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Green Goes Simple

How to Become a Better Shopper

Whether it''s your weekly groceries or special birthday gifts, shopping can be far from eco-friendly...

Sure, you could stop shopping altogether, which would save you money and help protect the planet. But it’s much easier (and more fun!) to make easy changes to the way you buy things. Here’s how!

Shop Online
Even with the necessary shipping and packaging, buying goods online has been found to have less of an impact on the environment than shopping at brick-and-mortar retailers. On average, e-commerce uses about 30 percent less energy than traditional retail, according to a study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University’s Green Design Institute. Plus, there’s often a better selection!

Bike, Walk or Take Public Transportation
When you do need to visit an actual retail store, you can cut down on harmful carbon dioxide emissions by keeping the car at home. Whenever possible, walk, bike or take public transportation to your shopping destinations. And if driving is the only option, lump your shopping errands together to cut down on gas and save some money.

Buy Used
Giving a second life to previously used items is a supremely eco-conscious move. Products that don’t require energy to function -- think books, clothes and home decor items -- still use up a lot of eco-damaging energy during the manufacturing process. Help keep those emissions down by buying used! Check out local vintage, secondhand or consignment shops (remember to bike or walk there if you can!), or visit online outlets like Craigslist or Freecycle for a wide variety of previously loved clothes, gear and household items.