How Green Is Green?

Do you like to shop? It can be fun to browse the rows upon rows of items or clothing, seeking an item on your “list” or coming upon something you weren’t even looking for! While you are having fun, are you also thinking “green”?

As you shop and make purchasing decisions, consider how what you shop for can be good, neutral, or bad for the earth. You may already buy goods that are eco-friendly, especially for personal care products like shampoo, soap, detergent, and sunscreen since they have contact with your skin.

But it is important that we make all our purchases count as eco-friendly and “green.” The things we buy shouldn’t harm the planet, wildlife, water resources, our health, or other people. And the less we buy throughout life, the more we can contribute to the health and safety of everything on our earth.

Of course, sometimes not buying something isn’t an option, so here are some questions you can ask yourself to find the greenest products:

• Is this made using natural or non-toxic ingredients?
• Can the packaging and/or product be reused or recycled?
• Could I buy something that is secondhand instead of something new?
• Is this item made from renewable resources like plants?
• Will this last a long time?
• Was this product made locally and transported only a short distance?
• Can it be easily repaired?
• Was it made by a company that tries to reduce waste and conserve water and energy?
• Will the company that made this item collect the package or product after I am through with it?

While the best choice is buying less, making thoughtful decisions like these about our purchases can minimize environmental impacts and support manufacturers that produce environmentally-preferable products and services.

The next time you shop, have “green fun.” Maybe just looking will be enough and you’ll come home with less and not more. But if you do make a purchase, make sure it’s a “green” one.

Photo: onsuda | iStock | Getty Images Plus

This article appeared in the Fall 2019 edition of “Mission:Recycle“, a publication for students produced for our client, Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District

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