After discussing ways on how we can do Mother Nature some good within our own homes, let’s now move on to how we can keep going green through eco friendly shopping.
1) Bring your own reusable shopping bag and refrain from using the plastic bags groceries use to pack your purchases. If you do end up taking home plastic packaging, reuse these as garbage liners, food wrapping, etc. It’s nice to see several supermarkets are doing their share in an effort to reduce plastic bag consumption: Shopwise, SM Supermarkets, and Rustan’s among others, sell reusable “eco” shopping bags. Of course you don’t even have to buy their bags, you can just bring your own!
2) Buy in bulk. Since we often buy for the whole household anyway, this can even be the more cost-effective solution. Avoid buying products that are packaged for single use. Instead, buy in bulk and just transfer the products to your own reusable containers. For example, instead of buying single-serve milk cartons for your kids’ baon, buy them in liters (or bigger) and just transfer the contents to their own re-usable bottles.
3) Switch from disposable to reusable products. This pertains to food and beverage containers, writing pens, razors, towels, shopping bags, diapers, and the like. For mommies with infants/ toddlers who are not yet potty-trained, you may want to consider using cloth diapers. There are several US branded cloth diapers available on multiply.com but I personally use the traditional lampin coupled with inexpensive waterproof covers from local department stores.
4) Go natural or organic versus chemical. There are plenty of natural solutions for all sorts of household problems. Use vinegar or baking soda to fight molds and dirt instead of bleach. Use citronella or neem-based products instead of OFF lotion.
5) Buy paper products with recycled content. Say no to virgin pulp. This not only applies to toilet rolls, tissue paper, office paper, etc. Broaden this to include your kids’ notebooks and even gift-wrapping paper. Many products typically indicate if they are recycled, so have an eye out for these.
6) Always have a reusable, eco friendly water bottle handy. An example is SIGG Switzerland water bottles (siggswitzerland.multiply.com). This reduces the need to buy plastic/ carton-packaged drinks and will have you in the habit of being hydrated all the time.
7) Explore buying pre-loved goods. This can be very practical especially when it comes to baby items. They grow up so fast you end up using your newly bought products for just a few months!
8) Bring your own container when buying from your favorite coffee shop. Starbucks even has this policy of taking off P5.00 from your order when you do this. Good for the environment and your wallet!
9) Keep a ribbon box and channel that inner Martha Stewart. Mommies are usually tasked to take care of preparing gifts for all those numerous parties. Aside from using recycled paper or kraft paper, why not also reuse some of that ribbon you got over the holidays? Keep a ribbon box handy and store your used ribbons there. That way, when you need to jazz up a present, just open your ribbon box and you’ll surely find what you need. Also, consider wrapping your presents in something useful like a pretty scarf or kitchen towel instead of paper.
10) Invest in rechargeable batteries. Even though these have a higher initial cost, they reduce toxic materials sent to landfills (i.e. the equivalent quantity of disposable batteries that you’ll eventually end up buying).
11) Reduce trash in general. Avoid unnecessarily using plastic utensils, straws, etc. at fast food restaurants. Say, “no, thank you,” to flyers when you’re in the mall and no to additional and unneeded packaging. This kind of, “no, thank you,” is your way of saying thank you to Mother Earth!
12) Eat less meat and dairy products. I know this is very hard to do but we can try. Carbon emissions associated with the livestock industry are highest compared to other foods. Recent studies even show that on-road transportation and raising animal for consumption are the biggest net contributors to climate change. We don’t have to be vegetarians, we can simply try using smaller quantities of meat in dishes and more vegetables or starchy foods. This practice will also bring several health benefits to you and your family.
Going green can start with small things… like how you shop. Practice some of eco friendly shopping tips above and contribute to Mother Nature. It’s all for your kids and the future generations to come.
Check out these other articles on going green: Going Green: Baby Steps Parents Can Take to Have an Eco Friendly Home (part 1 of 4)Going Green: Change Begins with Your Eco Friendly Home (part 2 of 4)Going Green: Sustainable Living On-The-Go (part 4 of 4)