Saturday, December 22, 2012

Before Purchasing, Ask 3 Questions

Today's article was submitted our way via Catherine Clemente of Start Ranking Now  on behalf of the author: Tiffany Marshall is a freelance writer who writes for Tanner Bolt, your resource for Tapcon screws, solar panel fasteners or a grinding wheel that will last.

3 Eco-Friendly Questions to Ask Yourself  
Before Making a Purchase

Truly proactive, conscious recycling begins at the point of purchase and continues on through the moment before you toss something in the trash bin. It is a pattern of thinking that constantly seeks to reduce waste by asking questions like these three:

When I have used all of the contents in this packaging, what else can be done with the container?
In a society with hundreds of brands and products from which to choose, it is completely feasible to make purchase decisions based on packaging. Doing so will accomplish two purposes. First of all, it will help you to reduce the amount of waste your household produces. Secondly, it encourages companies to think differently about how they package their products and how it affects the environment in the long run.

Empty containers can be reused for any of the following purposes:
·      Storage—Re-sealable plastic containers can be washed and used to store leftovers, office supplies or small toiletry items like cotton balls, bandages or cotton swabs.
·      Crafting—Wine bottles, pickle jars and empty oatmeal containers can be transformed into crafty gift with beads, decorative paper or colored yarn.
·      Gift wrap—Paper bags and any paperboard box (like a cereal box) can be transformed into gift bags with some stickers and paint.
·      Lighting—Tin cans easily become candleholders or lanterns with some paint and decorative holes in the side. Add a votive candle or tea light for an eco-friendly patio ambiance.

Can I purchase the same product in more eco-friendly containers?
Even if you are not willing to be creative or crafty in the way you choose to recycle, you know what types of packaging are easier to recycle in your area. Consider the following package options for a more eco-friendly purchase:
·      Digital download—Books, music and video can all be purchased without any packaging at all when you download them to a piece of electronics you purchased for any number of other reasons.
·      Water—If, for health concerns, you absolutely MUST purchase bottled water, buy the larger containers and use dishwasher safe plastic cups instead of buying a case of individual bottles. You’ll save money, too.
·      Fresh produce—Whenever you have the option, buy fresh produce instead of canned. Peels and rinds are significantly more biodegradable than tin cans. In fact, you can use the skins in your compost for your garden.
·      Furniture—Instead of buying brand new, still in the box furniture, purchase a used piece from Craigslist, a thrift store or a flea market.

What else could I use to accomplish the same purpose?
At other times, it is not just the packaging we need to consider but the entire product itself. Sometimes we don’t need to buy the product at all. Here are some examples:
·      Napkins—Whether you cut up an old sheet, use old handkerchiefs or splurge to buy cloth napkins, there should never be a time when you have to buy paper napkins.
·      Water—Have you ever stopped to think about how much water goes down your drains each day? As an experiment, put the stopper in the drain while you take a shower to get a basic idea. All of that drain water could be used to water your landscaping. The water in the kitchen sink that just flows while you wait for it to get hot could be caught in a pitcher and used for drinking water later. Even the water that runs off the eaves of your house could be used instead of washing down the gutter.
·      Invitations—Whether it’s a birthday party or your wedding, send e-vites instead of paying for printed invitations.
·      Cups—Invest in a number of plastic cups that can be used in lieu of disposable cups for parties or picnics.

Think before you buy and before you throw something away. Recycling is bigger than newspapers and aluminum cans.

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