You can conserve resources, save energy, and prevent
waste by buying products that:
■ Are energy efficient
■ Are used or reusable
■ Are made with recycled content or are recyclable
■ Have no packaging or reduced packaging
Everything you buy affects the
environment, but some choices
are better than others.
“Green purchasing” Green purchasing involves learning
means buying smart. Shop with the about all the ways that a product can
environment in mind—that is, buy affect the environment during the
products that help conserve natural course of its “life cycle”—from the
resources, save energy, and prevent materials used to manufacture it, to
waste. Green purchasing can also how you use it, to what you do with it
mean not buying things you don’t when you’re finished with it—so that
need. By educating yourself about you can make smart choices.
the products you buy, you can make Use the tips and resources in this
a difference in protecting the brochure to make yourself an
environment. educated consumer.
Buy smart. Take some Avoid excess packaging. Look
Did you know that time to think before you for products that have less packaging,
since your parents buy something—maybe or buy in bulk—you’ll have less to
were born, the
you don’t really need it. throw away. You can also buy items
amount of trash each
Maybe you can think of with packaging that can be reused or
has doubled?* an alternative to buying a recycled.
product, such as renting a
Buy used. Buying things that have
DVD instead of buying it or sending a
been used before means that your pur-
free e-card instead of a paper birthday
chase doesn’t use more resources or
card. Shopping with the environment
energy. If the item is still reusable
in mind will conserve resources, pre-
when you’re through with it, then the
vent waste, and save money.
next person to use it is not using addi-
Buy durable products. Instead tional resources either. You can find
of buying disposable products, which authentic retro clothes, room acces-
are wasteful, buy things that will last sories, and even sports equipment
a long time, such as rechargeable at your local thrift store. Shop
batteries and reusable plastic mugs online or at local stores to buy used
for drinks. CDs and books.
Share with friends. Another Buy recycled.
way to save resources and energy is to Buying items made
swap with friends and family instead of with recycled-content
buying brand-new products. Maybe materials means that Did you know
you and your friends like the same fewer natural resources, that for every
video games. Why not share your such as trees, were 42 notebooks
games instead of each of you owning used to produce the made with 100
the same game? Or maybe you can products. Products
paper, one tree
rent the game first to see if you really made from recycled is saved?*
want to own it. paper, plastic, and
other materials are usually easy to rec-
Buy energy-efficient items.
ognize in the store—just read the
Look for the ENERGY STAR® logo
labels. Try starting with school supplies.
when buying electronics such as TVs,
Many stores carry recycled notebooks,
CD players, DVD players, and comput-
pens, and other products.
ers. ENERGY STAR is a program
designed to identify and promote
how do my purchases
make a difference?
Buying “green” lets compa- Your purchasing choices
nies know that you care affect what your parents
about the environmental buy. Your parents
impact of the products you buy groceries and
buy. Why would a big corporation other packaged
care what you think? Because your items based on your
Did you know that young
current and future purchasing power is likes and dislikes,
people spend or influence
extremely important to them. In fact, and they might even the spending of $300 bil-
companies spend $12 billion a year buy a car based on lion a year, or about 1 in
marketing their products input from you and 3 dollars spent?*
to you.* Shopping your siblings. Your
“green” sends a message friends also listen to what you have to
to the companies—that say when they decide what to buy. Use
Did you know that 67
percent of parents
you care about the envi- your influence to help others shop
buying a new car base ronment, and you’re not smart and protect the environment.
their decision on afraid to use your buying
advice from their kids, power to prove it.
who are not even old
enough to drive?*
Use the following resources to find more information about
how you can make a difference!
1. Act Green—a collabora- 3. “The Cost of Cool”—
tion of the Union of Concerned co-produced by the National
Scientists and the Environmental Wildlife Federation, Population
According to Teen Media Association—promotes Communications International, and
People, 62 percent environmental awareness and The Video Project—is a 26-minute
of its readers try to positive solutions to young peo- video and curriculum guide pack-
ple across the country. age expressly designed for teens. It
<www.actgreen.com> includes background information
and hands-on activities about con-
2. www.IBuyDifferent.org is
sumption, media, and the environ-
part of the Be, Live, Buy Different—
Make a Difference campaign,
which is a new national program
from the World Wildlife Fund and 4. Ecological Footprint helps
the Center for a New American teens and others calculate the
Dream. It teaches young people impact their choices have on the
how to make a difference by buy- environment. <www.rprogress.org/
ing differently. programs/sustainabilityindicators/
5. EPA’s Green Advertising
Claims brochure contains
information about specific terms
used to describe products, includ-
ing “environmentally friendly,”
Buy Green Here
“biodegradable,” and “ozone ■ The Solid Waste Agency of
friendly.” Northern Cook County’s
<www.epa.gov/epaoswer/ Eco-Friendly Marketplace
lists companies that sell green
products, including book bags
6. EPA’s Environmentally made from reclaimed rubber inner
tubes, hats and mittens made from
recycled sweaters, belts and jewelry
program Web site—while made from bottle caps, and purses
mainly designed for government made from old license plates and
workers—contains great green hubcaps. <www.swancc.org>
purchasing resources and links. ■ Co-op America’s Green
<www.epa.gov/epp> Pages OnlineTM is a directory
of green companies that are
7. ENERGY STAR® is a program committed to social and environ-
designed to identify and promote mental responsibility.
energy-efficient products. <www.greenpages.org>
Take the Resource
EPA’s Resource Conservation Challenge (RCC) calls on all
Americans to prevent pollution, promote recycling and
reuse, and conserve energy and materials.
Achieving these goals means adopting a resource conserva-
tion ethic, purchasing more wisely, and using products that
are easy to recycle and are made of recycled materials.
For more information, visit <www.epa.gov/rcc>.
*This information is cited on <www.ibuydifferent.org>. Special thanks to this joint
program of the Center for a New American Dream and the World Wildlife Fund for
contributing valuable information to this booklet.
Environmental Protection Agency
Washington, DC 20460
2 Recycled/Recyclable--Printed with vegetable oil based inks on 100% (minimum 50% postconsumer) recycled paper.