Being eco-obsessive I love doing something good and fun simultaneously, which is why I do research while shopping! This method has lead to a lot of great finds for the sustainable connoisseur. Now, more than ever, we have many options from which to choose so I started a list of why you should care about buying certain types of sustainable products. Of course, some products meet one requirement and ignore another, this is what makes TheTrueBlueGreen challenge difficult, I’m still looking for the perfectly sustainable running shoe. Knowing what to look for is half the battle and I hope you enjoy my list. Please feel free to add to it!
Examples: Manufacturing from recycled aluminum uses %5 of the energy it normally takes to make aluminum from scratch. Every ton of paper made from recycled material saves 17 trees, about 450 gallons of oil and 7 gallons of water. It makes our landfills smaller by re-routing bottles, cans, paper and other household items from trash holes. Also, it protects the environment when you divert electronics, batteries and solvents from landfills.
Why buy used, re-purposed, or upcycled? The more uses you get out of something the longer its’ lifecycle and therefore less need for raw material.
Why buy Reduced? Maybe one of the most important of the three R’s -*Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Less consumption of materials and resources will equally reduce their depletion. Products that use less material, like thinner Champaign bottles or concentrated laundry soap have an amazingly good impact. So do refillable items, like giant water jugs.
Why buy organic? Ensures that crops are produced without pesticides and herbicides used. This means pollution in waste water and fertilizers is minimized. Also decreases soil erosion and increases biodiversity by not killing off bug and plants.
Why buy fair trade certified? Harvesters are paid fairly and work in humane conditions. This also incentivizes farmers to use conservation methods and not take short cuts such as cutting down forests to grow more coffee. There’s a direct link between poverty and harmful agriculture practices. Sustainable harvesting and mining are equally integral to preserving resources like endangered wood species.
Why buy local? Buying products that were grown, processed and manufactured in close proximity to where you live ensures the have a lower carbon emission for transportation & distribution.
Why buy Carbon-Neutral? Essentially, this means buying carbon offsets. Carbon is offset by planting and protecting trees. (CO2 is a greenhouse gas, it absorbs infared light, trapping warmth from the sun and thus warming the planet.) The biggest “carbon positive”, (actually a negative thing), is the burning of fossil fuels such. Interestingly, burning bio-fuel adds no extra carbon. Read more here.
Why buy compostable? Biodegradable material will degrade slowly and release methane gas if put in a landfill. Municipal access to a compost is something every town should consider implementing. Many bio-based products are on the market today, but they only complete a cradle to cradle cycle if they reach a compost bin where they can degrade back into nutrient rich organic matter for fertilizing.
- Ability to be recycled
- Environmental manufacturing
- Manufactured locally
- Products that use less water and energy
- Toxicity- adhesives, aerosols
- Safe disposal of waste
For more great green shopping choices visit Treehugger.