We all know we should be supporting
the local shops in our area, buying locally, supporting our farmers,
using socially responsible companies and helping the environment in the
process but is ‘green shopping’ really that easy? The answer is ‘yes’ –
just read out handy guide to ethical shopping to find out…
going to the shops, ask yourself ‘Do I really need a plastic bag?’
Many shops pack single items into an unnecessary plastic bag and
research suggests most of these are discarded after only three minutes.
Instead, take your
- keep a used carrier bag with you at all times. That way, when you are
shopping you will always have a bag to use. Also, try reusing old
carrier bags, a supermarket bag for life or a cloth shopping bag. You
could also set up a 'bag pool' at work - plastic bags are often brought
back to work with staff lunches so try placing a collection of plastic
or cloth bags and a sign in an obvious location that staff pass on the
way out to lunch. Finally, it sounds simple but always reuse plastic
bags - there are many uses for old plastic bags! For example many people
use plastic carrier bags as bin liners at home.
Write a shopping
In the UK we throw away about one third of all the food we buy! This
food ends up rotting in landfill, producing methane, one of the most
potent greenhouse gases and a significant contributor to climate change.
We are also wasting all the carbon generated when the food was produced,
processed, transported and stored. Throwing away food also wastes money
- research suggests that each week a typical household throws away
between £4.80 and £7.70 of food that could have been eaten … the
equivalent of £15,000-£24,000 in a lifetime!!
- Try to plan
your menu for the week ahead
- Stock take
- check what ingredients you already have in the fridge and
cupboards. We all buy things we don’t need when we’re ‘not sure’
whether we already have it at home.
- Watch out
for ‘bargains’? They might not be what they seem! It's easy to be
tempted into impulse buying more than we need by the lure of special
offers such as buy one get one free. They might seem like a
moneysaver in the supermarket but often end up being thrown away.
- Always keep
food at the right temperature in the fridge to prevent it going off.
- Try to buy
loose fruit and vegetable instead of pre-packaged – you can take
what you need and save packaging
Buy products made from recycled materials
material you place in the recycling sack or bottle/paper bank, etc are
collected, sorted, reprocessed and remanufactured into new products to
be brought and used again. Buying recycled products is important -
without demand for recycled products, materials can only be wasted.
Buying products made from recycled materials also saves natural
resources and green house gases - producing recycled paper involves
between 28% - 70% less energy than new paper … and also uses less
Top tip There is a
massive range of products made from recycled materials - recycled paper
for your printer is a good place to start.
A glass milk bottle is re-used between 9 and 40 times and then recycled
- saving all the plastic bottles or cartons that milk is sold in the
local delivery at
Making the switch to environmentally friendly cleaning products is easy
- there is now a wide range available from supermarkets, independent
health food shops and on-line. Products include:
environmentally friendly alternative to washing powder)
Try using a dryer ball - they lift
and separate washing in the tumble dryer, reducing drying time by up to
25% … and so saving you money.
are made from micro fibres that clean with water alone – so you don’t
need to use any chemical based cleaning products. After use the cloths
can be used washed and reused again and again.
Save money and the environment by making your own cleaning products from
natural ingredients. This is an activity that can be enjoyed by the
whole family – get everyone involved and make it FUN!
can reduce 'food miles' by buying seasonal fruit and vegetables produced
in the UK whenever possible
It can also save you money - you pay extra for food that has travelled a
long way in order to cover transport costs.
Always check the labels on the food you buy in the supermarket to see
where it has come from.
Try shopping at
one of your area’s local markets – they are a great place to pick up
Sign up to
an organic fruit and vegetable delivery such as Abel
and Cole or the
Ethical Food Company … or even grow your own
fruit and vegetables!
You don’t even need a garden – kits are now available to turn your
window box into tiny vegetable patch!
have a great idea then please share it on totz2teens