Thursday, June 24, 2010

Guidelines for Eco-friendly and Healthful Purchasing Choices


  • Replace products that are made from petrochemicals with products that are made with natural, non-hazardous and preferably renewable products. For example, use bamboo flooring that is finished with natural wax and Tung or Linseed Oil, and purchase natural paints, lime plasters and cork floors.
  • Purchase raw materials near production site to save on transportation expense and fuel waste.
  • Purchase materials that were processed using renewable energy.
  • Extend product life by reuse and recycling of components.
  • Recycle waste to become ingredients in other products. Called "biomimicry", it is the manufacturing process that takes one product and turns it into something else. For example, carpets that are made from recycled plastic bottles, paints that are made from vegetable extracts, tiles that are made from ceramic waste and rubber flooring that is made from recycled tires.
  • Support companies that employ safe and clean methods to produce product or who use recycled products.
  • Support companies that sell healthy, organic, sustainable products.
  • Support companies that engage in fair-trade and good wages for employees and a safe and fair work environment.*

* Not related to green living, but relates to conscious living.


  • Purchase from companies that pollute.
  • Purchase from companies that sell toxic or otherwise unsafe products.
  • Purchase from companies that do not support child-labor laws.*
  • Purchase from companies that practice unsafe or discriminatory working conditions or pay wages that do not constitute fair or livable conditions.*
  • Purchase from companies that use endangered wood or other unsustainable materials.

The following products cause pollution and should be avoided when possible:

  • Most commercial cleaning products and other household chemicals.
  • Garden pesticides.
  • Carpets glued with solvents, treated with fungicides and containing residual pesticides.
  • Fabrics treated with chlorine, benzene and/or formaldehyde.
  • Most plywood and particleboard, which contain formaldehyde, urea, and other dangerous glues.
  • Many paints and stains, which contain fungicides, volatile organic compounds (VOC's) and other chemicals.
  • Vinyl flooring, furniture, and plastics that contain VOC's such as bromides and chlorine.
  • Dry cleaning.
  • Underground oil tanks.
  • Electricity (While it's not feasible for most of us to eliminate electricity, there are ways—illustrated later in Harmonious Environment—to reduce your exposure to it.)

Excerpt from Harmonious Environment

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