This is a topic I’m a little passionate about. I used to never care where my money went, as long as I got what I wanted and for a cheap price. Once I started to travel more and saw the origin of our everyday products, I realized that I no longer wanted to contribute to the major corporations already making billions every year and support their cruel and inhumane practices. By making yourself a little more conscious of your purchases, you’ll help the people that care about you most, and discourage those who are just out to make an extra dollar. At the end of the day, we’re all voting with our dollars and can really make a difference by making a few simple changes.
Where to start?
- Food: This is such a soft spot for me, since so many people don’t tend to look at the big picture when it comes to their body’s sources of energy and life! By making the switch to organic, humane, and fair-trade products (and local if possible), you’re most likely supporting the small family farmers and encouraging better treatment of animals and workers.
- Cosmetics: Lotions, hair and skin care, cosmetics, essentially any beauty product used by men and/or women. These are often overlooked, but have a huge impact on the environment. Switching from your typical drug store make-up line to a natural, cruelty-free brand not only discourages animal testing, but you’re doing your body a huge favor! Your skin is your largest organ and absorbs over 60% of what you put on it in less than a minute. This percentage is even higher for your face and head! It doesn’t have to be expensive either. There are tons of eco-friendly brands. If anything, I guarantee you’ll feel better about helping out the laboratory beagles 🙂
- Paper-Products: One word-recycled! There’s no reason we shouldn’t buy recycled products. Other products aren’t any cleaner or more sanitary, so why not get try the toilet paper with the little green symbol on it. It might not be as soft, but it will last longer and save you a little more $$ in the long run (and a few more trees!).
- Packaging: I had the chance to shop today at a Natural Grocers in Montana recently, and because it was a little spontaneous, I did not have my recyclable grocery bags with me. Luckily, they had a really good system for recycling their shipping boxes and rather than crushing them in the back of the store like the huge chain stores, Natural Grocers had an assortment of bins so that you could select the right size boxes for your purchases if you forgot your bags. Perfect solution! I returned my boxes after stocking the RV shelves with my organic finds, but not before I had a bit of buyer’s remorse regarding the dozens of shipping boxes I recently had to purchase as I planned my move across the USA. Not only did I spend money I didn’t need to spend, but I purchased new boxes. This seemed to be such a big waste of resources when perfectly good materials are available that would otherwise be heading for a landfill.
- Household Items: Simple switches from plastic to glassware and safe reusable containers help avoid the extra cost of plastics every week and can greatly reduce waste.
“If you want to know what’s important to people, pay attention to what they spend their money on” –Gail Anderson