~ Maureen Brucker

Sometimes the environment is a huge

thing to try and deal with. Let's try and

break it down into small pieces that we

can deal with on a day-to-day basis. We

can all start buy recycling more and

buying things in glass packaging.

Sometimes that doesn't do much to affect the situation. On the other hand that certainly is a start. Particularly the purchasing of less packaging. If you avoid the extra wrappings then their will be less that will be coming your way. Manufacturers will look at things and say oh my product that has all this packaging is suddenly not selling as well as the one that is being sold in bulk or with only a small container maybe I should dispense with a huge amount of packaging. In that vein it certainly doesn't I hurt to write and let the manufacturers know that you will not be buying their product because of all the packaging. And that you will not be recognizing or recommending their product because it has too much packaging. That's the way you can get things change. People working several years ago with the fast food industry were able to get change to occur by complaining about the extra packaging that came with all the food particularly the styrofoam. After individual complaints and writing to corporate offices many of the styrofoam packages containing the sandwiches and the fries were dispensed with. Some packaging can be reduced and can be changed. 

A huge way to make a change involves buying gently used second-hand clothes and furniture as well as vehicles out on the road. Let's face it none of this is contributing to the advancement of American factories because they're not being made here anyway. You can get really fine gently used clothes deeply discounted at second hand stores and thrift stores. Buy carefully and thoughtfully with a little brand knowledge and an eye for quality you can usually get outstanding bargains with undamaged clothing that you can wear for years to come. Look to the classics rather than the trendier outfits. As for the furniture, you can often get better quality for less if you look carefully at what is available. As with all clothing it is important to know just what you're looking for before you hit the stores. Develop an eye for style and quality and you will do well. All the while you will be allowing things to have a second and third life other than the landfill.

Let me give you an idea as to how some of this will help. Concerning the furniture -- you have a situation where even if things are broken down into kits you have to put together. There's still volume that needs to be transported. This means that a particular item still in a fairly large package will need to be moved from almost undoubtedly another country to the store and then to you. This involves gas and vehicles that are considered part of a carbon footprint that become the hidden costs a particularly the furniture. You have the same outline but on a smaller scale when you're dealing with clothing but the clothing is frequently coming across an ocean whether it comes from Indonesia or from China or from Vietnam or India. In either case in any case you have a carbon footprint again. This is actually part and parcel of the environmental cost of the item. When you're dealing with something that's used, the carbon footprint has already been taken care of with the first owner. At that point the only carbon footprint that you have is the transportation to get the item from the point of sale to you. In many cases are much smaller carbon footprint. Perhaps it involves driving across town and selecting the item of clothing and driving back home. Or maybe you'll be going to the used furniture store and picking something up and putting it in the back of your car or on the roof and taking it home. With the furniture it's a little bit more inconvenient because you have to have help getting it into the
vehicle or attached to the vehicle and then drive it home and then get it in the house. On the
other hand the carbon footprint is so much less then what you would have if you bought it new.

In cases with clothing you often can get something that is better made and more classically
designed will again that small carbon footprint. When were talking about furniture there's no
doubt that some of the older Furniture that's available is infinitely better put together than
something that comes in a box that you have to assemble.

You can always  arrange clothing or furniture swaps among friends garnering many benefits at the same time. Whatever options you choose, think of the impact of the choices long range.