Friday, April 16, 2010

Conscious Consuming

One basis of economic lifestyle is conscious consuming. It is important in buying everyday food products and also in purchasing clothing and footwear. Next I bring you some useful tips on how to be a conscious consumer.

What to keep in mind while buying food products?

*Prefer local products over imported ones. Their transport doesn't require so much fuel and there is a bigger chance of them not containing preservatives. For example the preference for buying apples regarding the environmental effect should be(if living in Estonia): Estonian apple, then Polish, Spanish and the most condemnable choice would be Australian apple.

*The less package, the better. Preferably buy one big than many small ones - you get more product and less package. If you get to choose between paper and plastic, then it's more economical to select packages, which are made out of renewable natural resources, like wood for example. When going to the store, take with you your paper or plastic bag, which you already have before. Small plastic bags are easily reuseable for buying open candy, bread or fruits.

*While choosing drinks, your choice, in aspect of packages, should be as follows: Reuseable glass(beer bottle) > recycleable glass (non-standard wine bottle) > reuseable plastic (all PET plastic bottles) > plastic packages (packaged milk) > cardboard package (wax, plastic or aluminum and paper composite)

*Eco-signs on products show that no artificial fertilisers or poisonous chemicals were used.

*While finding the balance between meat and vegetables it is recommended to increase the percentage of vegetarian foods, because the production of meat requires 5 times more energy(growing provender, pasture, feeding, barns and slaughter-houses)

Plastic bag, paper bag or fabric bag?

The most eco-friendly is to purchase a fabric bag and avoid buying plastic bags every time you go to a store. Fabric bags have many advantages over plastic or paper bags. Fabric bags are made out of flax or cotton, which are renewable resources, also fabric bags are longer lasting and easy to wash. If we compare plastic and paper bags, then they can be treated as equally environmental-friendly, but only if the plastic bag is used repeatedly. Paper bags have the advantage of renewable raw-material; plastic bags have the advantage in the duration of use.

Disposable dishes?

Disposable dishes are an eyesore for the environmentally-conscious people. The production wastes a lot of nonreproducible natural resources and their usage time is very short. After throwing them away it takes a hundred years for plastic dishes to decay and many years for cardborad dishes to turn into soil, because the last are covered with a layer of wax. It isn't allowed to burn used dishes because they contain plastic in them and they can only be recycled if they are clean and washed. For domestic birthdays and garden parties it is recommended to use regular dishes, because they leave a more solid and dignified look to the occasion. If there aren't enough dishes, then you can borrow them from friends or, for a symbolic price, buy them from the Recycling Centre and later return them. It is more environmental-friendly to wash dishes in a bowl and not under a running water, that uses less water.

By Rauno Rüütel and Alan Väli

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