Two things to consider if you’re to be a green shopper
- Food miles is a term that refers to the distance that food is transported from the time of its production until it reaches the consumer – which is you. Food miles are one factor used when assessing the environmental impact of food. Supporting local growers means that the product you buy has not travelled very far and is likely to have less packaging.
- Choosing to buy things that are friendlier to wildlife and the environment is being “eco-friendly”. All man-made products have some effects on our environment but some are less harmful than others. If we choose products containing more recycled materials and less harmful chemicals, or products which have needed less energy to produce or transport them, then we are helping wildlife.
• List the things your family buys in a week – or look at the shopping receipts. For each purchase, note down:
o How far has it travelled to get here?
o Is it sold with just enough packaging to protect it or too much?
o Is the packaging plastic (which generally can’t be recycled) or paper or glass (which can)?
o If it is food, is it produced in an environmentallyfriendly way eg is it organic?
o If it is a paper product (including toilet paper and nappies), does it say on the packet if the paper is recycled or bleached? (Bleaching can cause pollution)
o If it is a washing product, look on the packet to see if it says if it is phosphate free? Phosphates are chemicals which can cause water pollution.
o If it is something electrical, is it a type that uses least energy? Most electrical products should now have energy ratings clearly shown. Ask the shop staff if the information is not obvious. If you are buying light bulbs, are they energy-saving ones?
• Find out if there are environmentally-friendlier alternatives to the things that have been bought. Find out whether they cost the same, more or less.
• Where possible, and when it doesn’t cost too much, make changes to environmentally-friendlier purchases.
• Find out if there is a Farmers Market in your nearest shopping area (this is where local growers get together once a month to sell their produce)
• Ask your parent or guardian if you can have an area of the garden to grow your own vegetables. If they don’t have an area you can use why not use a pot or bag of compost. For example when planted during April and May tasty tomatoes and green beans can be grown in a pot throughout the summer.