A green shopper’s checklist

Conscious consumerism begins at the individual level. A short checklist for making your dollars do the most work follows:

• Buy local: Buying local supports your local economy and reduces energy consumption required by the global transport of goods. Farmers’ markets are especially good resources.

• Reduce, reuse: Avoid waste and make things last. Don’t let a little wear send you on a needless shopping spree.

• Buy recycled products: The recycling loop isn’t complete until the materials collected at curbside and drop-off sites are remanufactured into new products and purchased by consumers. Buy paper with the highest percentage of “post consumer waste” (PCW) and, when possible, paper that is “process chlorine free.”

• Buy energy efficient products: Whether it’s a car or a computer, choose the most energy efficient model. For electrical appliances, look for the Energy Star logo.

• Avoid excess packaging: A large percentage of our municipal solid waste stream is the result of unnecessary packaging. Select products that are not over-packaged and reuse or recycle packaging.

• Avoid polyvinyl chloride, or “PVC:” Often labeled as “Number 3” plastic, PVC is a leading source of dioxin (a potent toxin) in the environment.

• Look for green labels: Look for labels that let you know the product is certified as environmentally friendly but don’t blindly accept a product that calls itself “green.”

– Courtesy of the Center

for a New American Dream