Green Shopping helps save the planet and money at the same time.

Take a moment and think about your week. How often do you run to the store for something? If you’re like most people it’s probably an almost everyday occurrence. It’s no secret we live in a consumer culture.

But what happens to the things you buy when they’re all used up? Or the packaging they come in? There’s a good chance a lot of it ends up in a landfill. But by paying more attention to how you shop, what you buy, and how it’s packaged, you can make a big difference.

Here are some tips to make green shopping part of your life:

  1. Take a reusable bag with you – Green shopping starts before you even get home. Reusable bags and totes help reduce disposable bags in landfills, eliminate the energy costs of producing new ones, and are super fashionable too.
  2. Buy larger sizes – Single- and small-serving containers require much more packaging per capita than larger items. By buying bigger and separating portions into reusable containers at home, you can dramatically reduce waste. And a family of four can save $2000 annually just by choosing larger sizes, which are often cheaper.
  3. Buy long-lasting items  – Items with a longer lifespan require less energy and raw materials than frequently producing new items. Check your devices to see what can use rechargeable batteries. Consider switching to cloth rags from paper towels. And a digital camera is vastly superior to a disposable one, as you’ll keep it much longer and eliminate bad shots before they hit the printing paper.
  4. Shop local – Products made in or near your community have reduced transportation costs, and corresponding decreases in pollution generated than items shipped from far away. And often local food is fresher. Plus you’re helping support your local economy.
  5. Buy gifts with care – There are all kinds of cool products out there made from recycled, reclaimed or upcycled materials. Smateria, for example, offers a variety of stylish bags made from plastic bags that would otherwise be trash. And even better, they’re made ethically by at-risk women in Cambodia.

Green shopping isn’t as difficult as you might think. It just takes a little foresight and planning and you can be Earth friendly and still buy all the products you love. For more ideas on ways to go green, download our Sustainability SmartPaper.