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