Socially conscious shopping is a trend that is making (or not making, depending how you look at it) a mark on this world. People are doing their best to make their life eco-friendly, but are often misled on what products are actually “green” and Earth-friendly. Knowing whether you are buying sustainable products can be a challenge, but with a little bit of knowledge you can make sure you are doing your best to make this planet a better place.
Let’s start with some of the products that are thought to be eco-friendly, but, if you're not careful, you may end up with products that aren't quite as green as they say:
- Organic produce - Eating food is generally a good thing, but what people often forget to consider is where it came from. For instance, if an avocado travels from Mexico there is going to be emissions to factor into the equation. When buying produce, pay attention to the labels. Look for locally grown foods next time you do your grocery shopping.
- A new, shiny hybrid - Yes, this type of car is more eco-friendly than its gas-guzzling counterparts, but take into consideration what needs to happen to make this trendy vehicle. Manufacturing this type of car includes mining, processing the metal, and uses a considerable amount of energy. Keeping that “hunk of junk” is sometimes friendlier to the environment than purchasing a brand new hybrid.
- Eco-friendly detergents and soap - Ok, this one is a stretch to put in the “actually not” category, but the truth in why they are harmful lies in the usage of hot water. To make your plant-based alternatives truly eco-friendly always use cold water.
- Turning off your appliances - Even when you are not using your toaster, blender, or microwave there is a phenomenon known as “phantom power.” So just turning them off isn't enough. To make this random occurrence stop completely, unplug your appliances when you are not using them.
On to the good stuff, the eco-friendly products that are truly making a green difference. These are the things that you should be including in your life if you are trying to lessen your carbon footprint:
- Bamboo bedding - This product is underrated and often overlooked. When people think about bamboo it’s usually associated to the actual plant itself (hard and used as weapons in martial arts movies). People are often surprised that bamboo can produce a material that is remarkably soft and comfortable. Bamboo bedding is an insomniac's dream (pun intended).
Bamboo is part of the grass family and grows incredibly fast. This means that it requires less acreage for harvesting, which puts less of an impact on the surrounding environment. Also, bamboo leaves provide coverage from harmful rainfall, so the soil is undisturbed. The next time you crawl into bed for some much needed shut eye, remember that the softest and most eco-friendly bedding comes from bamboo.
- Reusable grocery bags - Paper or plastic? Ditch this question all together by bringing your own reusable bags with you when you go shopping.
The production of plastic bags requires petroleum and often natural gas. Both are non-renewable sources. Plastic bags do not biodegrade, so imagine thousands of bags in landfills that can take up to 500 years to degrade. Another bonus of reusable bags is that they are often made out of recycled material. This is a small (but immensely impactful) way to live green.
Helping this planet thrive by making your life more eco-friendly can be as easy as changing your bedding. When you swap your cotton bedding for bamboo bedding you are making a difference to the environment. Not only will the Earth thank you for this decision, but you will thank yourself for turning your humdrum bed into the most amazingly soft place for you to relax and get some Zzz’s.