Top 10 Green Shopping Tips

Private Property South Africa
Shaun Wewege

Payday is a week away and no doubt you will be spending some bank notes at local retailers. But what small things can you do to ensure that the money you spend is actually green? Here are our top ten tips.

1.Shop at stores that have recycling bins. Not only does this make recycling easier, but it saves unnecessary driving as now you can get your shopping and recycling done at the same place.

2.Think before buying online. While online shopping may be greener, the carbon footprint left by ordering a small parcel via overnight delivery is massive. Try buy in bulk, use slower delivery options where possible and be certain that there will be someone to sign for parcels on your delivery date (to prevent courier companies driving back and forth). And of course, remember to recycle the packaging material.

3.Unless you need to keep them for a warranty, remember to recycle your receipts and if shopping online store them electronically rather than printing them out.

4.Plan your excursions. Spending a day trekking from store to store wastes petrol and is not carbon efficient. If you have to visit multiple retails outlets, plan the shortest possible route (or better yet, walk if some of those stores are nearby).

5.Check labels. Buy local goods as this not only supports our entrepreneurs, but also ensures that anything you buy hasn’t been sent around the world on a fuel-guzzling jet. Also look out for green credentials such as Biodiversity & Wine Initiative labels or check whether honey products are “badger friendly”. Only buy seafood from SASSI’s “green list” . If a store or restaurant stocks items that are on the red list you should raise the issue with a manager and report them.

6.Buy loose fruit and vegetables. If you don’t have the time or space to grow your own produce, buy loose items rather than those that have been packaged in plastic with styrofoam trays.

7.Concentrate. Purchasing concentrates reduces carbon footprints as less material is used for their packaging and they are more economical to transport.

8.If it’s grass-fed and free-range it’s good. As best possible, opt for meat products that have been grown by farmers who follow ethical practices in terms of land management. How they deal with predators and use pesticides should be considered when purchasing meat.

9.Feel re-charged. Using rechargeable batteries not only saves a chunk of money in the long run, but also reduces hazardous environmental waste.

10.Do some market-ing. Shopping at a local weekend market supports sole traders and entrepreneurs. It’s a great way to find unique goods but also helps you locate eco-friendly products such as organic vegetables or crafts made from reclaimed wood.

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