How does your trip to the shopping mall impact the environment? Bring your own bag also applies to retail shopping, not just the grocery store. “Shop local” campaigns make a point of using resources that are close to home. When you buy local, you support your community and help independent businesses. Locally owned businesses also make more local purchases which then leads to less travel on the roads and a smaller carbon footprint.
A few things to consider on your next shopping trip:
- Are cotton, wool, silk, linen and other substances grown organically and sustainably?
- Was this product grown or manufactured locally?
- How toxic are those bright colors?
- Does the product produce pollution?
- Does the product contain recycled material?
- Are the raw materials derived from a renewable resource?
- Does its production benefit the local economy?
- How far did the product have to travel to get to you?
Choose a dry cleaner that does not use the chemical perchloroethlyne (PERC) which causes serious health issues to workers that are exposed. Using any other substance is sometimes referred to as “natural cleaning.” Be aware that some non-PERC dry cleaners use alternatives sometimes called “hydrocarbon” treatments that are also toxic.
Many dry cleaners will gladly accept wire hangers for re-use. Because of their odd shape (they get stuck in sorting machines) and the low quality steel, these hangers are difficult to recycle; check with your hauler before putting them in your curbside recycle bin.
Professional wet cleaning is an alternative that uses computer controlled washers and non-toxic biodegradable detergents. Most clothes labeled “dry cleaning only” can be safely laundered with the wet cleaning method.
For non-toxic cleaners in your area, visit the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s Dry Cleaning Program or call 909-396-3125 or 909-396-3301.