There’s a lot of buzz around the word “green.” So much so that I’ve gotten a little irritated with the whole “it’s hip to be green” phenomenon.
One day while shopping with a friend, I climbed up on my soapbox and started ranting about the “Hug me, I recycle” shirts at Delia’s. “That shirt is thirty dollars! And it was probably made in China by a five-year-old at a facility that emits toxic waste!” She laughed at me first, then asked me why it mattered so much to me.
I then realized that she was right; it didn’t matter at all. People are moving forward, getting with the program, making the effort. If it takes green being hip for the world to get green, then I guess that’s just something I’m going to have to deal with.
Recycling and toting reusable shopping bags seem to be an epidemic lately, and while this is a good start, there’s so much more to being green. If you’re into it and you’ve got all the time in the world, you can seriously analyze each and every product you buy. It will take some serious calculus and a few downloadable charts, but you can count carbon footprints all day long.
But something tells me that those girls at Delia’s who buy those shirts aren’t going to make a math assignment out of it. And I don’t think they should, anyway. Making being green a way of life shouldn’t be complicated. We just need to open our eyes and ears and start questioning instead of just accepting.
Here are a few questions to get you going next time you purchase a product:
- Does the company have a green policy or statement?
- What raw materials is the product made of? Where do these products come from? Are they renewable?
- Does manufacturing the product make harmful substances? If so, how are these substances disposed of?
- Is the product made of any toxic materials?
- Does manufacturing the product affect the health of the people involved in making it?
- How much energy did it take to make the product?
- How is the product packaged?
- How is it shipped?
- How long will the product last? Can you recycle it when you no longer need it? Is it biodegradable? Can it be reused or made into something else?
- How much energy does the product use? Does it require batteries?
See? Simple questions. You can make an impact just by being good old inquisitive you.