Sunday, March 02, 2008

Shop Green

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

Using aerators in your faucets and installing low-flow showerheads can cut your family’s water bills by 50% while helping to conserve our water supply.

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.

More eco & money saving tips:

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Next president better than Bush on climate

OSLO (Reuters) - Any of the top three U.S. presidential hopefuls would be better than President George W. Bush at combating climate change, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Monday.
"The trend is on the right side, but there is a lot of work to do," Barroso said of the outlook for U.S. policy on fighting global warming during a seminar on climate change and energy security in the Norwegian capital.
Democratic presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and Republican John McCain all favour setting caps on U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases -- something Bush has so far rejected despite pressure from his allies.
"Any of the candidates: Mr. Obama, Mrs. Clinton or John McCain, will be more committed to combating climate change than the present administration," Barroso said in answer to a question.
The United States is the only developed nation outside the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol after Australia's new Labor government signed up in December.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso delivers a speech during the 6th European Business Summit in Brussels

Kyoto seeks to cut greenhouse gas emissions by an average of at least five percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12 in a first step to stave off rising temperatures that the U.N. Climate Panel says will bring more floods, droughts and rising seas.
U.S. emissions were 16 percent above 1990 levels in 2005. Emissions by many Kyoto nations are also far over goal -- Barroso's homeland Portugal is 43 percent above 1990 levels even though the EU overall is on target.
Barroso said he expects Europe "to again take the lead" at climate talks in Copenhagen in late 2009, when a global agreement to curb emission of greenhouse gases is expected. Bush will step down in January 2009.
About 190 nations agreed at U.N. talks in Bali, Indonesia, in December last year to launch two years of negotiations on a new climate treaty to widen Kyoto with commitments for all nations, including developing countries such as China and India.
The EU has a goal of cutting emissions by 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and will increase the cuts to 30 percent if other nations are willing.
Sen. Obama of Illinois, for instance, says he would introduce a cap and trade system that would help cut carbon emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
Sen. McCain of Arizona is the sponsor of one of the first bills to curb climate warming emissions.
And New York Sen. Clinton is a member of the Senate's Environment and Public Works Commission, which approved a first carbon-capping bill in December.