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Buy Green

Benefits of Buying Green

  • Save energy 
  • Save water
  • Protect natural resources like ancient forests
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change
  • Improve air and water quality
  • Help make your home and yard healthier

"Buying green" means taking into account the environmental and health impacts of the products and services you choose. Whether you're making an everyday purchase like paper towels or a special "big" buy like a TV, sofa, bicycle or car, buying green can do a world of good. 

For a list of resources that can help you make better buying decisions, please visit our Green Purchasing Web Links page.

Here are some quick tips to keep in mind when shopping for a product or service:

  1. Choose used products. In most cases, reusing what you've got or buying something that's been "pre-owned" is better for the environment than buying a brand-new product. Frequent thrift stores, browse online classifieds websites such as Craigslist, or share and trade with friends.
  2. Reduce packaging waste. Favor products sold with little or no packaging. Get tips here.
  3. Choose reusables. Carry reusable shopping bags, travel mugs and water bottles. Favor products you can use multiple times, like cloth towels and rags rather than single-use disposables like paper towels.
  4. Buy recycled. Look for products that contain recycled content. The higher the post-consumer recycled content, the better it is for the environment.
  5. Give priority to energy and water efficiency. Anytime you're buying a product that uses water or energy, including appliances, vehicles, and fixtures for your kitchen, bathroom or laundry, make sure you comparison shop and choose the most efficient products you can afford. It's good for the environment and will save you money year after year. Find out about making your home greener here.
  6. Choose products with independent green certification. It's sometimes hard to know if a manufacturer's green claims are legitimate. In some industries, there are independent certifying organizations that verify a manufacturer's claim. For wood and paper products, look for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo. For appliances and electronics, look for the Energy Star logo. For bathroom and kitchen plumbing fixtures, look for the WaterSense logo. 
  7. Patronize service providers that are certified green. The Bay Area Green Business Program certifies companies that meet the program's standards for environmental responsibility. If you're looking to hire someone to design or maintain your yard or garden, choose a Bay-Friendly Qualified Landscape Professional. If you need help with a home remodeling project, hire a Certified Green Building Professional