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On the Go

Green Purchasing Tips for Consumers

  • Buy recycled. Items made from paper and plastic are often made from recycled materials. You can also buy automotive parts, motor oil, and tires made from recycled products. Also look out for household furnishings and gardening tools made from recycled materials.
  • Buy in bulk or multi-packs. Buying more items at once reduces packaging waste. You can also buy items with packaging that can be reused or recycled.
  • Buy used. You can find authentic retro clothes, accessories, and other items at your local thrift store.
  • Trade with friends. Instead of buying brand new products, swap with friends or family.
  • Combine bags. When you're at the mall, don't get a new shopping bag for every item-combine bags or put them in your backpack. (And be sure to hold onto the receipt!)
  • Buy energy-efficient items. Look for the ENERGY STAR® logo when buying electronics such as TVs, CD players, DVD players, and computers. ENERGY STAR® is a voluntary labeling program designed to identify and promote energy-efficient products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Also, don't forget to check for gas-efficiency when purchasing a new vehicle.

Travel Tips

There are many opportunities to reduce waste when traveling away from home on business or on vacation. From packing and planning your trip, to hitting the road, learn how you can make a difference.

  • Before you leave home, adjust the air conditioning and water heater thermostats to conserve energy.
  • Rather than buying small, travel-sized toiletries, fill reusable containers with shampoo, soap, and other necessities.
  • Reuse plastic or paper shopping bags to pack items for your trip and recycle them afterwards. Plastic shopping bags are perfect for keeping dirty shoes and wet bathing suits separate from other items in your suitcase, while paper bags are great for packing snacks for the car.
  • Book flights with airlines that offer electronic tickets to reduce paper waste.

Tips for When You're on the Road

  • If staying in a hotel, check the bedding and linen policy with housekeeping. Some hotels ask that the customer request the bedding or linen be laundered by putting a specific note card on the bed and leaving the towels on the floor. This practice conserves water resources. If your hotel does not follow this practice, use a comment card to ask them to adopt it.
  • When you leave your hotel room, switch off the air conditioning, lights, and TV to reduce energy use.
  • While on your trip, remember to take only the amount of products that you need from restaurants or lodgings. Take only napkins, condiment packets, free brochures, maps, or coupons that you will actually use.
  • Take along a plastic bag to collect your used beverage containers for recycling at rest stops.
  • When traveling by car or RV, make sure the vehicle is well maintained-this improves fuel economy which prevents pollution and saves you money!
  • When making reservations at campgrounds, ask about their recycling facilities.

Tips for Enjoying the Outdoors

  • At your next party, set the table with reusable dinnerware or ask people to bring their own reusable plates and containers. And remember to recycle all bottles and cans after the party!
  • Hot days require gallons of thirst quenchers. Be sure to recycle the used beverage containers. Instead of buying many small drink bottles, buy drinks or drink mixes in bulk and fill reusable bottles.
  • At the beach, use old buckets and other items in your house to build sand castles instead of buying new products at the store.
  • When visiting beaches and parks, be sure to take out everything you bring in, so that you leave places unlittered and undisturbed.

Photo of car tail lights while stuck in traffic

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