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Green shopping? No matter how environmentally conscious we want to be, sometimes, shopping and consuming is inevitable. There are a few ways, however, to make your shopping habits greener and there are also some green lifestyle adjustments that might require a bit of shopping. For instance, if you want to abstain from plastic bags when you go to the grocery store, you need to equip yourself with some cool reusable shopping bags. If you want to avoid buying one-time use plastic bottles, you will have to get a nice reusable water bottle. If you want to become a more eco-conscious consumer, here you will find some tips that might help you on the way!
First of all, every time you are going to buy something, try to ask yourself a few questions:
- Do I really need this?
- Can I find a used one?
- Can I make this item out of things that I already have or do I know somebody that can let me borrow one?
- Is there an eco-friendly version of this product?
- Can I buy a better quality one so it lasts longer?
- Do I already have something similar?
- Can I recycle, sell or donate my old one?
- Did I even bring my reusable shopping bag? Ha ha ha, seriously!
- Do I even need or want this? Be honest when you answer this question, especially if you are about to accept a freebie! Also, if you are buying something for someone else, ask yourself this question thinking about the recipient. Sometimes, it is a much better idea to give consumable gifts.
It is always tempting to say yes to free stuff, but most of the times, this stuff will never get used and will end in the garbage. When someone is offering you a freebie, unless it is a consumable, take a few seconds and ask yourself: Do I even need or want this? Will I ever use it? a promotional item given at a bar, the mall or a special event, like a convention (keychains, t-shirts, baseball caps, pens, coffee or water cups, bags, etcetera), something that your co-worker or family member bought and does not use (let them learn not to buy things that they don’t even need) Learn to say “No, thank you.”
What about buying stuff for others? Some people expect presents, for Christmas or birthdays, and some of us also enjoy giving gifts…
Buying presents (items, things, stuff) is one of the most wasteful types of shopping ever! Unless you know the person very well and know exactly what he or she needs or wants, buying things for people is, in many cases, a total waste of time, money and resources. Clothes that are wore only once–or never–and end up in the Goodwill pile or the back of the closet. Even gift cards might never be used and are a waste of plastic! My advise is that whenever you can avoid buying things, do it–unless you are gifting consumable products such as food or beverages.
So what then? No presents anymore? Not necessarily! There are some great non material alternatives that make successful gifts! The best presents, after all, are usually good moments shared with those we love, even for kids! Let’s simplify it. For instance, a thoughtful present could be an invitation to a cool happy hour at a local bar, tickets to see live music or a movie, or an infusion at the hip neighborhood coffee shop. Moreover, you can never go wrong with a bottle of good wine, a homemade loaf of bread, some special candy or cookies, a fancy olive oil you bought from a place you visited out of town, or even an invitation for dinner at your place!
A meaningful gift could also be a donation to an organization in that person’s name. NGOs such as the Red Cross, World Vision, and Plan USA have cool online catalogs with gifts you can give to people in need: a well, school supplies, a solar lamp, a bank of seeds to start a vegetable garden, a first aid kit, etcetera.
Moreover, the perfect gift could be already at your home, something you already own and your friend or sister has been complimenting and eye-balling for a while, let it go and give something–recycle something–that will be received with joy and gratitude!
I know, you might feel like some people are not going to get it. Well, just explain them that you are trying to be more environmentally conscious and choose to get out of the box and try a new way go giving.
GREEN PRESENT Suggestions
If you really want to buy something new, look into your options. There are definitely some eco-friendly products out there that can help save resources! Here are some examples:
Reusable water bottles and coffee mugs→Many people continue to buy the single use water bottles or get a paper or styrofoam cup for coffee everyday. Buying a good quality cool looking reusable water bottle or thermic coffee mug is a great eco-friendly present for pretty much anybody! You can take it to the gym, on a hike, when traveling, to work, on the car…This present will definitely help save resources!
Wood or bamboo bathroom mat→How many times a year we have to wash or change our bathroom mat? Well, these stylish wood, teak or bamboo mats are awesome looking, can be easily kept clean all the time, and last for ever! I have two myself and love them!
A houseplant→Did you know that the air inside our homes is most likely more polluted and unhealthy than the air outside? By adding some houseplants to our homes, we can dramatically improve the quality of our indoor air. Plants are nature’s air filters and they are refreshing, elegant and beautiful. Moreover, greenery transmits a sense of peacefulness and healthiness. Gift a plant! For suggestions on which are the best houseplants to buy, visit GSU’s Housemates article!
Diva Cup→The Diva Cup is a silicone cup that is used during the menstrual period instead of tampons or pads. This cup collects the fluids and can be emptied and reused hundreds of times. It is fairly easy to use, lasts several hours, longer than the traditional options, and it can be reused for years! This is a wonderful super green gift for a lady!
Reusable shopping bags→Don’t forget to wrap your presents with some used paper or box you might already have at home or add a reusable shopping bag to the gift and put it in there! You can also purchase cute reusable shopping bags and use them to gifts food, beverage and other gifts!
When he was a puppy, my dog got some of my books and ruined them. I used some of their pages to wrap a few eco-friendly gifts!
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