March 28, 2008

Buy Green for the Future

By Vestina Crayton, 4-H Family Educational Instructor
Pinellas County Extension
Green Purchasing, Environmentally Preferred Purchasing, and Sustainable Purchasing are all words that describe buying products or services that have a reduced negative impact on human health and the environment as compared to other products and services designed for the same use. Choosing to purchase green products can have positive long term impacts. For example: “Buying 100 percent recycled-content paper can reduce energy use by 44 percent, decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 37 percent, cut solid waste emissions in half, decrease water use by 50 percent, and practically eliminate wood use.” Rutgers, January 2008

One objection to purchasing green products is the cost. In some cases, the cost of green products compared to traditional products is more. However, if you consider the potential impacts that traditional products can have on your health and the environment, you may be surprised at the true cost. Green purchasing takes into consideration the costs associated with each phase of the product’s life cycle. Generally speaking, the life cycle of a product includes:
  • Acquiring the raw materials
  • Production /Manufacturing
  • Operation
  • Maintenance
  • Disposal

Identifying and evaluating a green product is simple.

  • Many retailers have developed product lines that are specifically green, environmentally preferable and/or sustainable.
  • Look for the Florida approved labels for green purchasing. For more, visit

Energy Star logo
Green Seal logo Green Guard logo

  • Ask these simple questions, is the product
    o Made from nontoxic materials?
    o Reusable and durable?
    o Made from recycled materials or can be recycled?
    o Energy and water efficient?
    o Made from plant based raw materials?

Making the decision to purchase environmentally-friendly products is one of the many small ways you can make a big difference in your life, your family’s life, and your community for generations to come. For more ways to enhance your quality of life by creating and sustaining a better environment, visit Pinellas County Extension at

Other Resources:
Rutgers the Supply Chain/ Green Purchasing Overview
Environmental Protection Agency

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