This Green Corner article is written by Kip Coerper, member of the St. James’, Skaneateles and the Creation Care Team in the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York.
Illustration by redgreystock on Freepik, available through a free Creative Commons license.
A New Year’s Resolution this year could be to examine what you consume.
Everyday millions of products enter our homes. Are they from environmentally responsible companies? Are they packaged in unnecessary plastic? Are there options of the same product being sustainably produced? Consider some online research to determine where to shop. Websites that provide tables of information on sustainable companies and also on companies which are not environmentally conscious include greenpages.org, greenamerica.com and NRDC.org (Natural Resources Defense Council). For example NRDC has “an issue with tissue” –
Procter & Gamble (P&G) remains stuck in the past, rejecting demands from consumers and shareholders alike to end its reliance on climate-critical forests like the Canadian boreal. As a result, P&G is now the only one of the three largest toilet paper producers to earn F grades across all its tissue brands. While Kimberly-Clark and Georgia-Pacific now each offer a product made from 100 percent recycled content online to consumers, P&G still makes its flagship consumer brands almost entirely from virgin forest fiber,” which is totally unnecessary. Our planet has no time for the largest companies in the world to take half-measures or deflect blame. Many forward thinking companies are reducing waste, reducing or eliminating plastic, and simply caring about the impact of their products and their production on the environment.
Here are some suggestions for places to find more environmentally-conscious consumer choices:
- The folks at whogivesacrap.org produce toilet paper, paper towels and tissue with no plastic packaging.
- Try Blue Water laundry strips at trybluewater.com. They come in a cardboard box, with no plastic packaging or container.
- Dishwasher pods can be found at blueland.com. The pods come in a box, and because it is not liquid, the shipping weight and cost is greatly reduced, thereby reducing its carbon footprint.
- Organic cotton is considerably more healthy for your skin and the environment because of the myriad chemicals used in traditional cotton farming. Shop for clothing at Quince, a company which prioritizes quality, sustainability, and affordability by removing the middleman from production to shipment. Whenever possible, Quince opts for organic materials, environmentally conscious packaging and ethical business practices, including partnering with factories who meet or exceed global guidelines for workplace safety and equitable wages.
- Get a smart thermostat to save energy and money at ecobee.com
- Purchase a recycling box from Terracycle, a global leader in recycling which will recycle anything, including all types of plastic. Terracycle also provides links to many companies who will recycle their products with simple returns.
- Shop local at thesavagehomestead.com in Skaneateles to get sustainable essentials like soap, lotion, and cleaner in refillable bottles – no plastic.
- balsalmrosesoap.com is another local organic soap company in Spafford.
- Drop the toxic, the waste, and the pollution by using dropps.com cleaning and soap products.
- Consider buying toys from Haba toys at habausa.com outside Skaneateles. Their vision “is to partner with families in providing stimulating, creative play experiences while maintaining high-quality and sustainable production practices.”
- Skaneateles residents can get a composting service from CNYcompost.com, so that your garbage does not become part of the methane gas emitted from landfills.
So let your New Years Resolutions include efforts to buy products that have a low impact on the environment and a positive impact on your health. Consider asking online what products are sustainable, or organic. And before you shop, consider what you shop with. Chase, CITI, Bank America, and Wells Fargo banks are among the least environmentally friendly companies in the world. Change your credit card provider from one of them to amalgamatedbank.com or any number of environmentally responsible companies through Green America.