To put it simply, we buy too much – and every new item takes its toll on the planet.



The solution is equally simple: buy less. And if you do need to buy something, look for eco-friendly alternatives.

shopping facts

l The equivalent of 30kg of energy, raw materials and packaging are used to make every kilogramme of products we buy.

l Australians used 3.9 billion plastic bags in 2006. (But there’s some good news: that was down from 5.95 billion in 2002.)

l Half of household rubbish by volume is packaging.


shopping: key steps

1.      Borrow or share it. Get books from a library, hire tools and DVDs, and set up a tool sharing scheme with neighbours.

2.      Buy things that last. Buy quality and avoid disposable products.

3.      Buy local. Shop locally (so you travel less) and buy locally produced goods (so they travel less).

4.      Buy from green retailers. It helps them grow.

5.      Buy recycled products. Otherwise there’s no incentive to recycle.

6.      Buy second-hand. Explore local charity shops, local classifieds, garage sales, eBay, etc.


want to do more?

q Shop online: postal deliveries or delivery rounds involve less transport than every customer driving to a shop.

q Get and give unwanted items for free on Freecycle.


Reduce packaging

q Avoid overpackaged items.

q Buy fresh food instead of tins, jars and packets.

q Put fruit and vegetables loose into your shopping trolley then into a reusable bag.

q Use reusable bags instead of plastic bags.

q Shop in stores that will let you refill or bring your own containers.

q Buy bulk sizes.

q Buy items with packaging you know you can recycle.

q Download music instead of buying CDs.


What a waste!
The average Australian household spends more than $1000 a year on things that they don’t actually use.

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