Sustainable Saturday - 10 Tips for Getting to Green as a Consumer

This week's Sustainable Saturday is the seventh part in the Series Getting to Green.  This Series focuses on easy, cost-effective ways to implement green ideas or concepts throughout your home and life. 

Sustainable Saturday - 10 Tips for Getting to Green as a Consumer

1.  Think Globally, Act Locally.  Simply give some thought to where the item was grown, produced, processed or shipped from.  For instance, while you might pay slightly more for an item like Organic Cheese from a local Farmer's Market, this product was grown (the cow), processed (made into cheese) and transported locally.  When you start to think about the impact on the environment from the standpoint of shipping (or use of fossil fuels), you can greatly reduce your overall impact on the environment by being a local consumer. 

2.  Bring Your Own Bags.  Another tip is if you forget and your grocery store for instance has paper bags, choose those and use them for bagging lawn waste, gathering items for your compost, or doing a cool craft with your children.

3. Purchase Organic Foods (Product, Dairy, Meat, etc.).  Many people say that if there is one thing Organic you purchase for your family, choose Organic dairy.  Choosing Organic can be consuming at times with all the labels proclaiming Natural, All Natural, Local, Organic, etc.  Make sure you understand what all these food labels actually mean you are purchasing:  Sustainable Saturday - Organic Food Labels.

4.  Purchase Locally Grown or Produced Foods.  As I've said before, many people will claim that locally grown foods are often Organic (although they don't always bear the pricey to receive Organic food label) and are better for you from a nutrients standpoint and better for the environment from a locally grown standpoint, than many Organic labels.  Many Organic produce is grown in other countries or at best shipped across the Country. 

5.  Purchase Produce in Season.  This is something you can easily follow by either purchasing produce that is on sale (most likely meaning in season) from your local grocery store or Farmer's market.

6.  Purchase Produce in Season AND in Bulk.  This is something we experienced for the first time in the last month in that we went to and purchased produce from a local (Amish) Produce Auction.  The great thing about a produce auction is you can buy in bulk, for a great price (less than a local Farmer's market) and you are buying chemical free food (in most cases) because the Amish do not use pesticides and other chemicals on their produce. 

7.  Preserve Food.  If my grandmother was still alive, I would be wanting to learn from her all the ways that she preserved food when she was raising a family (in the 1940s-50s).  Unfortunately, my mother did not pass down these strategies of food preservation as she raised myself and my sister in the 1980s when processed convenience foods were new and popular.  (If I ever see a bowl of fruit cocktail again, I may lose it!)  So, I've had to learn how-to preserve food by both canning and freezing. 

Saving Family Green's 2011 Food Preservation List to date:

DIY:  Freezing and Canning Tomato Sauce
DIY:  Freezing Corn 
DIY:  Homemade Pesto 

8.  Think about Packaging.  We recently made a step to reduce the packaging we use to pack our lunches everyday.  We use reusable lunch bags and reusable containers although we were still using plastic bags for sandwiches.  (Saran wrap has been banned from our house for years due to possible chemical leakage into food especially when used in the microwave.)  We purchased Kid Konserve Green 5-Pack Food Kozy from Amazon. 

You can also greatly reduce packaging by not buying individually packages snack items and instead by the large bag and place into smaller reusable containers.

9.   Use Green Cleaning Products or Make Your Own.  Making your own cleaning products is really the most environmentally friendly as you are most likely reducing the amount of fossil fuels that are being used to both make a product and for transportation.

10.   Purchase Quality Furniture - If you are purchasing new furniture, look for furniture that is made of solid wood and is preferably FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)-certified wood.  Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a non-profit organization devoted to encouraging the responsible management of the world’s forests.

You can read the entire Getting to Green series here:   

Sustainable Saturday - 10 Tips for Getting to Green in the Living Areas (Living/ Dining/ Family/ Office)

Sustainable Saturday - 10 Tips for Getting to Green in the Kitchen 

Sustainable Saturday - 10 Tips for Getting to Green in the Bedroom

Sustainable Saturday - 10 Tips for Getting to Green in the Bathroom 

Sustainable Saturday - 10 Tips for Getting to Green in the Laundry Room 

Sustainable Saturday - 10 Tips for Getting to Green Outdoors and in the Garden 

Note:  Some of the links referenced in this post are my referral links.  You can read Saving Family Green's Material Connection Disclosure Policy here.

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