Use your consumer power for good

One of the biggest ways you can help our planet is to buy environmentally-friendly products.
Consumer demand can be a powerful force – encouraging companies to switch to more sustainable production practices and sell more environmentally-friendly products.

Choose the greenest option

A large number of environmentally-friendly and/or sustainably produced products are now available.
Look out for:
  • Sustainably sourced wood. Make sure that any products made from new timber or virgin timber fibres - from garden chairs to paper and envelopes - carry the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label
  • Energy-efficient appliances and equipment. If you’re buying a washing machine, refrigerator, dishwasher or oven, buy the most energy-efficient model you can afford. The same goes for office equipment like computers, copiers and printers.   More on energy efficiency...
  • Biodegradable cleaning products. These have fewer negative impacts on the soil and water system.
A mother buying pizzas with her children. Many pizzas and other baked food products are made with ... / ©: WWF-Canon / Richard Stonehouse
Shopping at a UK supermarket.
© WWF-Canon / Richard Stonehouse
You can reduce your consumption of raw materials by:
  • Buying long-lasting items instead of cheaper, less sturdy versions several times over
  • Buying second-hand items
  • Repairing appliances and furniture instead of replacing them
  • Reusing whatever you can – such as containers, building materials and clothing

Reduce bags and packaging

Product packaging and disposable bags are just a waste – what you really want is the thing inside.
Less packaging could reduce what you buy – and immediately throw away – by about 10%. This means less waste in landfills, which release large amounts of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.

Try to:
  • Buy in bulk.This will reduce the amount of packaging materials you consume.
  • Avoid overly packaged items.
  • Bring your own bag. Using your own bag instead of the plastic or paper ones given away by stores reduces waste. Some retailers now offer rewards to customers who do not request disposable bags. Why are plastic bags so bad?

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