How to Be an Environmentally-Conscious Consumer
October 31, 2019

How to Be an Environmentally-Conscious Consumer

In the global effort to reduce our carbon footprint, mitigate the damage caused by climate change and prevent the accumulation of plastic trash floating in the ocean and into landfills, we all have a part to play. Of course, industries responsible for the bulk of pollution are largely responsible, but what about individual consumers? How much plastic waste do we unnecessarily produce? How much do we contribute to the growing carbon problem that is melting the ice caps and destabilizing ecosystems? Here are a few ways you can play a role in being part of the solution that the planet needs to confront these challenges.

Check Labels

Nearly every consumer product involves the use of energy (often fossil fuels), including some that you might not even think of at first glance. Cars burning gasoline are an obvious example, and opting for higher fuel efficiency, hybrids or all-electric vehicles is a huge plus for the environment. But what about food, clothing, or cell phones? The production of these products, and the extraction of the raw materials used to make them, can often be harmful as well. Fortunately, many companies feature third-party labels that can verify whether they are an environmentally responsible corporation that adheres to standards set by outside advocacy groups. These companies often feature their endorsements proudly on their products’ labels, so check them out before you make a purchase. Using products made with biofuels can help reduce your carbon footprint.

Look for Eco-Friendly Brands

Consider choosing brands that have built a reputation for good environmental stewardship. Thanks to the internet and growing investment in watchdog groups holding corporations responsible for their practices, accessing information about which brands perform best environmentally is easier than ever. In fact, retailers, both online and with physical locations, have dedicated entire sections of their inventory to products with a specific focus on protecting the environment. Many companies invest a portion of their profits back into certain causes like endangered species preservation or water conservation.

Use Secondhand Products When Possible

Consumer waste places a tremendous burden on the planet. Discarded products, from appliances to electronics to clothes, often end up in landfills. Many are toxic, seeping chemicals into water supplies and harming plant and animal life. Synthetic fibers like polyester require lots of energy and oil inputs to make them. Natural fibers like cotton and wool require literally tons of natural resources to produce and process. If possible, consider purchasing high-quality used items instead of new products. You will encourage the growth of the secondhand retail industry while also saving money. Also, when you’re doing your spring cleaning and getting rid of your excess stuff, consider donating items that are still in good condition, rather than just throwing them away.

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