Buying And Using Eco-Friendly Products – Useful Tips For “Greenhorns”
Let’s admit it, most of us consumers have not been so keen and zealous in our stance towards green living. As mentioned in my earlier blog, I for one am not quite an eco-friendly product enthusiast despite my positive outlook on the importance of the use of and patronage for the said products. I have tried using earth friendly products in the past up to now but it is only for very few items. This kind of a so-so attitude towards going all out for a green world is not only true to me but to the majority, especially those in developing and least developed economies. People living in the West such as the United States and other developed and industrialized countries are fortunate enough to have tons of environment related advocacy organizations which are proactive in this endeavor. Thus, there are more and more people in these countries who have become fully aware and have supported the cause for the common good. But just the same, it is still not enough, people are still not in sync and conscious about the use of organic and eco-friendly home products .
Why is it so? Why is it that people are still not going green and don’t even bother to buy eco-friendly products (i.e., from food, personal belongings, cleaning items or even gifts) despite the massive info and awareness campaign about it? Do you have any idea how many environmentalists are there in the blogosphere? I was surprised to see myself that there are plenty of bloggers, probably thousands, crowding out in the internet, marketing and supporting environment conservation, broadcasting certain pressing issues such as impact of global warming and other related events, among others. There is so much more to learn and I was overwhelmed to read various topics ranging from low profile items (organic food,etc.) to big ticket environment related transactions (e.g. renewable energy and the like).
(Note: As much as possible when I share tips for a certain issue, particularly if it concerns quality of life and humanity, you may have noticed it that I don’t delve and go directly to the point at hand. Rather, I try to explain further the rationale and importance of the said tips and how would it be helpful and useful to your daily life. What matters most to me is that the message has been sent across and that I was able to accomplish my duty to give back to this beautiful world where I dwell and to stop contributing to the bigger problem. I just felt it is one of my responsibilities to make others more aware about it, in the humblest way I can).
So, why are people, like most of us, are still reluctant to go all out or even attempt to try going green, at least for our home use? Why is it that people would not even consider eco friendly products a necessity or a priority even if they are aware that using said products have so many benefits to the environment and to the humanity? Oh, the series of questions – so mind boggling!!!!!111.!!!
There are schools of thoughts but the following comments are based on my personal experiences and observations about eco-friendly products:
I may be wrong but there is this perception that eco-friendly products appear to be catered more or less to middle and high income earners as the same are marketed at a much higher price than regular products. With the current precarious economy, many of us would want to tighten our belts and save for the rainy days! Some of us would choose which of the available options would give us the best bang for our buck. If people can’t afford to splurge on these products and is likewise being given an alternative choice, I don’t think they would go out of their way just to buy these products, unless as I said they have the dough for it. This is the reason why sometimes organic products are branded as for the elite and not for the have nots. A classic example are the fruits sold in the supermarket, the price of organic apple for instance is about 1.99/lb. versus a regular apple for a sale price of $1.00/lb, which is half price lower .
The foregoing are just samples for the small items , what more for big ticket items? How about for eco-friendly clothing? I came across this organization selling high end fashion green clothing and mind you, a piece of “green friendly” bermuda shorts costs a whooping 275 bucks! Shocking isn’t it? I was able to see the rationale behind it, it was of good quality and for a cause by the way! But just the same, the price was just too much to bear! Some people would say that there is a need to balance the cost and the benefit but for people who are not affluent enough, who simply don’t have the means, they will just buy the products that they can afford – the cheapest available – without even considering if the same is eco friendly or not.
Majority of the businesses and other manufacturers would probably argue that there is a limited market for green products, that it is costly and time consuming, hence they are resistant to change. However, if they really see the need and they have the social responsibility, so to speak- the concern for the environment and the heart to help majority of their consumers (specifically the “common people”), then they could have started re-designing their process and technology to fit in with the earth friendly world and produce green products gradually.In so doing and in the long run, there would be economies of scale (i.e.. lower pricing, among others) since people would be able to afford and start buying eco friendly products as there would be no choices anymore on the shelves in the supermarkets for similarly situated products. Who would not buy a product that is proven and tested to be good for their health and the environment, anyway? This is a great thing to do, right? Unless there is a political will to change this kind of attitude from all of us, then it may take a little while for us to go all out for green living!
