Buying stuff. We all do it. We buy food....We buy clothes....We buy toys, furniture, decorations, office supplies....We buy cars, or subway tokens....We buy vacation packages, airfare, and sometimes carbon credits....We buy gifts for our kids because they ask so persuasively....We buy to satisfy an urge, or to fix a problem....We buy, sometimes, just enough to get by.... Plunk down a few coins and drive off with what we need, or click a few keys and have it delivered. Simple.
Or is it? For the green consumer, buying is complicated.
How were these products made, and by whom? What kind of resources or energy went into their production? How were the workers treated? How are those products packaged? What facts do labels reveal and what facts do they obscure?
Where do the profits go? Is the company itself contributing to the solution, or the problem? Is it enough for a company to take a small step toward sustainability, if it hasn't atoned for larger eco-sins?
Do I need it at all? Can I buy it used, or borrow it from a friend, or share it, or make it myself?
Am I committed to "reduce, reuse, and recycle" cover it? Or is the phrase "use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without" closer to the mark? Is there room for eco-luxury?
These are some of the questions that occupy the minds of those of us trying to be ethical consumers in the 21st century. We want to know how you approach this problem. We're thrilled to be partnering with eBay as it launches its Green Team (more on that to come), and we want to draw on the considerable experience of The Daily Green's audience to find out: What does it mean to be a "sustainable consumer?"
Help us by discussing in the comments below.
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