Sign the Green Pledge The Green Business Handbook
Green Shopping

Every purchase that you make can have an impact on the environment. After food, clothing purchases alone have the second highest environmental impact (in terms of land disturbance, energy and water use) of all our consumption activities. The amount of water used in the production and transport of clothes bought by an average household each year is 150,000 liters. 

Take a music CD for example: Consider the energy and embodied water used in the creation of the disc, its booklet and packaging, how the CD was transported to the shop, and how you traveled to buy it. Next time you go shopping ask yourself a few questions before making a purchase. For example, how far has this product traveled to reach the shelf? How long will this product last? Is there a better alternative? Do I even need it at all? 

Here are a few more ways that you shopping can reduce the impact on the environment:

Avoid buying new appliances
A substantial amount of household energy consumption and greenhouse pollution can be attributed to white goods (fridges, freezers, washing machines, televisions, and clothes dryers). If you don't really need a new appliance and you only want the latest model because it looks good and your friend has one, do not buy it. If you really do need a new appliance, compare the energy rating of different models (and buy the most efficient one), buy the most durable one, and only operate it according to the manufacturer's instructions. 

Only buy things that last
There is no point buying a cheap air conditioner or TV that you know will not last long. Look for and only purchase items that are water and/or energy efficient. Items that are built to last may be more expensive initially, but they'll be much cheaper in the long run. This applies to big purchases (such as cars), and equally to smaller purchases (such as light bulbs, for example). 

Buy the most energy or water efficient option
Make sure you purchase the most energy or water efficient item that meets your needs. Consider alternatives. For example, laptop computers are more efficient than desktops, front-loading washing machines use significantly less water than top-loaders, and refrigerators with built in icemakers are a waste of energy. 

Look for the stars
All new appliances are required to show their energy or water efficiency under a star rating system. More stars equal greater product efficiency. Some products such as TVs and stereos may comply with energy standards without a label displayed. Ask sales staff and check in brochures for information on how a product compares to the ENERGY STAR standard. If sales staff are unable to tell you, get them to ask their supplier. If you are still unable to get any information, simply do not buy the product. 

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