2. Accessibility and Availability
In New York City or in other metropolis throughout the world, accessibility may not be a crucial issue since you can easily find eco products in supermarkets and in some organic retail stores. Despite this however, some supermarkets sell only few items and at a higher price. On the other hand, organic store retailers are very limited and you really would have to go out of your way and search for their location, how much more if you are situated in far flung areas? In my case for instance, I have to take an effort to sometimes use the subway or take a bus just to reach the e-friendly store where I often buy small items such as nuts, jams, vinegars, etc. because there is no organic store available within the vicinity. What more for people who are not even aware of these things, they would just buy any products available in the nearby supermarket or in a local Asian market which sells fresh fruits and other commodities at a very affordable price.
3.Inadequate/Lack of Relevant Information
It is a fact that almost all of the people would prefer to buy eco-friendly products if only they have the means and an adequate knowledge about it. Yes, we can see e-advocates campaigning, lobbying, protesting over the internet , the tri-media or even in the streets, but do most people know what and why they do it? There are skeptics around that they would think of this as merely a media hype- these people have doubts on whether or not said products are indeed organic or earth friendly.
The problem is, there is not much information on the importance of using earth friendly products. There should be like a personal level campaign to inculcate in the minds of everyone that going green, especially in the organic product industry, would truly give them positive effect in their lives and the environment as well. The governing rules and regulations (e.g. government certifications, etc.) covering these products particularly on food should be publicly disseminated not only to the upper class of society but down to the grass roots level.
Now, the Useful TIPS!
Having said all of the foregoing and as a smart certified grocer shopper myself, I have some useful tips for those of you out there who for the first time, the “greenhorns” so to speak, are contemplating to try buying and using earth friendly home related products. There are lots of remarkable earth friendly/recycled products to choose from but the following suggestions would include some basic must have items which I am currently using:
1.For a start, you may try buying an eco friendly bathroom tissue paper and paper towels. Some of them may not be as inexpensive/expensive, as immaculate and as soft as the regular tissues that we’ve been used to. But definitely, using an organic product will give you an assurance that what you’ll be using is free of chemicals, bleach, dyes and perfumes, and that they are naturally biodegradable, safe for septic tanks and no animal testing. One brand that is being marketed today is that of Seventh Generation which has produced a very popular 100% recycled tissue papers, bathroom tissue and paper towels.What is good to know is that this company has very strict guidelines and they are in collaboration with the Environment Protection Agency (Design for Environment Program).
2.Home cleaning products are also a must. Seventh Generation has variety of these products (detergents, shower cleaner, etc.) in their line too. What I’m using right now for cleaning which I bought from BJ’s superclub is an inexpensive natural all-purpose cleaner from Clorox , named “Green Works”.It really works, perfectly cleans and it does not emit a bad smell as others do have and it has the same cleaning power as traditional cleaners. Greenworks is 99.93% natural and is supportive of the cause to protect and preserve our planet and its environment. To wipe the dust off and dirt, use your old clothes and towels for cleaning, as an alternative to the recycled paper towel.
My favorite very useful baking soda will always be in the list. You can use it in disposing of your garbage to neutralize odors. You may grind up lemon, lime, orange peel or the smaller specie “calamansi” in the disposal. Likewise, a dash of baking soda on the carpet before vacuuming will freshen and produce a good smell. Baking soda with a drop of vinegar are great cleaning products too. In fact, they’re cheaper and don’t have nasty chemicals and awful smell.
3.Personal care products such as moisturizing lotion, styling gel, face and hands liquid soap, lip balm, shampoo and others which I bought from an online store which has utmost respect for nature and is environmentally conscious and accountable. Their products are relatively reasonable compared to the leading designer label beauty and cleansing products.
5.Start using cloth napkins for meals and keep dish towels for kitchen sink use and yes, carry your good old cloth traditional handkerchief!
By the way when you go out for shopping, as much as possible, bring some of your reusable bags to make an impression that you are not supporting the plastic grocery bags that supermarket nowadays are giving us for packaging. If you don’t have any, there is the so-called EnviroVogue reusable tote bags made from recycled plastic bottles. You can purchase them on line at envirovogue.com. In any case, there are stores that use paper bags out of recycled paper, as one of your options.
As I said there are so many things to know about green living and what I’ve shared with you is just the tip of the iceberg. However, with all these things in mind, I trust you will consider the said tips and start eliminating various types of waste from our world. Trust me, this is something we can all be proud of. You can make a big difference when you start supporting e-friendly products. So, take the time out and start venturing green living today! 🙂