So you have decided it’s time to take the plunge and go green. You want to buy eco friendly, but how can you be sure what you’re getting is truly eco friendly? It seems like everyone is trying to cash in on everyone’s desire to save the planet. So you want to make smart purchases that are really going to be good for the planet. Here’s how to shop smart for eco-friendly products.

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1. Don’t get suckered into “biodegradable.” Just because it says biodegradable doesn’t mean it’s going to work. It will need the right conditions and landfills are not it. For products to biodegrade they will need a compost so if you don’t have one or live near one, then steer clear of anything that says biodegradable. Instead look for products that say reusable materials.

2. Natural, organic, and eco-friendly cosmetics will need more research. Just because it says it’s natural, organic, and eco friendly doesn’t mean it is. So read that bottle carefully and look for the seal of approval from USDA, Natural Products Association, or a BDIH stamp. While these other products that claim to be natural might be partially natural, they need to meet certain criteria that these organizations have determined to be necessary. Anything that doesn’t meet the criteria is just not worth spending the extra money on.

3. What about organic meat? It’s a great idea to eat meats that are free of hormones and antibiotics, but the only way you can know for sure that this is what you’re getting is if you get a meat stamped with the USDA organic seal of approval. This is the strictest of guidelines which not only require organic meat to be free of both hormones and antibiotics, but also requires a third party certification.

4. Don’t waste your time with BPA free plastics. There’s no way to know for sure that these plastics are free of these chemicals and they probably are not. So the best thing you can do (especially for food storage and anything that will be heated) is skip the plastic all together. Switch to glass or lead-free ceramics instead.

5. Consider reusing plastic and paper shopping bags. Instead of purchasing cloth shopping bags, just reuse the ones the store gives you. It will save you money and the energy to make that bag.

6. The chemicals organic dry cleaners use might not be any better for you or the environment than the typical dry cleaning chemicals. So don’t fall for the organic dry cleaning. Instead look for a dry cleaner which uses CO2 or a wet cleaner. This will be much better. But, a little known secret – many items which say “dry clean only” can be washed right at home in a cold cycle. Hang to dry and you’ll be pleased with the results and you’ll save yourself a trip or two to the dry cleaner.

7. Hybrid cars seem like a no brainer. The government even gives you a tax break if you buy one. So why wouldn’t you? And yes, hybrids are great, but you need to do your homework. You’re not going to get a significant savings from a hybrid SUV, but you’ll pay a lot more. If you aren’t in desperate need of a new car, then just use your money to fix up your current vehicle – that will be better for the environment and for your gas mileage as well. You’ll find a tune up will do wonders for gas mileage. Consider buying a used hybrid. And when doing shopping, finding the smallest and best gas mileage you can have will be the best and most eco-friendly way when it comes to car shopping.

8. Cotton clothing is under fire. The newest item to cause concern is carcinogens. So if you want an organic cotton shirt, you can’t just buy something because it claims to be organic. When it comes to clothing, look for the seal of approval from the USDA or the Global Organic Textile (GOTS) certification. If it doesn’t have either one of those, then it’s not worth the extra cash.

So now you know what to look out for when you’re shopping green. Seal of approval is very important to make sure you’re truly getting a product that is natural and organic. And sometimes you don’t have to buy something new just to be green. Reusing what you already have and repairing what you have is just as much a part of being green as using natural organic products.

So don’t think you have to go buying a bunch of stuff just to live a green lifestyle. Now you’re ready to shop smart and shop eco friendly.





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