5 WAYS TO SHOP GREEN IN 2012

Here we are looking at another New Year.

My favorite part has always been the resolutions.  A fresh start.  Another chance.  Here are a couple of suggestions to improve the odds for 2012 and save some money along the way.

Have you heard of the term buycotting?  It’s the opposite of boycotting.  Instead of refusing to buy something you disapprove of, be sure to vote with your dollars and spend wisely to support green business where ever you can.  With the economy in the toilet, and the government doing precious little to boost sustainable business, wouldn’t it be great if in 2012 the greenest parts of the economy begins to boom because consumers see their value and support them.  In many cases you can get it cheaper from China, but where is that leading us?

1.  Fair Indigo  I first found out about this company when I got assigned to write an article about them a couple of years ago.  This is a clothing store attempting to change the sweat shop horrors of the apparel industry.  Their motto is Look Good, Feel good, Do Good. So when you are thinking about a new outfit, check out their website first.  You may find just what you want assembled under Fair Trade conditions, or make of organic material, or reused material – or all three.  Read what the NYT had to say about them here.

 2.  ReUseIt   It takes very little time to reuse containers and stop leaving a trail of plastic bags and bottles, but it’s even easier if you set yourself up with some well-designed re-usable storage tools.  A really good place to find what you need is ReUseIt – a company dedicated to replacing disposables.  They are having a post holiday sale right now too.  (Who isn’t?)

3.  Learn to Love Lentils!  If you want to save some money and save the planet at the same time, walk past the meat counter, the next time you grocery shop.  I just read this week in Forks over Knives: The Plant-based Way to Health that, according to a 1997 report by the Senate Agriculture Committee, animals raised for slaughter produce 130 times as much waste as the entire human population.

A 2006 University of Chicago study found that the average American gets 47% of their calories from animal products.  That creates 2.52 tons of CO@ emissions per person per year.  If the average American meat eater were to reduce his or her intake of animal produce to 25%, he or she would shave a ton off their carbon footprint!

Truth in advertising – I’m a vegetarian, but many different sources all agree that every burger you bypass is good for your health and slows environmental degradation.

Food for thought.

4.  Recyclebank   I just learned about this organization while perusing The Kitchn.   Danny Seo says Recyclebank is a new, free online community that rewards eco-conscious behavior with coupons.  I had kind of given up on coupons, because they tend to be for cake mixes and prepared foods that I don’t find appealing.

But an assortment of variably green  companies are  offering  the thrill of the coupon chase to their products.

5.  What would you add to this list?  Sound off!  Let us hear from you.  Have you got any green resolutions?

Happy New Year!

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8 replies

  1. I’m not a vegetarian and so meat is still on our menu but at greatly reduced quantities to normal meat lover quantities. Our meat, however, comes from a local butcher (not sure the meat is but that is another issue) and local farmers. In our area grain production is not particularly viable and so alternative forms of agriculture are more appropriate, such as dairy both goat and cow milk. Unfortunately the bi-product of milk production are male calves and therefore meat. Other agriculture suited to more marginal lands are low intensity sheep farms, again meat as well as fibre and free range poultry or at least in mobile arks. I do believe that grass fed animals are better for the environment and better for the animals and so sourcing meat from those farms that care for their animals is important, if you are going to eat meat that is.

  2. Hi Joanna,
    Hope you are having a good winter holiday season.
    I have no bone to pick with your kind of meat eating. It seems like a very renewable, responsible way of feeding oneself.
    There are a number of vendors of meat who raise their animals in ways you describe, and I’m happy that city meat eaters have a good option. I think eating local is j as important as any other food decision we make.
    I became a vegetarian when I only had access to meat that was factory farmed, and it’s been so many years now that I just don’t care to change my ways. I’m fortunate to live in a time and a place where it is very easy to be vegetarian.

  3. Whoops sorry Denise 🙂 We are indeed having a good winter season, just got back from the UK after visiting our son and his new wife for Christmas. Hope you are both well too!

    It does concern me with the rise in support for a pure vegetarian diet if it still includes milk, I don’t think everyone makes the connection (not saying you don’t as I am sure you do), but so many don’t know the food chain very well. Eggs are slightly different in that it doesn’t require a male for the chickens to produce eggs but there must still be some excess produced in producing the next round of egg layers.

    I also get concerned as I had a Godmother who farmed in the Lake District in England and that is an upland farming environment and only really suitable for sheep farming in many areas. The sheep over the years have produced a unique and beautiful landscape which many people travel to see. The sheep are also a particular hardy breed reared to stand the harsh moorland environment and so a completely meat free diet would irrevocably change a unique environment, a unique breed of sheep (Herdwick) and a unique way of life in upland farming.

    Having said all that, I could quite happily eat a largely vegetarian diet and tonights meal was a Latvian Christmas pea risotto with home made pickled beetroot, pepper relish and fermented cucumbers.

  4. I don’t think that the meat eaters are in any danger of being overwhelmed by militant vegetarians anytime soon.
    It’s my personal preference to be vegetarian. I do eat local, organic dairy and eggs. I feel that the vegans have the moral high ground, but I have yet to scale those heights.
    What I wish is that everyone would stop eating factory-farmed meat. That industry is taking a terrible toll on the planet and is probably not very healthy for its consumers.
    I wish people would be willing to pay what it costs to raise animals sustainably when they eat meat and explore more of the very tasty and nourishing plant alternatives.
    But I’m not holding my breath.
    I’ve heard it said that humans are the only animal that can visualize and make decisions based on the future. I’d sure like to see more evidence of that.

  5. I absolutely agree Denise. I hate the idea of those animals all cooped up when the reality is that it does not take much less room to do so, as the grain to feed them has to come from somewhere. It is not more efficient and leads to poor quality meat and dairy.

  6. For the ultimate reuse, I shop at estate sales for home, garden and kitchen products.

    We’ve been trying to upgrade our “leftovers” containers from crappy plastics to glass Pyrex covered dishes. They’re easier to clean, last longer and don’t leach scary chemicals into our foods — plus plastics are more challenging to recycle around here, so we try to avoid them.

    In fact, I’m going to an estate sale today where I’ve heard there’s a nice selection of nearly new glass and Pyrex covered dishes.

  7. Pyrex covered dishes are the best! and finding some to reuse is even better! What a great idea. Happy hunting.

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