Hitting the supermarket with a mammoth shopping list during a sale is what all of us have at least for once desired. Every shopping trip may not cause a dent in our pockets but it surely does cause an irreversible bit of harm to the environment. Eavesdrop to the brigade of environmentalists and you would know how much damage to the environment that our day out on shopping causes. Green purchasing involves learning the ways by which a product affects the environment in its entire life cycle. With the holiday season almost concluding make sure to plan out an eco-friendly shopping trip. Here are eight simple steps which may help you to go green while shopping:
- Shop for organic food. Studies have shown that many brands of organic food are available at prices cheaper than what we get at fancy stores. Surprised? Organic food is not just for the ‘elites’! A little homework on the available brands can both help save money and stay green.
- Shop for goods with lesser packaging. The packaging of food items contributes a major fraction to the household waste. Bulk buying is always a safer and advisable option. Purchasing ample amount can save you another trip to the grocer’s.
- Plan your passage. Plan out a shopping trip with friends or neighbours and carpool to the supermarket. Public transport is a cheaper option with zero worry about parking spaces in a posh mall. Every time you think of something to buy for someone, compile your gift ideas and plan to get them all in one fell swoop and one smart drive.
- Know the products you buy. Always go through the ingredients to know which is the least harmful for the environment. Be it cosmetics or electronics; always make sure you purchase the eco-friendly versions. On the next trip to shopping make sure to replace regular batteries with Li-ion rechargeable batteries, conventional stationery with recycled stationery etc. Did you know that for every 42 notebooks made of recycled paper one tree is saved? Make sure to see the energy stars logo on electronic goods before purchase. This helps the company receive a feedback on the number of purchase of energy efficient goods and they improvise other goods similarly.
- Get a 10 for your style on the green meter. Shopping for organic clothing is as important as following haute couture. Always select apparel in pastel shades with minimal use of synthetic fibres. Go shop-searching for vegetable dye clothes. Avoid buying original fur and leather because we already have substitutes which look the same, feel the same but cost less by a ton.
- Shop online. Have you ever wondered why online shopping is trending high these days! Whatever be the reason it surely is serving the environment. No travelling to shop, no plastic bags, no paper used for bills and lo! You have the desired goods right at your doorstep.
- Gift for life. When it comes to holiday gifts don’t don the kids with plush plastic toys instead take them to nearby a zoo, eco-resorts, wildlife sanctuaries, etc. It is all about how you instil a love for nature in the kids whose job will soon be to protect the environment they stand to inherit. Make way for e-cards and greeting cards made of recycled paper. Recycling old newspapers at home can be fun!
- Say no to plastic bags. A trip to the supermarket is usually a planned affair. Try keeping a spare canvas bag in your car to carry goods. Canvas bags look much more fashionable than those polythene bags. The kids will always love to carry a bejewelled canvas bag for you.
Living green is not just an upcoming trend but an obvious process. A modest start can take us way ahead. So the next time you go shopping make sure to make it large, not with the list but with the thought of doing good and living green.
Krishnakali Ghosh is an aspiring environmental planner who is pursuing her Bachelors from National Institute of Technology, Bhopal. She has worked on housing development for urban poor and traffic management and is presently working on a lake development project in Bhopal.
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