Everything we purchase has an impact on the environment, but simple changes to your buying habits can greatly reduce the imprint you leave on the Earth.
Every day millions of Americans make easy and meaningful changes in an effort to become a more responsible consumer in a world where resources are dwindling. You can use your purchasing power to protect the environment and send a powerful message to the makers of your favorite products, inspiring them to make more eco-friendly products. Here are a few pointers to help you get started on the path toward green shopping.
1. Think About Every Purchase
This is harder than it might sound. Think about how often you simply toss an item in the shopping cart without considering its impact. Challenge yourself to take a close look at everything you consider buying. Is the packaging recyclable? Can you send an e-card instead of buying one? Always keeping the environment in your mind will lead to good choices.
2. Keep An Eye On Packaging
Excessive packaging, particularly plastics, are not only unnecessary, but can wreak havoc on the environment. Plastic can take thousands of years to decompose in a landfill. Stick to packaging that is recycled or recyclable and remember, less packaging is always better. The package your product comes in should be as important of a consideration as the product itself. If you can reuse the packaging, even better.
3. Buy Durable Goods
All too often, the lifespan of the products we buy is not taken into consideration. Disposable products like batteries and soft drink cups have earth friendly alternatives. Consider buying rechargeable batteries and refillable mugs.
4. Check Out Used Products
Buying used items helps to keep clothing, furniture and appliances out of landfills. Furthermore, used products don’t require any more of the resources or energy that go into making new products. Take a stroll through your local thrift store and you’ll find retro clothes, accessories, electronics and even rare collectible items.
5. Buy Recycled Goods
If you do a little extra research, you’ll find plenty of products out there made from recycled materials. This means less energy and natural resources went into making the product you are looking for. Those products made from recycled materials are usually clearly marked and easy to find in the store and online. Even if an appliance you find isn’t in the best condition, it’s really cheap to fix most problems. Sites like PartSelect make this even easier.
6. Energy Efficient Items
Try looking for the ENERGY STAR logo when you are shopping for electronics and other appliances. Energy efficient computers, TVs, DVD players and scores of other ENERGY STAR approved items are readily available. Switching all your light bulbs to approved compact florescent bulbs will greatly reduce your electric bill and carbon footprint.
7. Reuse Shopping Bags
Most stores offer reusable shopping bags. These are not only more durable, but you’ll keep thousands of plastic bags from ending up in a landfill and spare countless trees from being used to make paper bags. This small investment will lead to fewer blown-out grocery bags and will serve you well at the mall, thrift stores and book stores.
8. Send A Message To Corporations
The best way to get a massive corporation to listen is by speaking with your wallet. When these companies are going over accounting books and sales reports, they’ll take notice if more eco-friendly products are selling. And don’t be afraid to contact a company directly. If you gave up on buying a video game or DVD because of excessive plastic packaging, write that company a letter. Let retailers know they lost a customer by failing to make a green product. Don’t underestimate your power as a consumer.