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How To Be an Eco-friendly Consumer

By Larraine Roulston:

To become an eco-friendly shopper, you should implement your eco power-of-purchase. By using your freedom and ability to choose, and using your voice to demand more environmentally-friendly products and packaging, you will most certainly influence both small companies and large corporations alike. Look at it as a challenging opportunity.green-shopping main

The following will help as you start choosing the greenest options:

  • Always have a good supply of reusable bags available in your car for grocery or retail shopping.
  • Taking your own reusable containers into a bulk food store will eliminate the need for numerous small plastic bags. Your own cookie tin presented to a clerk in a donut shop will save a box. Also, Lug-a-Mug.
  • Select products that are not over-packaged. Feel cracker or cookie packages, for example, to ensure that they do not include plastic formed trays.
  • Be mindful of sustainable foods such as MSC-certified seafood and companies that use certified sustainable palm oil. Buy local and organic. The American Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals aspca.org/shopwithyourheart will help you to choose more humane meat as well as ethically sourced eggs and dairy products.
  • You can significantly reduce CO2 emissions by using energy efficient appliances. Look to repairing appliances rather than purchasing new ones.
  • Check out outlets of reused goods, consignment stores and secondhand thrift shops. They sell everything from anvils to zippers.
  • Regarding products made from new timber, including everything from furniture to writing paper, see if the products carry a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label. Opt for paper products such as toilet rolls that contain recycled content. It’s a habit with most people to check out the price of a greeting card; however, at the same time, also note whether it carries the FSC label or is made from 100% post-consumer recycled content.
  • Purchase quality products that not only last, but also do the job they were intended to do.
  • Use vinegar and baking soda for household cleaning chores, as well as nontoxic cosmetic products that do not contaminate our water system.
  • Host zero-waste weddings, children’s birthday parties or any other social gathering, whether celebrated within your house or at other fun locations.
  • Reduce your consumption of raw materials by reusing wrapping paper, tin foil, envelopes, etc. As well, share seldom used items with neighbors.
  • Even purchasing a postage stamp can be an eco-friendly choice. Small black and white ones on a single wax sheet are more environmentally sound than much larger stamps of the same value placed on several sheets inside a booklet. If your postal service sells stamps in a roll that you have to lick, the result is zero waste.   going-green-

Searching for environmentally friendly alternatives is not always an easy task. It requires a change of habit, a moment to think about your purchase, and an opportunity to ask questions. Sometimes you’ll be swayed by price, peer pressure, convenience or impulse, or you’ll feel compelled to accept a gift that is environmentally questionable. I know I have; however, the importance of striving for a healthier planet can be a powerful force that cannot be underestimated. It’s a challenge that we all must tackle.

Related Links:


 Larraine authors a children’s adventure books on composting at www.castlecompost.com 

About Larraine Roulston

A mother of 4 with 6 wonderful grandchildren, Larraine has been active in the environmental movement since the early l970s. When the first blue boxes for recycling were launched in her region, she began writing a local weekly newspaper column to promote the 3Rs. Since that time, she has been a freelance writer for several publications, including BioCycle magazine. As a composting advocate, Larraine authors children's adventure stories that combine composting facts with literature. Currently she is working on the 6th book of her Pee Wee at Castle Compost series, which can be viewed at www.castlecompost.com. As well, Larraine and her husband Pete have built a straw bale home and live in Ontario.

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One comment

  1. I enjoyed the article, but one item caught my eye and I searched on line for “Lug a Mug”.
    Oh my! A whole new world opens up!


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