Sustainable purchasing tips for the home

Considering the environment and making sustainable purchasing decisions in the home may come second nature to some but for most of us it’s about thinking twice before we buy something. To me, thinking sustainably in regards to purchasing means considering the environmental and social impacts involved in the manufacturing and logistics of a product.

Here’s some things to keep front of mind when making a sustainable purchasing decision at home.

  1. Avoid products with excessive packaging – when you get home and start using the item all of this packaging will end up being disposed of anyway.
  1. Purchased products that are recycled or have recycled packaging.
  1. Read the labels on products at the supermarket – where you can purchase products that are environmentally friendly and sustainably produced. Some certifications to take note of are: FairTrade (coffee, tea, nuts etc), FSC (paper and timber), Marine Stewardship Council logo (seafood).
  1. Look out for the energy rating on appliances – appliances such as washing machines, fridges, ovens and TV’s all come with energy ratings, the more stars something has the more energy efficient it is.
  1. Buy in bulk or larger containers –these use less packaging (and therefore less waste) and will also save you some cash.
  1. Think local – not only is this important in keeping our local farmers and Australian producers in business but if you also consider how far some things travel from overseas before they reach our shelves you have to wonder about the freshness of some items?
  1. Buy (and sell) second hand products – donating items to charity and buying used goods reduces the amount of items that go to landfill and may also cut back on manufacturing demands on some products. By re-using items a longer life is given to many common household items.
  1. Purchase non-toxic cleaning products – these are kinder on the environment and better for our health than the chemical-laden alternatives. There are now many varieties to choose from on the shop shelves, or if you are up for it why not try making your own cleaning products from everyday items you may have around the house. Click here for some ideas. For some ideas specific to bathroom cleaning click here.