Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The story of stuff - from raw material to trash

We are bombarded by a lot of go-green jargon these days. Some of us know what to make of it, some of us let it pass for there is little we understand of it or maybe there is little we think we can do about it.

I am one of those people who take the Environment, our Earth our Eco-systems our plant and animal like very seriously, and I believe that we are all connected. So if the Polar bears are facing a tough time, fighting for their existence...the same stuff that bothers him will bother us sooner or later.

How many of us think about things like 'raw material sourcing', 'point of origin', 'transportation costs', 'toxicity', 'carbon foot-print', 'recyclability', 'impact on environment', 'disposal' - when buying a new product?

I too did not, and still don't think about a few things when purchasing a new item. Why all these points are important and necessary for a cleaner greener Earth are very nicely demonstrated in the following clip. It is very informative and thought provoking. Show it to all members of your household, your maid included, share it with your co-workers.

From this clip I have gained immense knowledge and am going to be an 'awakened-informed-buyer' and not just a shopping-junkie driven by consumerism.
Here is what I have decided to do:
  1. Buy local goods - the thing may be made by a local company, but just check for the 'Made In..' tag. If that says the name of the country you reside in. That is buying local goods.
  2. Buying locally grown fruits, vegetables - I see the divide between local produce and foreign, procured produce very clearly in our super markets especially Village Grocer in Bangsar. There a locally produced pack of Strawberries costs around 6 RM whereas the same quantity of imported Strawberries costs more than twice !! Buying locally grown produce reduces the travel-transport costs of the goods, thus reducing the amount of fuel that was used up.
  3. Support local industry - buying clothes, shoes, handbags, school bags, books, handicrafts etc from the local community or city. This ensures employment of the local communities and stops a large number of them from migrating to the cities to get employed in large corporations and living in pitiful conditions.
  4. Point of purchase decision - when picking up an item think very carefully - is this item a NEED or a WANT. A 'Need' is something that satisfies your basic requirements of living like food, clothing etc; whereas a 'Want' is something that feels good to have, and is something that you can like without.
  5. Recyclability of the item - when buying cutlery for a picnic, buy paper plates rather than plastic ones, buy re-usable items like cloth-made shopping bags. Never get your food packed in a restaurant in Styrofoam items, carry your own metal-containers or then ask the hotel to pack in paper-based container.

This is what I can think of now....I will share more as and when I have light-bulb moments.
Do write in to share your green-ideas.

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