Home > Outside The Home > Ensuring Your Product is Eco Friendly

Ensuring Your Product is Eco Friendly

By: Scott McBride - Updated: 27 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Green Shopper Home Environmental

The easiest way to become a green shopper is to just say no. There is temptation at every turn on every high street, and the internet has made shopping from home more convenient than ever, but every product sold has an environmental price as well as a financial one.

Cheap labour in countries like China and Bangladesh has driven down the price of clothes and led to bulging wardrobes in many UK homes. Unfortunately, even clothes have a carbon footprint, and the average tee-shirt will generate 28 times its weight in harmful carbon emissions in its lifetime. Transportation is part of the problem, with cotton grown in one country, made into clothes in another and then sold in different parts of the world. Growing the cotton, knitting and stitching the material and washing and drying clothes all adds to the carbon footprint. Cotton is the most pesticide-intensive crop in the world too. It accounts for a quarter of the world’s total pesticide use.

Don’t Give in to Temptation

The most effective way to reduce the environmental impact of clothes is to resist the temptation to follow the latest trends. Simply buying fewer clothes will save money and reduce emissions of dangerous greenhouse gases. Everyone needs to buy clothes at some time, however, and when a purchase is necessary it is worth considering products made using Fairtrade cotton. Fairtrade was set up by charities to give those in the developing world a better deal, and Africa is the world’s largest exporter of cotton.

Well-known high street retailers stock Fairtrade clothes, and there is an ever-increasing range of organic cotton products too. Organic cotton uses natural plants to repel pests and natural fertilisers. It is up to 50 per cent more expensive, but encourages more sustainable practices in the countries that are most vulnerable to the effects of global warming.

Old Ones the Best Ones

When it comes to shopping for furniture, antiques can provide a green alternative. The manufacture and transportation of new furniture adds to its carbon footprint, but antique and second-hand furniture can be bought at local auctions or on the internet. Other second-hand household items can be purchased locally and a wide range of products can be collected free of charge from people who no longer have use for them.

Where possible, it is better to buy re-usable items, such as cotton nappies and electric razors, rather than the disposable alternatives, as this will reduce the huge burden on landfill sites. Also, take advantage of the massive array of recycled products on the market now, which includes everything from chairs and plant pots to garden hoses and wellington boots.

Pack Light

Consider the packaging when buying a product, as this can have an environmental impact too. Packaging contributes to around a quarter of the average UK household’s waste. Little or no packaging is best. It may be possible to recycle packaging made from glass, tin, plastic or cardboard, but the recycling process will require energy that would not have to be spent if there was no packaging in the first place. Given the choice, it is still better to opt for packaging that can easily be recycled rather than materials such as polystyrene, which is difficult to recycle.

Check energy efficiency ratings when buying white goods such as washing machines, fridges and freezers, and buy seasonal fruit and vegetables from local producers when shopping for groceries to help save food miles. Finally, take the purchases home in a re-useable shopping bag.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Dudz
    Re: Grants Available For Your Business
    I run a small social club, non profit making run by volunteers. The Building consists of two bar areas back to back and a…
    9 August 2022
  • Char K
    Re: New Build Grants and Funds
    Hi there, We have recently bought a house that needs a complete update. We have our plans approved to extend and renovate fully and…
    29 July 2022
  • Spence
    Re: New Build Grants and Funds
    Hi We have class q planning to convert a barn into a dwelling in the countryside in Devon, are they any grants available to us???
    13 June 2022
  • Doug
    Re: New Build Grants and Funds
    Please contact me asap
    4 June 2022
  • Franco
    Re: New Build Grants and Funds
    I am about to develop a brownfield site into 11 dwellings and wonder what grants might be available to assist me in reducing the…
    6 May 2022
  • PP PP PP PP PP PP PP
    Re: Eco-School Grants and Funds
    PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP PP…
    28 March 2022
  • IXL IS SHIT
    Re: Eco-School Grants and Funds
    This app is bullshi* and the cun* that made this should die This is absolute bullshi* and the retar* that made this crap can go to…
    27 March 2022
  • Rossco
    Re: New Build Grants and Funds
    Hi iam hoping to be granted planning permission for a self build in November. The plot will be in a 5 acre plot on the outside our…
    2 October 2021
  • AMS7
    Re: Grants Available For Your Business
    My company currently operates from a small workshop space with corrugated roof and no ceiling, looking at foam insulation…
    6 September 2021
  • sludgebuster
    Re: Are There Any Grants for Water Treatment Systems?
    I live in a barn that was once part of a farm and found out yesterday that our outlet for drainage (we…
    6 September 2021