the amount of our individual consumption we can directly control how our
lifestyle impacts the environment. Every consumer makes two important choices
that affect the amount of waste generated:
1. What products we choose to buy or
Before making a purchase, first decide if you really
need it; then look at all the choices available and consider the following:
2. How we choose to dispose of the product when
finished with it
o Which product has the least packaging?
Here are some simple
guidelines that can help in making good purchasing decisions.
o Is the packaging recycled or recyclable?
o What percentage of the product is made from
o Was the product produced humanely?
o Will the product affect the environment negatively?
o Are there other products that affect the environment
o If you need the product, choose the one meeting
most of the above criteria.
recycled products also helps create a market for the recycled material,
thus “completing the loop.” Consumer demand is a powerful factor affecting
the waste stream, and our decisions make a huge difference.
Once a product has reached the end of its useful
life, consumers decide how it will enter the waste stream. Reusing,
waste is the ideal option.
Another area of reduction we all must address
is our personal
energy consumption. Building a new home that is passive solar and highly
energy efficient is paramount to the reduction of energy use globally.
Utilizing “green” building practices and materials in new construction
is more viable than ever before. Incorporating energy efficient lighting,
xeriscaping, solar collectors and/or electricity generating windmills into
new home construction should become a global standard in appropriate climates
or buy Green-e certified
electricity. Retrofitting existing homes with these clean energy producers
and resource saving techniques is desirable, viable and, in most cases,
One other way to reduce environmental impact is
to purchase your food locally whenever possible and to buy
organic or part organic products. Organic
farming and gardening
with compost sustains the planet while most commercial farming practices
degrade the environment. Additionally the transportation of food over long
distances is compounding the negative impact on the Earth, increasing the
importance of buying locally or regionally produced food when possible.