Green Shopping Tips

Save Money and the Environment

A family of four can save $3,000 a year simply by buying products in the largest size they can use and by buying long lasting reusable items. Think about the effect of your purchases on the environment when you shop. Items with excess packaging and products that need to be discarded after only a few uses cost more money, use up valuable resources and create more waste.

Buy Products in the Largest Size You Can Use; Avoid Excess Packaging

A family of four can save $2,000 a year in the supermarket by choosing large sizes instead of individual serving sizes. Remember, ten cents of every shopping dollar is used to pay for packaging. Small sizes use more packaging for each ounce of product than larger sizes. So, if you buy large sizes, you save money, reduce waste, and help the environment. That is a really good buy. Here are a few good examples, look for others the next time you shop.

  • Buy cereal in a large box instead of in individual serving sizes.
  • Buy juice in concentrates and use reuseable containers instead of single serving packages.
  • Save money by buying bottled water in a large plastic jug instead of six packs of 16 ounce bottles. Reuse plastic water bottles.
  • Buy large packages of sugar and flour.
  • Avoid the small boxes of raisins and buy the same amount in the 24 ounce box.

Buy Products in Containers That You Know You Will Be Able to Recycle

It is important to familiarize yourself with your what types of containers and items can be recycled in your local recycling program. Once you know what you can recycle, look for products that come in the containers that you know you will be able to recycle when the products are all used up. Examples are products in commonly recycled containers made from aluminum, steel, #1 and #2 plastic, and glass. Check the Earth 911 Reuse and Recycling Services listings to see what types of containers/packaging you should look for in your community.

Buy Reusable and Long Lasting Items

Products that can be reused are cheaper in the long run than those you throw away and buy over and over again. Goods that are designed to last a long time are also cheaper in the long run than those that wear out quickly. A family can save $1,000 each year buy buying reusable and long lasting products.

  • Use rechargeable batteries in toys, flashlights, radios. You can save $200 a year by using rechargeable batteries instead of disposables in one cd player used two hours a day.
  • Use cloth diapers instead of disposable diapers. You'll save $600 per child by using a laundry diaper service instead of disposable diapers.
  • Use a real camera instead of disposable ones. If you take 24 pictures each month you will save $144 each year.
  • Many families spend over $260 each year on paper towels and napkins. Switch to cloth napkins, sponges, and cloth towels or wipes.
    Use washable plates, cups, and silverware for parties and picnics instead of disposable products.
  • Use an electric razor or hand razor with replaceable blades instead of disposable razors.
    Buy high quality/long life tires. They cost less per mile traveled and reduce the problem of disposing of used tires.
  • Use a washable commuter mug for your morning coffee and eliminate a Styrofoam or plastic cup every day.
  • Bring bags to the market, either cloth ones or your old paper and plastic ones. Many markets will credit your bill for using your own bags. When buying only a few items, don't take a bag.
  • Clean and service your appliances, computers, tools, and cars so that they will enjoy even longer lives. And, before you replace them, check to see if they are repairable. Consider sharing equipment that is used infrequently such as hedge clippers, pruners, fruit pickers, or chain saws.