Keeping the environment in mind when shopping is something we can all do to make our world healthier and safer and it’s often the simplest actions that have the greatest impact.
You need to shop and you’re likely to be spending the rest of your life here on this planet. The choices you make in the first case can have direct effects on the quality of the latter. Here are 10 Tips for greener shopping:
Buy in Bulk
Size matters. When you buy the largest quantity of a product you can use, you help reduce the waste in packaging. About one third of America’s trash is just the packages all our stuff came in and about 10 cents of every dollar we spend goes to pay for the packaging we throw away.
Buy recycled products
If there were no market for recycled products, there would be no incentive to recycle. Buying products made from recycled materials closes the loop. Shop made from recycled products.
Avoid single-use products
Disposable razors and cameras, plastic cups and plates — all good examples of the ways we enjoy convenience at the expense of the environment. All this stuff goes directly from the manufacturer to the landfill with only a brief stop at your home. Buy products that last (and don’t be afraid to do the dishes). Use cloth towels and napkins instead of the paper variety whenever possible and when you must use paper, make sure it’s made from 100% recycled material. Shop made from sustainable materials.
Use rechargeable batteries
Conventional batteries contain cadmium and mercury and must be treated as hazardous waste. Rechargeable batteries last longer, cost less to use and help keep toxins out of the waste stream. Shop rechargeable batteries.
Buy used or re-furbished products
Used books save trees and re-furbished electronics save you money. When you shop online auctions or buy used products at sites like Live Expo, you’re doing your part to help minimize waste by maximizing use. Shop re-furbished products.
Buy low-flow showerheads
Buy energy-efficient appliances
When it's time to replace a washer, dryer, refrigerator or any other household appliance, always look for the Energy Star label. It ensures that the product has met energy efficiency standards set by the EPA and Dept. of Energy. You'll not only help reduce carbon emissions, but you'll enjoy immediate savings on your power bill. Shop energy saving solutions
Buy compact fluorescent bulbs
This is one of the easiest things you can do to save energy and money. Fluorescent bulbs last ten times longer than the incandescent variety. Replacing three incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents saves $60 and 300 pounds of CO2 a year.
Try organic and non-toxic alternatives to household chemicals and pesticides
According to the EPA, the average American home is 2-5 times more contaminated than the area just outside of it, mostly due to the presence and residues of household cleaners and pesticides. Americans currently use 80-million pounds of pesticides a year, most of which drains into streams or seeps into the water table. Shop for non-toxic cleaning products and pest-control solutions.
Buy tires with a long lifespan or buy retreads
There are over 3 billion discarded tires in the U.S. with over 200 million more added each year. They pollute landfills, present a fire hazard and waste oil. When you shop for tires, look for the longest-wearing types you can find and keep them properly inflated to reduce wear and save gas. Retreading saves about 400 million gallons of oil each year.There are hundreds of other ways you can help reduce pollution, conserve resources and fight global climate change, but if even half of us did half the things on this list, the benefits would be enormous — now and for generations to come.