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How do you recognise sustainable products in the supermarket?

How do you recognise a sustainable product in the supermarket? Thanks to the many labels, of course. But what does a recognised eco-label look like and which one can you trust? We guide you through the different departments of the classic supermarket, from vegetables to breakfast cereals.

There are many ways to recognise sustainable products. At ETIKL we always use four that help us decide whether to offer a product in our webshop in the near future. We put those critical glasses on for you, but these criteria can also help you in your daily life and choices.

The label

Hold on: in total there are 106 sustainability labels for products in Belgium and the Netherlands alone. A whole jumble of standards that have been laid down on a European, national or local level. The most important and best-known labels are the EU Biolabel, the EU Ecolabel, Fairtrade and CO²-neutral. Luckily, you can recognise sustainable products by more elements than just a label.

The origin

If you order a bamboo drinking bottle from Canada when there are plenty of producers of sustainable drinking bottles in Europe, you are not making a sustainable choice. As a consumer it is not always easy to find out where a drinking bottle is made, even if you buy it from a Belgian or Dutch web shop. You could check the brand, but again: there are plenty of Belgian and Dutch brands that produce in countries like Bangladesh. There is a need for an organisation to check this for you. And ETIKL is happy to do that for you. Soon, we will be launching a web shop that only sells sustainable products.

The material

European produced or not, you should always check what material you buy. Recycled plastic, paper, or a jacket made from recycled clothes: they are obviously better for the environment. But again, as we said in our article on the meaning of sustainability, a product that lasts longer than a disposable variant is the better choice.

The price

Do sustainable products have to be expensive? Absolutely not, but the price of an item will give you a good indication. Buy a wool coat from China and it costs you 30 euros including shipping? Then you can start asking questions about the materials used to make the coat, whether a fair wage for the maker can be paid and of course: the quality of the coat. Sustainable choices should definitely not be expensive, but be realistic: they do not come at a bargain price.

Do you think there is an ultimate tip for recognising sustainable products that is missing here? Share it with us on Facebook, Instagram or at