Think about this: The most recent statistics I came across indicate that approximately 80% of toys on the market today are made in China. Over 80% of the beauty products currently on retailer’s shelves contain ingredients on The Black List. And there were 237 food recalls in the US last year.
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Big business isn’t ALL bad but small businesses tend to pay more attention to detail when it comes to the products they create. They also have much less of an impact on our environment than larger companies. Finding a small company that also happens to be close to where you live is even BETTER! It keeps the money you have earned within your own community and even further reduces the impact on our environment.
Here are just a few ways that supporting small, local businesses is good for the environment:
1. Less transportation required: It is getting harder and harder to find products that are made right here in the USA. That means the majority of gifts advertised in those flashy fliers are coming from overseas. Whether by boat or by plane, it takes a lot of fossil fuels to transport goods from across the world!
2. Less packaging: If you have ever tried to get a child’s toy out of its box after it has been unwrapped you will understand just how much packaging waste these products produce. Small, local businesses do not have the extra money to invest in labor intensive packaging which makes your trashcan much less full after all the gifts have been opened.
3. Small businesses reduce sprawl: By supporting your local, small businesses you help ensure their success. Big box retailers take up a lot of space and those huge parking lots are an ecological nightmare. The more local businesses we have, the fewer new huge department stores will be built!
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What are some other great gift ideas from local vendors? Many local artisans make candles and soap. You could also look for local carpenters for a beautiful bookshelf or an afghan made by a nearby quilter. Maybe you YOURSELF are a phenomenal quilter? (I envy you if you are!) Homemade gifts are a thoughtful way to show someone how much you care! Take a few minutes so sit down and really PLAN your holiday shopping list.
In order for small, local businesses to survive, WE as a community must support them. Yes, prices tend to run higher for products made by hand and with attention to detail but maybe you could put a few less gifts under the tree this year.
You don’t have to camp out on Wallstreet to get your message across…the almighty dollar is the most powerful message there is so spend it wisely! Where will YOU shop this holiday season so that YOUR voice is heard?
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.