energy unnecessarily through its life, whether it is easy and safe to dispose of at the end of its life, the amount of packaging it comes with, and the distance it has travelled.