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Encouraging North Americans to Pollute Less, Consume Fewer Resources, and Use Less Energy since 2007.

(Better Late Than Never).
 
 

 

 

Shopping

Shopping is what North Americans do. Anything, anytime, from any place. How you do it has an influence on how much you pollute. The reduction of production is what creates the largest reduction in pollution in this category. If an item does not have to be made, there is less pollution. Whether it gets made or not depends on your choices and on your behavior.

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Level of Change

Reuse plastic bags Any bags you receive at the check-out can be reused. They can become trashbags and storage containers. That way you do not have to throw them away and you pollute less because you do not purchase bags.
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Bring cloth bags for shopping groceries Cloth bags can be reused hundreds of times. If you ask you may even get a few cents back at the cash register for not using the store's bags.
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Buy things that have less packaging Compare items. Some have more packaging than others. You are paying for the packaging too. And packaging pollutes in the land-fill as well as during its manufacturing.
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Leave packaging in store Leaving the packaging in the store will tell the store owner that the customers do not want all that packaging and sends a strong signal. Well, it worked in other places.
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Buy (but do not consume!) larger portions The larger the item the less packaging you purchase per volume of the item. It requires more packaging to wrap several small containers than one larger one. Buy the bigger box and pollute less.
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Find out where the things are made before you decide to buy them Becoming an informed consumer allows you to make better decisions also in regard to pollution issues. If it is heavy, transport pollution is high for any distance. The further it travels, the worse it is. If it needed to be transported from far away and arrive fast, it probably arrived in this country by airplane. You decide whether this pollution is justified. Also, do not forget that other countries have often much less stringent environmental regulations.
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Buy items in containers you can use for something Often you have the choice to purchase an item in a container that is strong enough to be reused. Some mayonnaise jars for instance make great containers for any small parts such as nails, screws, buttons,... when they are empty (important!). You pollute less because you do not throw away and you do not purchase another item new.
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Encourage stores to close their entrance doors when they have the A/C running. Air-conditioning systems cool the inside by removing the heat from the inside air and dumping it outside. Running the air-conditioning AND having the store door open results in the A/C trying to cool the inside (and outside because door is open) while it is at the same time heating the outside (and the inside because door is open). This makes no sense and creates a lot of pollution.
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Close the store's door when the A/C is on The sales people may open it again, but if you are lucky it will stay closed for a while and actually cool the store to a level that allows the A/C to turn off. Even better: Talk to the store owner about the pollution cause by A/C.
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Boycott stores that refuse to close doors while AC is running If they give you a hard time, refuse to purchase the item, tell them you will not come back, and don`t go back. Why would you support a business that pollutes like this?
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Combine trips to different stores Go shopping on the way to where ever you have to go anyways. Don't make large detours to get what you want if similar items can be purchased closer even if more expensive.
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Purchase items that will last longer An item that lasts longer may be a bit more expensive but needs to be replaced less often. That results in a reduction of production and less pollution. You may pay a bit more, but society pays a bit less.
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Purchase items that can be repaired An item that can be repaired will last longer and will not need to be replaced soon. Many items are designed to break. It keeps the economy (and pollution) going. You pollute less only if you actually repair the item when it breaks.
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Purchase only what you really need A product you don't really need pollutes to fulfill your "wants". To really pollute less you have to sacrifice some pleasures that you had until now. If you do not need it - don't buy it. If it is not broken beyond repair - don`t replace it. Saves money, storage space, reduces trash and pollutes less because of reduction in production
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Forget fashion/style/status. Many products are simply bought because you have certain believes in regard to fashion, style, or status of a product. The product is not really needed, you just want to have it to feel better. Find a good therapist instead! That probably pollutes less than buying stuff you do not need, that breaks fast, and gobbles up energy and resources.
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Buy no-name products If a brand name is important to you, do yourself a favor and find evidence that this brand is proven to be better and not only believed to be better. No-name products pollute less because less energy is used for advertising and marketing the product.
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Buy products that are reviewed to be better Thanks to the internet it is now easy to find customer reviews for almost any kind of product in regard to its durability. If the product is judged well, you can buy with more confidence. A product that lasts longer pollutes less.
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Wait a few years before you buy it Purchase items that are on the market for a while; that means they are not just a fad and you can use them longer without being ridiculed, feeling old-fashioned, or out of style. You could also just not care about fashion and buy it any time.
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Buy nothing that is new to the market Products that are not made well disappear fast. Purchase items that have proven themselves on the market for a while. That means they are probably made well and will last you a while.
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Do you research by phone or internet Driving from store to store cost time and energy. If it is possible (and sometimes it is better to be in the presence of an item) do your research in ways that pollute less. Much relevant information, technical data, product reviews, etc. can be researched by phone or internet.
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Don’t get a bag if you don’t need one. Dare to say "No, thank you, I do not need a bag". It is surprising how often we get offered a bag. Sometimes for a single item that is already in a bag. If you can carry it easily, skip the bag.
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Research on web Like all shopping, driving from store to store requires much more energy than doing research on the web.
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Don’t purchase from different stores online If you order from several distributors you create more pollution because several packages are going to be sent to you. If you order from one store maybe only one shipment gets sent. You might save on shipping and handling costs and save money overall, even if some items are less expensive somewhere else.
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Purchase locally You pollute less because you avoid the shipping of small parcels. You may have to pay more, but large shipments to stores create less pollution per item than getting them shipped directly to you.
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Ask sales clerk about energy consumption of a product Asking many questions will eventually result in the idea that low energy use seems to be important. Sooner or later this will be conveyed to people who make product design decisions.
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Combine items to be transported in one shopping bag. When purchasing small items in several stores you do not need a bag from each store. Just put it all in one bag. Better even, have your own reusable bag.
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