Sy, Can I Steal Your Tag Line? by Gia Machlin, March 08 2011, 1 Comment

In case you haven't noticed, we are an e-commerce site. We sell stuff. Our tag line is "Where it Pays to Buy Green." EcoPlum started out as a place to buy eco-friendly products and earn rewards in the process. But it quickly morphed into an educational/informational site. My passion has always been teaching and I come from an academic background, so as I learned more about environmental issues, I wanted to educate as many people as possible: through my blog: "Confessions of a Reformed Consumer"; by bringing on experts to write monthly columns on Green Design, Green Schools, Eco-Friendly Beauty Products, Local and Organic Food, and Green Entertainment and Media; by posting top green news stories every day on facebook, Twitter and Google; and through our monthly newsletter EcoPlum Pie. However, somewhere along the way the fact that we sell products got a little lost. Well I'm here to bring it back.

So, let's get the obvious part out of the way. Of course buying nothing is greener than buying something. So if you don't need it, don't get it. OK? I said it, don't buy if you can help it. The problem is, most of us need stuff, want stuff, and will continue to buy stuff. Take clothing, for starters. Don't know about you, but I'm not a nudist, and I need things to wear (plus I live in the North East and I don't want to freeze my tushy off). So when my workout clothing has seen one too many spin classes and it's time for a new cycling jersey, why not buy one made of recycled plastic? Or when my son's backpack falls apart from carrying 500 pounds of books to school every day, might as well replace it with one made 100% from recycled water bottles.

This kind of thinking can be extended to all your purchasing habits. Rather than buying my daughter a new handbag, I got her one made of recycled juice boxes. I stopped buying plastic disposable straws for my kids' drinks and replaced them with glass reusable straws. Lunches get packed in a reusable folding sandwich container instead of Ziploc bags, disposable coffee cups have been replaced by reusable mugs, we make our own seltzer and have eliminated plastic soda bottles from our waste stream, we use stainless steel water bottles and never buy plastic bottled water, and those awesome Chicobags are with me on every shopping trip. I know there are a LOT of people who could make these small changes towards a green lifestyle. But this will only work if:

1) People know WHY and HOW to go greener, and,
2) People know WHAT the greener alternatives are, and WHERE to BUY them.

So this brings me back to education and disseminating information. While my marketing people tell me I need to focus a little more on the products and a little less on the education, I still maintain that "An Educated Consumer is Our Best Customer." Sy Syms, can I steal your tag line?