Green Shopping Tips that Save Money and Protect the Environment
There are green alternatives for just about anything you could want to buy today. Before you make a purchase, stop to think about the effect of your purchase on the environment.
Plan your shopping list to avoid buying on impulse, which can contribute to more household waste. With each purchase, make a habit of first asking yourself these questions.
- Is this overpackaged?
- Is this made of recycled materials?
- Is this recycleable?
- Can I reuse this item?
- Can I purchase this item used rather than new?
- Is there a more sustainable version of this?
- Can I borrow this from a friend instead?
Following are some great tips to save you money, protect the environment, and ensure that all of your shopping is green shopping.
Buy Recycled Products
Everything from clothes to carpeting and cars to comic books can be made from recycled materials. Buying recycled is good for the environment and good for business. To close the recycling loop, check the labels on everything you buy and choose the products with most recycled content.
Make every purchase count for the environment by using Sage’s Green Shopping Directory.
Make every purchase count for the environment by using Sage’s Green Shopping Directory for all of your online purchases. 10% percent of the profits from purchases in this Green Shopping Directory will be donated to The Sierra Club and The Nature Conservancy.
Buy Products in the Largest Size You Can Use
Ten cents of every shopping dollar is used to pay for packaging. A family of four can save approximately $2,000 a year in the supermarket by choosing large sizes instead of individual serving sizes. Small sizes use more packaging for each ounce of product than larger sizes. If you buy large sizes, you save money, reduce waste, and help the environment. Here are a few suggestions:
- Save money by buying bottled water in a large plastic jug instead of six packs of 16 ounce bottles. Reuse plastic water bottles.
- Buy juice in concentrates and use reuseable containers instead of single serving packages.
- Buy cereal in a large box instead of in individual serving sizes.
- Buy large packages of sugar and flour.
- Avoid the small boxes of raisins and buy the same amount in the 24 ounce box.
Purchase Durable Products that you can Reuse
A family can save approximately $1,000 each year by making durable, reusable purchases. Products that can be reused are cheaper in the long run than those you throw away then buy again and again. Goods that are designed to last a long time are less expensive in the long run than those that wear out quickly. Here are a few suggestions:
- Use an electric razor or hand razor with replaceable blades instead of disposable razors.
- Use a washable commuter mug for your morning coffee and eliminate a Styrofoam or plastic cup every day.
- Use rechargeable batteries in toys, flashlights, radios. You can save $200 a year by using rechargeable batteries instead of disposables in one cd player used two hours a day.
- Use cloth diapers instead of disposable diapers. You’ll save $600 per child by using a laundry diaper service instead of disposable diapers.
- Use a real camera instead of disposable ones. If you take 24 pictures each month you will save $144 each year.
- Switch to cloth napkins, sponges, and cloth towels or wipes instead of spending money year after year on paper towels and napkins.
- Use washable plates, cups, and silverware for parties and picnics instead of disposable products.
- Buy high quality/long life tires. They cost less per mile traveled and reduce the problem of disposing of used tires.
- Bring your own bags to the grocery store, either cloth ones or your old paper and plastic ones. Some stores will credit your bill for using your own bags. If you are buying only a few items, don’t use a bag.
- Clean and service your appliances, computers, tools, and cars so that they will enjoy longer lives. Before you’replace them, check to see if they are repairable.
- Consider sharing equipment that you use infrequently such as hedge clippers, pruners, fruit pickers, or chain saws.
Shop for Used Clothing and Natural Clothing
Browsing the racks of a local vintage clothing or used clothing store can take a little more time, but can be fun and yield some great treasures. Often these finds come at half the price of new clothes.
In the US, one-third of a pound of chemicals are used to produce just one cotton T-shirt! Cotton is one of the most pesticide-intensive crops grown on Earth. If you do choose to buy new clothes, consider natural fiber options like organic cotton, wool, tencel, hemp, and flax.