5 Tips for Buying Green

buy_greener_prodsIt is not easy buying green, and it is not easy understanding what is green. The best place to start is by examining your buying habits and changing them to be more ecologically sound. Here are five tips to start your quest.

Question if you need it

Before you go out shopping, ask if you must have what you are about to buy. If you can’t think of a good reason for buying something, you may want to do without it. The production and then disposal of something unwanted takes its toll on the environment. According to the EPA, 42% of U.S. greenhouse emissions are associated with producing, processing, transporting, and disposing of food and products. Instead of an unnecessary trip to the store, take time to enjoy what you have and those who are around you.

Find out where it was made

Was it made locally? Locally made products help the area economy while minimizing energy use for transportation. Investigate further and you can look into where manufacturers get their materials. Some area manufacturers like AllClad deliberately source their materials nearby. The impact on carbon emissions and wasted energy can be huge. Connect your purchase to your community and reduce carbon emissions.

Discover how it was made

Was it grown organically? Does it contain recycled materials? Was it designed to be recycled or repurposed at the end of its life? Take time to appreciate the innovation and mindfulness that now goes into making greener products. Local company Cherry Valley Organics not only produces organic herbs and teas, it sells them in compostable packaging. Reward companies that do the right thing.

Look to see if the ingredients are healthy

Is it made without toxic materials? Stores like Giant Eagle and Target now have healthier products alongside traditional ones. A set of organic cotton sheets in Target, when compared to non-organic cotton ones, makes a big ecological difference. Just over 2% of the world’s crop land is planted with cotton and yet it accounts for 24% of insecticide use. Embrace the power you have to reduce hazardous emissions.

Become a better steward of the environment

Can your purchase help you conserve natural resources? Common purchases for things like lightbulbs, refrigerators, showerheads, and computers can make a difference in your use of energy and water. A new, highly energy efficient refrigerator can save more than 40 percent in electricity per year. A low-flow showerhead can save hundreds of gallons of water a year. Conserve resources just by buying smart and doing everyday things better.

Starting today, you can learn more about the products you use and the companies responsible for them. Take a little more time to study them and get greener about your shopping one product at a time.