December 7, 2008 by Gary Killops  
Filed under Green Holidays

Shopping doesn’t have to be an entirely selfish pursuit, contrary to the rather clichéd belief widely expressed in the media. Of course it’s nice to spoil yourself every once in a while (but not every day, or it stops being a treat and becomes an addiction), but in this day and age shopping also offers many opportunities to have a positive impact on the environment. This begins with the obvious – purchasing environmentally-friendly products which have been produced ethically, organic food or energy-saving items, but includes other aspects in terms of packaging, transport and lifestyle.

If you have shopped in a supermarket recently, then it is likely that you have encountered the concept of a “bagless checkout” – where once you have put your items through the checkout you do not put them into readily supplied plastic bags, but into a “Bag For Life” (something which has been around for some time now) or into a bag that you yourself have brought. It is now fashionable to take with you a fabric bag, lessening the need for a handful of plastic bags which don’t biodegrade when disposed of, causing a real problem in the environment. For the shopper a bag like this has the added convenience of being easier to carry – it can be slung over your shoulder, ending the problem of heavily-filled, thin-strapped plastic bags which cut into your hands.

Many people now are doing their shopping on the Internet. This is helpful to the environment in a number of ways, from something as simple as grocery shopping – multiple deliveries in a single van is much better than several individual cars sitting in traffic jams en route for the supermarket – to one-click shopping at online stores which saves the customer a potential wild goose chase to find a single item and may well necessitate them starting and stopping their car several times in a few hours. This also allows the customer time to consider their purchase, being a much less rushed process. While many people complain about the expense of green products, being able to shop around on the Internet allows them to find a better deal – better for them and better for the world.


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