The Lazy Man's Way To Shop Green For The 2012 Holiday Shopping Season

image: Shift your Shopping The 2012 shopping season has officially launched!  As advocates of a more sustainable world, at Taiga Company, we prefer to endorse less consumption; however, if you have to purchase gifts, why not purchase meaningful gifts that are good for business and good for the planet? Buy green.

To begin, what exactly is buying green?  It is often unclear what a green product is much less how to identify sustainable business practices.  Eco labels helps- but still, there is confusion.  In addition, the environmental claims on packaging vary in credibility.  To help clear up the confusion, within our sustainability plans, we define a green product as one that performs as good as or better than the standard product, has less of an environmental impact, and is cost competitive.

Two ways to identify a green product is to evaluate the product and the company.  For instance,  regarding a company: does it demonstrate sustainability values in its operations in addition to the products and services that it is offering?   Ideally, sustainable businesses clearly communicates its sustainable business practices and the results have achieved.  

Regarding green products, a comprehensive tool that provides reliable sources of information on the health, environmental, and social impacts of products is the GoodGuide.   With GoodGuide, you can:

  • Find better products that are healthy, green, and socially responsible
  • Search or browse over 145,000 food, toys, personal care and household products to easily learn about the best and worst products in a category
  • Rely on the GoodGuide's scientific expertise and sophisticated rating system to simplify complex and confusing product information
  • Get mobile advice while shopping in a store by downloading the iPhone app
  • Create and share personalized favorites lists of products that are right for you and you family

Other guidelines for sustainable purchasing include:

  • Research before you buy. For larger more infrequent items, set aside time to research your options. Evaluate products on the full lifecycle. How much energy was used in producing the product? What is the energy consumption of your intended use? How it will be discarded later? Compare products with eco awareness in mind.
  • Buy local and buy in bulk. Supporting local businesses eliminates the need for products to be transported far distances.
  • Buy organic. Purchasing merchandise certified with organic labeling is another way to bring eco awareness to your lifestyle. Buying organic means less pesticides in our ground water and better health for your family.
  • Buy Fair Trade. Buying Fair Trade helps to end abuses such as child and slave labor.
  • Buy products from sustainable sources like bamboo. Purchase products not tested on animals, made from renewable sources and packaged with recyclable and minimal packaging.
  • Electronic purchases: Consider buying "Pre-Owned" goods. Purchasing previously owned products is a great way to implement the sustainability concept of recycling. Ebay and Craig’s list are two good sources. Also ask your electronics store about recycling options for older models.

With a little education and pre-planning, it's easy to maintain eco awareness in your shopping- even during the most inconvenient times.  Sustainable purchasing  is important because it can help you make better choices.  Those choices expand eco awareness within your network of friends and family, positively impact your local economy, reduce your footprint on the environment, and may actually help you save money  in the process.


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