Before we know it, the biggest holiday shopping weekend of the year will be here in the blink of an eye. Between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, the anticipation continues to build as deals are revealed through TV commercials, print ads and social media, all inspiring consumers to fill their carts and to take advantage of unbeatably low prices on the items on everyone’s wish lists. Despite the excitement of holiday bargain shopping, it is important to be aware of the negative impact your purchases may have on air quality and the environment, and to be open to greener alternatives.
Environmentally friendly behavior starts with buying decisions. Whatever your shopping plans entail, there are numerous ways to step up to do your share for cleaner air and reduce your carbon footprint while grabbing the great deals:
- Bring reusable shopping bags – Holiday shopping is great fun but also a huge producer of plastic shopping bags. Consider keeping reusable bags in your car so they’re always available and you don’t have to worry about forgetting them at home. By using a reusable bag, you’re not only reducing the amount of non-renewable resources necessary to produce plastic bags, but also helping to clean the air by cutting down on the thousands of bags that end up in landfills.
- Shop locally – Whether you’re heading to the mall for Black Friday or a local family-owned shop for Small Business Saturday, the less you have to drive, the better for the environment. Every gallon of gas saved keeps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, and not driving store-to-store will help to reduce harmful emissions that lead to poor air quality. Also, if you’re planning to host a festive holiday dinner this year, consider shopping for sustainable produce from your local farmers. Not only does local, organic food taste better, but you’ll also be doing your part for the community and the planet.
- Shop smarter online – For those who want to get the goods but avoid the lines, Cyber Monday offers all the benefits of Black Friday shopping, but from the comfort and convenience of your home. Opt for a stress-free shopping experience this year to reduce environmental impact and improve air quality. Online shopping is an increasingly popular option, as U.S. shoppers spent a record $126 billion on online shopping during the holiday season last year. It’s also considered by many to be a greener alternative as goods are often stored in and shipped from one central location, reducing fuel consumption from large transport trucks. To further reduce excess packaging, try consolidating all of your online orders to one store!
- Look for environmentally friendly products – When making your purchases, especially big-ticket items, try to find the best green alternatives. Look for electronics and appliances that use less energy by checking for the ENERGY STAR® mark. ENERGY STAR certified products use less energy than standard models, ultimately saving you money on your utility bill while helping to protect the environment and clear the air. You can also make sustainable decisions about your purchases by choosing products made from eco-friendly materials, such as organic cotton or recycled plastic. And remember, giving the gift of your time or a shared experience may be among the greenest options of all.
A few small changes are all it takes to help people all across the St. Louis region breathe easier this holiday season. To learn more, visit the tips section of our website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.