What makes a product eco-friendly?

Hill is the founder of TreeHugger, an online hub for news and information related to environmental sustainability.Hailed as a "green CNN," TreeHugger hosts a constantly updated blog, newsletters, video and radio segments and a user-generated Graham site, Hugg. In the three years since its inception, TreeHugger has become one of the most high-profile and highly-trafficked sites on the internet.

Recently, Hill his been hard at work developing Planet Green with Discovery Communications. Hill has also worked in a variety of industries prior to starting TreeHugger, including fashion, web-development, and plant-based air filters. He is also a designer, and his New York souvenir coffee mug is sold in over 150 stores. Hill was educated at Carleton University in Ottawa and Emily Carr Institute of ArtDesign in Vancouver.

  • Transcript


Graham Hill: Well it probably really depends on which one. And the challenging part of this area is that there is a lot of gray. So it’s hard to determine what’s what, because different things enter into the picture.

Is it better to get organic strawberries from California or non-organic local strawberries, right? So it becomes sort of a complicated issue. So a lot of it’s about doing a full life cycle analysis, which really looks at all the components that go into the manufacture, and the distribution, and the cycle. How is it cycled? Does it end up in a landfill? Or is it recycled back as a technical nutrient, or does it not biodegrade? So really it’s like looking at the life cycle and understanding the full impact of it in the first place.

And then, probably more importantly, do you need this thing in the first place? The best product is the one that you can avoid.


Recorded on: Oct 16, 2008