At the Store
Buy a package of recycled napkins. If every American household purchased one package of 100 percent recycled napkins, we would save 1 million trees. While you’re at it, buy recycled paper towels and tissues, too. Seventh Generation and Whole Foods’ 365 label use nearly all post-consumer recycled paper.
Purchase organic-cotton tees. Cotton is the second-most chemically sprayed crop in America (corn is first). Each traditional tee requires a third of a pound of synthetic fertilizers. Pull on an organic T-shirt and feel as if the earth is giving you a little hug.
Choose biodegradable cat litter. Most cat litter is made from bentonite clay, which is mined and never breaks down. Americans dump 2 million tons of this into landfills every year, so it’s worth rethinking what you buy. Try the biodegradable, flushable brand Scientific (sold at petecology.com), which can be delivered to your door.
Think local food. Your last meal may have traveled 1,500 miles to get to your table. Find food near you. Green markets, farm stands, and conscientious supermarkets all offer locally grown produce. Buy it and you’ll conserve fuel, reduce pollution, and enjoy fresher food.
Bring your own bags to the market. Sounds obvious, right? Well, in an average year, U.S. households use about 100 billion plastic bags, 99 percent of which are never recycled. Stash some canvas bags in your car or buy a pair of Acme Workhorse 1500 bags (reusablebags.com).
Choose the right fish. Craving salmon? Go wild. And to prevent overfishing, heed the advice in the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s regional Seafood Watch pocket guides. Download one at mbayaq.org.
And finally…slash the packaging. Shop wisely: Choose concentrates, skip the tampons with plastic applicators, let your vegetables roll around the cart (no more plastic bags for every cucumber), and download your music.