Did you know that kids influence the spending of $300 billion a year, or about 1 in 3 consumer dollars spent? That's why corporations target you to buy their products. And you may not realize it, but almost everything you buy can affect the environment. Fortunately, there is now a green option for just about any item on your shopping list. Using your green to buy green protects the planet, promotes fair treatment for workers, and sends a powerful message to businesses about the importance of environment. But the key is to know how to spot the eco-gems from the phonies. Here’s what you need to know to shop green:

  1. The 24-hour rule: Keep the planet in mind when you are shopping and ask yourself if you really need each purchase. Can you get by without it? Is it possible to rent, borrow, or swap with a friend instead? If you really want it, try the 24-hour rule. Give yourself one day to think it over and if you still want it…go back and get it.
  2. Learn your labels: Green labels are splashed on almost every product in the store. But beware…some of those labels may be just a meaningless attempt to get you to spend your money. Don’t be fooled.  Learn which labels mean something green and which ones are just greenwhasing.  
  3. Buy in bulk: Save money and the planet by purchasing items in bulk whenever possible. Buying in bulk is cheaper than purchasing several smaller items and it will minimize the amount of packaging that you need to toss.
  4. B.Y.O.B.: (Bring Your Own Bag) Plastic shopping bags are lame! They use a ton of petroleum based resources (contributing to global warming) and create a ridiculous amount of litter and waste. Pick up a snazzy, compact, reusable tote bag and carry it with you to hold your purchases.
  5. Buy recycled: Look for stuff that contains recycled content (to save on new materials.) There are lots of eco-friendly products now, from pencils to notebooks, jackets to sneakers, and even dog beds that contain recycled material. Purchasing these products reduces the consumption of new materials, reduces landfill waste, and supports the market for recycling.