Eco Home Living

Published on February 15th, 2011 | by Karen Lee


3 More Tips for Sustainable Living

This week’s tips for greener life and more sustainable living involve our purchasing power. What we buy and what we use have an enormous impact on the environment and its sustainability. Let’s look at ways we can make our purchases that are better for our health and the environment.

1. Buy Organic When Possible

Foodnews has a  full list of 49 fruits and vegetables that are best and worst to buy conventional. But here is the simple dirty dozen that you should always buy organic:

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Grapes (Imported)
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes

In other words, if money is an issue (and who doesn’t have money issues?), it’s best to buy these vegetables and fruits that are organic if possible. If you have kids and they are drinking apple juice all day long and eating grapes, buy them organic. The accumulative effect of pesticides on kids is preventable.  Look for PLU numbers that begin with “9” and buy organic. Ingest less chemicals and eat fresh by eating organic foods. I think they taste better too.

2. Buy Recycled Products

I go back and forth with this topic but in the end, of course, I think buying recycled is the way to go. But I’ll tell you why I think the recycling concept can fool you. Ed Begley Jr. said recycling is “like putting lipstick on a pig.” And I wholeheartedly agree with him. Anything ‘recycled’ is something that was already used up and has been converted into another usable item. In that sense, it’s great. But, I think people can get complacent in their thinking, “This is recyclable so it’s ok to buy and throw it into the recycling bin when I’m done.” The fact is, less than 70% of all recyclables get recycled. In some areas, only about 50% gets recycled. And in many areas, including my town, only #1 and #2 are recyclable. Worse, some towns still do not recycle!! But, between throwing it out to the landfill (or incineration) and recycling, recycling is obviously the better choice. And between buying a recycled or virgin item, always buy recycled. And as the  demand for recycled products increase, the prices will get cheaper too.

3. Reduce Oil Derived Products

In all honesty, this is one of the hardest things to do on this list, I admit. But, even if you reduce one item per week, that you used to always buy, i.e. single use water bottle, shampoo or soap bottle, take out containers, etc. you have made a difference. So eliminate one plastic item at a time and slowly, you will realize, you didn’t even miss it in the first place. This also means, reading all the ingredients in your health and beauty products too. You’ll be shocked to learn that many common ingredients are petroleum derived. Really. Why would you want to put that on your body anyway?

So there they are…three more tips to consider if you want to live sustainably. Are you using any of these tips already?

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About the Author

Karen lives a simple, frugal, green life and shares her eco tips and news on ecokaren and is a co-founder of Green Sisterhood, a network of community of green women bloggers, making change. When she's not managing Green Sisterhood or blogging on ecokaren, she is a chauffeur to two greenagers, wife to an accidental recycler, master chef to hungry locavores, seamstress, knitter, and dumpster diver, not necessarily in that order.

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