Given how jittery the economy is, it's easy to get the jitters yourself when it comes to going green.
Isn't it great to know, then, that choosing the greenest option when you shop can actually be the most economical way to shop, too?
This was brought home to me in spades this morning, when I was stocking up on cat food. Now, there's nothing particularly 'green' about the food I feed my cat Midnight — nothing organic or free range or locally grown. But I had a choice between the package it came in. I could either buy individual four-pound bags, or one large 10-pound bag (which is far less energy and resource intensive to produce).
When I looked at the price difference, it was easy to make up my mind: one 10-pound bag actually cost $20 less than three four-pound bags! Twenty bucks! I couldn't believe it.
Buying in bulk — whether it's cat food, snack food, or wholesome fruits and vegetables — helps protect the planet because the larger packages use less paper and plastic during manufacture and generate less trash. Generally speaking, $1 out of every $11 we spend shopping goes to cover the cost of packaging. Given these tough economic times, I'd rather save that money buying in bulk.
Buy the largest size available.
This is not only true for food. Cleaning products also come in a variety of sizes; the biggest ones will be cheapest.
Skip snack packs.
They are an excess of cardboard, paper, and plastic wrap. Use reusable containers if you need to divvy up snacks for kids.
Shop the bulk bins.
Many grocery stores and food coops sell dry goods in bulk. They supply plastic bags you can fill up, or you can use your own reusable bags (the price differential if your bag is cloth will be minuscule and not worth worrying about).
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.