Become a Conscious Consumer

ShoppingBagEvery time you buy a product you are saying to that company, ‘keep on doing what you are doing.’ You are supporting everything that company does: every source of raw material, every packaging solution, every environmental standard that they are undertaking, every form of employee relations, every marketing choice.

With so many brands on the market and mixed messages in the media it is no wonder that you may be a little confused and unsure about how you can make a difference. From my point-of-view, each and every person CAN make a difference to the environment by becoming more aware of their choices and be willing to change when new choices become available.

The world is changing, and many new products and services are becoming available that are a part of the solution to reducing our footprint on the earth. It is up to you to choose these new ‘greener’ alternatives and support eco-aware companies.

We have a strong ecological commitment at Be Genki to work towards a better, brighter and cleaner future for the world in which we live in. I am constantly looking at ways in which we can reduce our impact on the environment via my business and personal life. As I become more aware of choices, Be Genki becomes more green, more healthy, and more of a means to help inspire holistic happiness and positive change. We’re not perfect, but what we are, is willing to change and step up to the demands of this ever-evolving journey to sustainability.

Before purchasing any product consciously read the packaging to see if it is a brand that you desire to support. Is the packaging recyclable? What is the product made of? Are there any potentially harmful ingredients within the product? Is it a local and ethical brand? It’s second nature for me to do this, but that is because it’s what I do for a living. I really wish that all consumers would become more aware of how powerful their choices are, and what their dollar is actually supporting and encouraging.

My number one tip is to stay away from supermarkets. The shelves are packed with processed foods, and toxic cosmetics and cleaning products, manufactured from unethical companies that have only one thing in mind – maximising their profits. Head to your local health food store instead or surf the internet, and you’ll have a large selection of natural and organic products that contain beneficial ingredients manufactured by ethical companies that not only care about your health but the health of the planet too.

Here are a few other things to consider.

Choose organic foods where possible. There is so much debate about organic versus non organic. If you’re still unconvinced about organic produce, consider this for a minute… can you honestly say that a chemically-sprayed apple is better for you and the environment than a non-chemically-sprayed apple? One of the common benefits that I love about organic foods is that they simply taste better, but there are many other benefits to incorporating organic foods into your diet aside from the nutritional advantages. Certified organic foods are produced without the use of herbicides and pesticides, both of which have been proven to not only have a negative impact on the environment but also to the end consumer in the form of increased health problems and interfering with the healthy development of children. Organic farming also ensures that bio-diversity remains available in the foods we eat and the wildlife that live on the farms.

Choose a stainless steel or glass water bottle. You’ll not only save a lot of money but the environment will love you for it too. Just stop to think for a minute about how many people consume one or more plastic bottles of water each day, and the impact that we could make by switching to a re-usable glass drinking bottle.

Read the label. There are a lot of cosmetics brands that market themselves to be “organic” and “natural” but if you look at the ingredient list you’ll notice that there is in fact a large percentage of the ingredients being synthetic and toxic. By law, brands must label the ingredients in descending order. When choosing a brand always look at the ingredient list (especially the first 2 to 4 ingredients as they will make up the majority of the product), and if it contains parabens, fragrances (synthetic), colours (synthetic), sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, sodium lauryl sulphate, mineral oils, phlatates, sulphates etc, best to put it back on the shelf and choose another brand. Complex chemical structures (found in non-natural products) are created in a laboratory and are non-biodegradable. They accumulate in soil, water and air, and may become toxic, which in turn affects the physiology of living organisms in contaminated ecosystems. There is countless research out there in reference to the damage that man-made chemicals have had on our environment. The following link will take you to a great site that has a comprehensive Chemical Hit List: Nasties to Avoid

House-hold products
There are many great brands that make laundry, kitchen, bathroom and general household cleaning products that are safer and healthier for you and the environment. These companies use biodegradable and sustainably sourced plant and mineral based ingredients to help reduce the number of toxic chemicals entering our bloodstream, and the earth’s waterways. Some of the chemicals that are commonly used in household products have been linked with eczema, dermatitis and other allergies, weakening the immune system and promoting cancer. Read the label and look out for ‘greener’ alternatives.

Glass is one of few healthy and ‘green’ choices for packaging. Due to glass being totally inert, using it as a packaging medium guarantees that the integrity of the product within it is maintained. There have been more and more reported cases of products which have been packaged in plastic being tainted through the migration of chemicals from the plastic itself. Glass is also one of the only materials that is infinitely recyclable. It can be used over and over again and never degenerates, which is extremely important in respect to environmental sustainability.

Look at the boxes that products are contained within. Are they made from recyclable materials as well as being recyclable too? Most cosmetic companies coat their boxes in plastics – not a very “green” choice at all.

Shopping bags
Always carry a re-usable shopping bag in your handbag. We all know that plastic bags are a big problem, so what would it take for each and every one of us to start opting for reusable bags instead?

Recycle more. Sounds like a really simple one … use the recycle bins that your council provides. It never ceases to amaze me when I go to a friend’s place and they are too lazy to separate their rubbish in to papers, glass, recyclables and trash. Come on guys… wake up!

By being conscious of your choices you can bring about a positive change each day.

What choices are you making to help be a part of the positive change in the world?

Link to this article on Green Times

One response to “Become a Conscious Consumer

  1. Great to see a Be Genki blog. Keep on doing what you are doing 🙂

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