Although they are often more expensive, organic products have a number of important benefits that may make them worth the extra cost. From protecting the environment to safe-guarding your health, it is important to consider the big picture when evaluating the merits of organic products.
Environmental Benefits of Organic Products
The production of organic products, particularly food products like organic eggs, tends to be much more environmentally friendly. Some of the environmental benefits of organic agriculture are not intuitive, however. Organic products carry both subtle and clear environmental benefits.
Organic Food Is More Sustainable
Organic food production is a better way to farm long-term. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) indicates that one of the most important environmental benefits of organic agriculture is the fact that it takes into account the long-term consequences of agriculture almost by design.
Organic Agriculture May Help Climate Change
Switching to organic agriculture could be instrumental in the fight against climate change and declining energy reserves. The FAO argues that organic agriculture involves a lower input of non-renewable energy, which is used extensively in the production of agrochemicals. The Regional Environmental Center in Turkey lists organic farming as part of a system of greenhouse gas reduction in the field of agriculture.
Organic Agriculture Is Better for Soil
Researchers for the Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences journal have indicated that with organic agriculture, the agricultural soil has a higher organic matter content and the rate of soil loss decreases. Having a solid foundation of agricultural soil is essential to the long-term stability of the global food supply and global ecosystems.
Organic Farming Does Less Harm to Eco-Systems
Organic agriculture is better for the natural world in general. Conventional agriculture can interfere with the ecological services that are already vital, albeit silent, contributors to society. The FAO indicates that organic agriculture does not interfere with ecological services.
Compared with non-organic agriculture, organic agriculture produces much less pollution. Organic farms use fewer chemicals than conventional farms, so fewer chemicals leach into the environment as a result of organic farming.
Organic Products Contain Fewer Environmentally Damaging Chemicals
Non-organic clothes, cleaners, and personal care products are all made with chemicals that can get into the environment at some point during their production or disposal. For instance, the parabens that are commonly found in cleaners and beauty products often reach natural surface waters, according to a study published in the journal Exotoxicology. The consumer site SafeCosmetics.org reports that many organic beauty products are paraben-free.
Economic Benefits of Organic Products
While the economic benefits of organic products are somewhat controversial, proponents of organic products have been able to argue in their favor in terms of economics. There are a number of economic benefits to consider.
Sales of Organic Products Are Economically Significant
The organic industry is a thriving one as indicated by Agri-Pulse. Organic products in the United States represented $35.1 billion in sales in 2013, and that number is steadily increasing.
Organic Products Offer New Business Opportunities
Successful industries can create widespread economic benefits, and the organic industry is fueling entrepreneurship, as indicated by Purdue University. As organic products increase in popularity, this new niche is creating new opportunities for people interested in starting organic businesses.
Organic Farming Creates Jobs and Improves Income
- Organic farming could be vital in terms of job creation. The Worldwatch Institute (WI) refers to research that suggests that if every British farm became an organic farm, it would result in the addition of 93,000 new jobs.
- The WI indicates that widespread organic farming could help developing countries, helping them generate profit. Organic products could be vital parts of developing economies.
- The Union of Concerned Scientists indicates that increased sales from the products of organic dairy farming led to improvements in labor income, output, employment, and gross state product, in contrast to a similar increase in sales involving the products of conventional dairy farming. It is possible that similar results would be seen with other organic products.
Health and Personal Benefits of Organic Products
Many people specifically purchase organic products for their health and personal benefits. They would not be motivated to do so for abstract economic and environmental reasons. Fortunately, the health and personal benefits of organic products are extensive.
Organic Clothing Doesn't Contain Harmful Chemicals
Organic clothing isn't going to contain the harmful chemicals that are found in many mainstream brands of clothing. Worryingly, children's clothing has been found to contain many different toxins, as indicated in a technical report by Greenpeace. Fortunately, there are plenty of affordable and stylish organic clothing options out there.
Organic Clothing Is Better for Allergies
A number of people are allergic to the resins found in non-organic clothing, especially formaldehyde resins, as Everyday Health (EH) indicates. People may find that their allergic reactions will disappear after they switch to organic clothing.
Organic Cleaning Products Are Less Irritating
Non-organic cleaners often irritate people's hands because of the chemicals as indicated by EH. People that choose organic products instead may not experience these problems.
Organic Food Contains Less Pesticide Residue
Organic food is ultimately healthier than non-organic food. The exact health benefits of organic foods are widely debated. Many people object to non-organic foods on account of the pesticides and other chemicals that they usually contain. The University of Arizona indicates that while more information is needed before researchers can determine whether organic food contains more nutrients relative to non-organic food, organic foods do contain fewer pesticide residues.
Organic Food May Be Better for Your Health
Non-organic food can cause indirect health problems. Some of the potential health consequences of non-organic foods are surprising. For example, the American Diabetes Association published a study connecting pesticides to diabetes, illustrating the fact that chemicals can interact with human anatomy and physiology in complicated ways.
Organic Food May Taste Better
Some people believe that organic food is more flavorful. The Organic Center indicates that 43 percent of consumers specifically select organic food for the flavor.
Organic Beauty Products Don't Contaminate Food
Non-organic beauty products are contaminating food supplies. A Czech study indicates that humans may be ingesting the toxic phthalates in shampoo, which may eventually contaminate produce. The situation is a perfect example of the fact that the chemicals that are used in various beauty products do not exist in a vacuum. Even if people are not harmed by using shampoo directly, the indirect effects of the chemicals in shampoo may accumulate in more ways than one.
The Grand Switch to Organic Products
Making the switch to organic products can improve your life in a number of ways, from helping the planet to reducing chemical irritation on your skin. There are many great organic items on store shelves, so consumers have a lot of shopping choices if they want to realize the benefits of going organic.