Many people don’t care about being eco-conscious because they don’t think they can make a difference. It is difficult to imagine how one person can make a difference on a planet filled with billions of people, but small impacts can make a BIG difference.
Every purchase you make affects our planet… and of course your bank account. Resources (energy, water, raw materials etc.) are used to produce the items. Greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere during transport of the items. Landfill waste is increased when the items are discarded and therefore greenhouse gases may also be released into the atmosphere, again.
Here are 7 tips to help you get what you need without having a negative impact on the environment… and of course your bank account:
1. Think before you buy.
Ask yourself if you really need an item before purchasing it. Weigh the pros and cons of buying that item. Yea, that dress or shirt may fit you well, but do you really need it?
Even if that shirt you’ve had your eyes on is made from organic materials and consists of natural dyes, the most eco-friendly option would be not to buy it at all. Learn how to reduce your consumption by only purchasing things that you really need and make sure you consider the following tips before you actually purchase them.
2. Reuse items that you already have.
Try to reuse things you already have to make something you need or want. For example, you can reuse wine corks to make floor mats, coasters, and many other things. You can reuse glass jars to store items. You can reuse plastic bottles to make trash cans, curtains, and many other things. You can reuse your old denim jeans to make bags and organizers. You can even reuse old t-shirts to clean your house. Just think and be creative.
3. Make your own products using items you already have.
If you need and/or want beauty and cleaning products, consider making your own non-toxic products before buying toxic ones. Make your own cleaning products using common household items like baking soda, lemons, and white vinegar. Make your own beauty products using natural oils and other items. You can find a ton of recipes online. Keep in mind that different things work for different people so you may have to try several different recipes before you find the perfect one for you.
4. Borrow and share before you buy.
Books, movies, tools, bikes, cars… borrow and share anything that you can, especially if it’s something that will only be used once or occasionally. You can borrow books from your local library and tools from your neighbors. You can purchase movies digitally or borrow them from family and friends. Also, many US cities have bike-sharing and car-sharing programs. There are so many options to consider before buying something.
5. Try repairing it before replacing it.
If your shirt has a tear or missing button, try sewing it instead of buying a completely new shirt. If a device or something breaks, use Google to find a solution or find somebody to repair it. If the item is really old and it’s time for it to be laid to rest, consider recycling it before throwing it away.
If none of the previous tips are suitable, and you think you really need to buy something, consider the following tips.
6. Buy gently used items.
Consider buying second-hand, gently used items. You can find some really nice inexpensive and unique items on Craigslist, in thrift stores, at garage sales, etc.
7. Buy eco-friendly items.
Buy items that are made of non-toxic or recycled materials – ones that will help to conserve water, energy, and other valuable resources. Try to avoid items with excess packaging (e.g., packaging that consists of a large amount of plastic). Also, make sure you purchase things that you don’t have to dispose of after one use. Instead of buying paper plates, plastic cups, and plastic silverware, invest in good quality items that can be washed and reused. Consider long-term costs; it may be best to invest in a more expensive, high-quality product because the item will last way longer than a product that is cheaper and of a lesser quality. Instead of getting paper or plastic bags when you go shopping, buy reusable shopping bags. Instead of buying plastic bottles of water, buy a filter and a reusable water bottle. If you’re a Starbucks lover, buy a mug and use that every time you go to the coffee shop. Buy rechargeable batteries. Your options are endless.
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