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The Big Green Purse! AKA The Sustainable Shopping Bible Pt. 4/4

Pt. 4 - Sustainable Food Shopping, and Other Notes


  • Styrofoam used to store food (i.e restaurant leftovers) can't be recycled or reused after its been tainted by food or coffee. It is also classified as a possible carcinogen by the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services
  • The EPA cautions everyone (especially kids and pregnant women) against eating tuna, due to contamination from mercury that precipitates out of air pollution generated by industrial smokestacks
  • Avoid American BEEF - the European Union officially does not accept meat from the US because of large amounts of growth hormonoes used in the cattle
  • Choosing Sustainable Seafood
    • Shop for seafood sold under the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) label - certifies those fish come from sustainable sources
    • Avoid large predator fish when dining out (i.e. shark, tuna, swordfish) bc they play a critical role in marine ecosystems, and also concentrate the most toxins. Therefore best to pick smaller fish i.e. tilapia


  • Rainforests - Disappearing at a rate of 6 soccer fields a minute
  • 40% of Central American rainforests have been converted into pastures for beef production, 90% of which is exported to the U.S. primarily for use in the fast food market or pet food.
  • Chapter 6 focuses on ways to trim meat from your diet as a way of protecting rainforests from the grazing that leads to their destruction
  • According to Environmental Defense, the burning of tropical forests accounts for at least 10% of the greenhouse effect Forests in North America
  • According to the Center for a New American Dream, U.S. paper consumption is the world's highest, devouring 12,340 sq miles of forests each year.
  • Saving paper o The Center for a New American Dream estimates that recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees, 7000 gallons of water, and 380 gallons of oil
  • According to a U of Washington study, women are more susceptible than men to air pollution and the heart problems it causes bc among other reasons, our blood vessels are smaller.

Air Pollution

  • Everyone is susceptible to asthma from air pollution (I have asthma so this is a big issue for me)
  • Environmental Protection Agency: we all may suffer as many as 554,000 asthma attacks each year bc of air pollution

Remember: The Big Green Purse Shopping Principles:

1. Buy less 2. Read the label 3. Support sustainable standards 4. Look for third-party verification 5. Choose fewer ingredients 6. Pick less packaging 7. Buy local

As a supplement to these notes, please visit for a guide on smart environmental shopping choices.