Eco shopping has become very popular these days, and that’s a good thing. With climate change and resource usage being real wolves outside our doors, it’s important that we do whatever we can to help reduce our impact on the planet. Most of us already recycle. A lot of us upcycle, finding new uses for used items or turning them into crafts. There’s so much more we can do, though, and it’s easy. Take shopping for example. Eco shopping may sound like a trendy term, but it really just means being more efficient and making small changes that impact both us and our environment in a positive way.
What is Eco Shopping
Eco shopping simply means that we make changes that allow us to shop more efficiently and with less impact on our environment and on our resource consumption. It’s the shopping equivalent of driving a hybrid or electric vehicle. When we make these small changes, we can reduce our impact on the environment, our time, and in some cases, our wallets. It’s a win all the way around, and that’s always a good thing.
Easy Steps to Make Eco Shopping Part of Your Daily Routine
I know I keep repeating it, but it’s easy to shop in a way that helps you and the environment. Why do I keep repeating it? Because people love easy. I include myself in that statement. If things aren’t easy, we probably won’t do them. It’s human nature to take the path of least resistance. So let’s take a look at the easy ways that we can change our shopping habits to be more environmentally friendly.
Buying local is an excellent way to make shopping healthier for us. Local produce is always more fresh and is far less likely to be genetically modified. Did you know that almost all big agriculture produce is genetically modified in some way? Local farmers have far less acreage to farm, and they don’t have access to most genetically modified veggies because they’re patented. That means you’ll be shopping for and consuming natural food.
Bring Reusable Bags
Recycling plastic bags is great, but not everyone does. Landfills are jam packed with those things. In addition to reusing and recycling any plastic and paper bags you currently have, you can start using reusable bags when you go grocery shopping. These bags are great because they are far sturdier than plastic or paper, which means you don’t have to worry about your groceries flying all over the parking lot if Jimmy at the checkout overfills them. You can also find insulated bags to keep your cold items nice and chilly until you get them home.
Reusable bags also help the environment because they reduce the need for plastic bag and paper bags. That means less need for felling trees and producing plastic which never degrades. Every plastic bag we use will be around literally for a long time. More than ever I hate seeing plastic floating around on roads and in parks. When the winter snow melts it is immediately visible.
Use reusable bags and help protect and beautify your own neighbourhood too. I keep a small stash in my van for shopping trips. And if I forget to bring them in I run back to the van and get them (or I send one of the kids).
Pick a Store That’s Close
The closer the store, the better. It’s good for your wallet and the environment. Why? Gas. The further away the store, the more gas it takes to get there. The more gas you use, the more of this resource you use and the more money you spend. If you can, shop at a store that’s nearby to save on gas consumption. And the less you use your car, the better these days. It’s better for the environment to make a conscious effort to use less gas, thereby producing fewer harmful emissions.
Make a List and Check It Twice
Think of yourself as a grocery shopping Santa because you should always have a list ready. Thoroughly check your fridge, freezer, and pantry, writing down every single thing you need for the week. Like picking a store that’s close, having a complete list will reduce your gas consumption and the need to buy gas because you won’t be going back and forth to the store all week. It also saves your sanity because those last minute trips for one little item are a thing of the past.
Eat Less Red Meat
This is a triple threat. It’s great for you health, your wallet, and the environment. Red meat – even lean cuts – are not heart friendly. Even the leanest cut of beef has saturated fat that is bad for your arteries. In addition to its negative impact on your health, red meat is also expensive. Have you seen the price of beef lately? As if those two weren’t enough, raising cattle contributes to greenhouse gases. So the less read meat you eat, the less you spend and the healthier you and the environment are.
Buy Pole Caught Tuna
If you’re not familiar with how tuna is harvested, you may not understand how helpful this one is. Most commercial tuna companies source their tuna from net fishers. A boat sails across the water, dropping a net that is miles long. The idea is that the net will trap the tuna as they try to swim through it. Unfortunately, that net also traps many other types of fish, as well as sea turtles and dolphins. Obviously, this can harm turtles and dolphins which need to come up for air.
Pole caught tuna is exactly what it sounds like. Fisherman go out on boats and actually catch the tuna using fishing rods. You might have to spend a few cents more, but surprisingly, it is only a few cents. And those pennies that you spent help ensure that the only thing caught was tuna.
Buy Rainforest Certified Coffee
A lot of people don’t know that many coffee producers slash and burn acre upon acre of wildlife habitat to make room for their coffee farms. That is incredibly bad for the environment and quite sad, to boot. The rainforest is our planet’s respiratory system. It’s the lungs of the earth. Cutting down swaths of acreage is basically like cancer spreading, killing our planet’s ability to breathe. It also costs the lives and habitats of innumerable jungle creatures.
Buying rainforest certified coffee means that you’re investing in the health of the planet. These coffee companies work around the rainforest rather than killing it for their production. You might already be thinking about how much more expensive this kind of coffee is, but like pole caught tuna, the extra expense isn’t all that much.
Buy Products with Recycled Packaging
When you go shopping, check the packages of everything and look for the words “post consumer content”. If you see those words, it means the packaging was made using some percentage of recycled materials. This percentage can vary, so look for the one that uses the most. Buying products that use recycled content helps reduce the need for resource consumption because a portion of the materials required to make the packaging already exist.
These Easy Changes Make Eco Shopping a Reality
With more and more people on the planet, resource consumption and pollution rise higher and higher. Making these easy changes to your routine can help you become an eco shopping warrior with very little effort. It’s a great feeling to know that every decision we make can positively affect our planet, our health, and in some cases, our wallets. So put these tips to work for you and make eco shopping your new way of shopping.