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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Shoppers: ways to be greener

From manufacturing and transport to packaging and use, the everyday things you buy can have a significant impact on the environment. The choices you make when you go shopping can reduce your carbon footprint and save you money.

1. Buy energy efficient

Look for the Energy Saving Trust Recommended label

To make long-term energy savings, keep an eye out for labelling schemes that identify energy efficient products, from light bulbs to washing machines. Look for the Energy Saving Trust Recommended logo and the European Union (EU) Energy label.

2. Buy recycled

Look out for recycled products. Recycled paper, kitchen rolls and toilet tissue are among the products now widely available. Buying recyclable products - and recycling them - can also help.

3. Buy in season

Whether it’s flowers, fruit or vegetables, buying locally in season, and unprocessed or lightly processed food, can reduce environmental impacts through reducing energy use.

4. Buy Fairtrade

Fairtrade goods are likely to have less impact on the environment

You can buy fairly traded products in shops, cafes and off licences – look out for the Fairtrade Mark. This guarantees that the producers of the product are getting decent wages and a fair price for their goods. Goods are also likely to have been produced with less impact on the environment.

5. Look for the labels

Look out for labels that show products have been made with respect for the environment. There are a number of reliable green labelling schemes, covering food, timber, clothing, appliances and much more.

6. Choose less packaging

Buying in bulk and using concentrated products means you’ll use less packaging, reducing the amount you throw away. You can also try to avoid products that have more packaging than they need.

7. Borrow instead of buying

Sometimes, items don’t get used enough to justify buying them. The average drill, for example, is used for about 15 minutes in its lifetime. Think about hiring things you don’t often use or borrowing them from a friend or neighbour. This will save the materials and energy that go into making all those unloved gadgets gathering dust in your shed.

8. Repair and reuse

Where possible, try to repair something rather than replace it. Think about buying things you can reuse, rather than disposable versions.

9. Take a bag

A quarter of people in the UK say they take their own shopping bag when shopping

Hang on to your shopping bags and take some with you when you next go to the supermarket.

10. If you can’t find it, ask!

You're the customer, so ask for what you want. If you're looking for greener products, want to know about how something was made or can’t find the information you need, ask the retailer or manufacturer. Keep asking if you have to. If more people ask, retailers are more likely to start stocking greener products and providing the information you want.

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