Consumer Buying Tips

Here are some ways your everday purchases can make our environment better:

  • Shop at your local farmers' market.

Though the offerings can be more expensive, you can generally count on a higher quality product-and the entire purchase price goes directly to the farmer. Buying any goods produced locally saves energy by reducing the fossil fuels needed to transport food and other items across the country and around the globe.

  • Start a local currency program in your town.

This can ensure that money stays in your local economy, valuing local services and supporting local merchants.

  • Buy used products when you can.

Whether you've just moved to a new area or are looking to redecorate, consider a service like craigslist or FreeSharing to track down furniture, appliances, and other items, rather than buying them new.

Check out garage sales and thrift stores for clothing and other everyday items.

  • Make homemade items, including gifts.

Use your creativity in gift giving, including making homemade gifts, donating to a good cause, or even regifting. (And gift green, in general.)

  • Buy good products.

Your purchasing habits have a real impact, for better or worse. When making new purchases, make sure you know what's "Good Stuff" and what isn't.

  • Make your own cleaning supplies.

Using simple ingredients such as baking soda, soap, and vinegar, you can make cheap, easy, and non-toxic cleaning products that really work! Save money, time, and your indoor air quality.

  • Think twice about new electronics.

E-waste from discarded cell phones and computers is a growing environmental problem. Mounds of electronic refuse are being shipped abroad illegally for 'disassembly' by workers with little protection against the mercury and other toxic substances they contain.

Keep your electronics as long as possible and dispose of them responsibly when the time comes.  Buy higher-quality items and don't give in to 'psychological obsolescence' marketing campaigns. Recycle your cell phone and support good causes at the same time!

Ask your local government to set up a responsible recycling and hazardous waste collection event.

  • Use your local library and other public amenities.

Borrowing from libraries, instead of buying personal books and movies, saves money and printing resources. Consider donating the money saved to your local library.

Be an active civic participant and ensure that the public spaces and facilities in your town are well maintained. This will promote a healthy, sustainable community.