News Flash


Posted on: March 1, 2022

Smart Shoppers Can Save Not Only Money But Help The Environment Too

Did you ever hear your parents or grandparents say, “waste not, want not”? This phrase, which dates back hundreds of years, still resonates today. That’s because more and more consumers are realizing the impact of the huge amount of waste that our society generates daily. This is due to a variety of factors, including a greater awareness of the environmental impact of waste. People also have come to realize just how much waste they generate while staying home during the pandemic.

Sustainable shopping has only grown more important to consumers since the onset of the pandemic. In fact, 82% of consumers say that sustainability is more top of mind now than it was before COVID-19, according to a recent survey conducted by Google.

We live in a society that values convenience, and with added convenience comes more waste. Much of the waste generated by communities can be diverted, reused or recycled. The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) says 76% of what’s in the landfill is recyclable, and it has a goal to reduce the amount of material we send there by 75% in the coming years.

One way that area residents can help reduce waste is by embracing the concept of “conscious consumerism,” said Amy Densborn, education specialist with SWACO. The idea behind conscious consumerism is thinking about the full lifecycle of something before purchasing, including choosing to shop local.

Central Ohio influencer Heide Rembold offers specific tips and ideas about conscious consumerism at her Instagram account, @consciouscbus. Both Rembold and Densborn agree that taking small, simple steps at home or while out shopping make a big impact on our landfill and the environment.

Below are their top tips for being a conscious consumer.

  1. Keep using what you already have before sourcing new products. “Remember this mantra: progress not perfection,” said Densborn. “Sometimes we can get excited about purchasing that new glass water bottle to replace the aluminum one but there is still a lot of life left in the bottle that we currently own. The most sustainable thing is to use what you already own. Maybe we don’t need to have the latest and greatest of everything.”
  2. Look for products that are packaged in minimal to zero packaging. If that’s not possible, try to find products in recyclable packaging. It is even better if the packaging is sourced from renewable natural resources such as paper, cardboard or a resource that can be recycled infinitely, such as metal or glass. These are much more sustainable options than plastic packaging. 
  3. Buy in bulk since the packaging required is far less than individually wrapped or packaged items,” said Rembold. Bulk purchasing can save on packaging but also can save money. Also buy only what you need to avoid throwing away things that have exceeded their shelf life.
  4. Think about the impact of your purchases. Rembold advises understanding what you’re getting and who you are getting it from. When you purchase sustainably, you’re sending messages to others that you’re a conscious consumer. For example, avoid using single-use plastic cups — but if you need to, most are now accepted in curbside recycling in Franklin County.
  5. Consider quality over quantity. Instead of buying multiple cheaper items, invest in quality items that will last a long time.
  6. Think second-hand. More and more people are upcycling and buying at thrift stores, resale shops and online marketplaces. This keeps many materials out of the waste stream and can also help save money. Also consider using reusable shopping bags when at the grocery store.
  7. Shop locally, especially from businesses that are committed to sustainable practices. Here are several suggestions:

  • ReWASH Refillery — soap refillery and sustainable market
  • Lotte Naturals — natural beauty products
  • Scioto Made — outdoor and adventure gear
  • Green Haven Living — sustainable home items, gifts and more 
  • Reuse Revolution — zero-waste refill store
  • Recycled Karma Candles — candles made with recycled materials from local Columbus businesses

Another easy way to be a conscious consumer is by keeping recyclable items out of the local landfill. 

To learn more about what is accepted in Franklin County's curbside recycling program and where to dispose of non-recyclable items, visit 

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