The products we purchase can have a significant influence. One example is the growth in demand for organic produce. Between 2005 and 2006 the market grew by 53%, double that of the main supermarkets. We all, therefore, have considerable power when we choose what to spend our money on. The way that we shop is related to climate change as the production and transportation of goods generates carbon dioxide emissions.
Purchasing local produce reduces emissions as well as helping the local economy. Every year the Horsham Food and Drink Festival celebrates local produce. The District Council website has information on this and details of the local produce and farmers' markets.
The more that we consume the more carbon dioxide is generated. It is, therefore, important to buy goods that are more durable. This can be cheaper in the long run; energy saving light bulbs are a good example.
Try to buy products containing recycled material. This will help to sustain the market for recycled material and less carbon dioxide is usually emitted during their production.
The amount of waste that is produced can also be reduced by the choices we make when we go shopping:
- purchase unpackaged goods - loose fruit and vegetables
- if possible buy non-perishable goods in bulk
- purchase concentrated products or refills
- buy rechargeable items e.g. batteries
- avoid buying disposable products such as single use cameras and nappies.
In West Sussex we are throwing away a staggering 77,000 disposable nappies every day. The Real Nappy Initiative gives advice on using 'real nappies'.
Take a reusable bag when you go shopping. There are a number of campaigns in the Horsham District that are working to promote reusable bags and reduce the 13 billion plastic carrier bags given to UK shoppers every year.
Environmental labels on goods and products can be helpful. For example, you can check if they can be recycled. Labels with a ranking system to illustrate the energy efficiency of white goods have been used for some time. A similar system which the public can access is now being used for cars and for houses and buildings.
A few products now have “carbon reduction labels” which show you the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted as part of a product’s manufacture, distribution, use and disposal.