Greening my fun shopping

March 16, 2009

I was shopping with a friend at an IKEA  (the name and the big blue and yellow building, especially the one in Bolingbrook, IL, suggest a car factory – – “look, that’s where they built my IKEA – it gets 35 mpg”).  IKEA has furniture, and lots of cool stuff at very reasonable prices (but no cars).  I usually buy too much there, but I heard myself saying “nope, I really don’t need that”  and actually taking things out of my cart.  I’m not sure if that is a function of the recession (although my husband and I are still gainfully employed), increasing greenness with it’s concurrent emphasis on reducing waste and unnecessary purchases, or just maturity. 

It might have been my increasing greenness because I’m really not very mature.  I found myself looking at curtains or sheets and saying – nice, if they were organic cotton I’d get them.  And to my friend, “oh, you don’t want that lamp, it’s a halogen lamp – those get very hot and use lots of energy.”  Two women were looking at a  bin of lightbulbs and said “Oh, it’s only 15 watts, that’s not bright enough.”  I couldn’t just stand by and do nothing… “No, they only use 15 watts, but they are as bright as a 60 watt bulb.”  They stopped and came back to look some more and thanked me too.   Green is good.

Frankly, I was disappointed by how light green IKEA seems to be.  I did get a couple of organic jams there – but that was about the only organic anything I saw.  And yes, I also bought some other stuff, including a couple of things made of, I admit it, plastic – – but they were clothespins (with nice strong springs – it is hard to find nice strong springed clothespins anymore) and an octopus with clothespins on the arms for hanging socks and such in a little area – – so it was to encourage my nondryer usage – – plastic in support of greenness.

This weekend I was at Best Buy to purchase a gadget my daughter had earned.  I got excited because I found rechargeable C, D, and 9 volt batteries and just as importantly – –  a charger for them.   I cringe and feel guilty whenever I have to use nonrechargeable batteries – so now there is a little less personal stress in my world. 

I’m a pretty eco-conscientious grocery shopper, but now it looks like my fun shopping is getting greener too without even trying.  Wouldn’t it be great if the options were more extensive?  And less expensive?  If there is anything to this supply and demand stuff though as more and more of us gravitate toward the eco-friendly then businesses will see the light and produce more and more eco-friendly products.  I think we’re seeing the beginnings of that now.  Whether it will survive the economic-downturn and whether I can actually buy less when more options become available has yet to be seen.



  1. Hi this blog is great I will be recommending it to friends.

    • thanks! always nice to hear unsolicited praise!

  2. I’ve never been an Ikea fan, mostly because the stuff is just too new looking -n with the sleek lines and the light colored wood. Decoratively, my house is the anti-Ikea. they do have some cool gadgets though. Didn’t they have the magnetic knife and herb holders?

    Of course the greenest place to shop is at garage sales – where I usually find my “new” bowls and glasses. My kids are drinking out of juice glasses that are the same kind we had when I was a kid!

    • My favorite IKEA gadget is a $2.50 frother (DH bought me a name brand one that never worked – this little fella keeps spinnin’ and spinnin’). Of course it froths milk – – but I mostly use it to stir hot chocolate – – no little lumps!

  3. I like Ikea too, but it’s site selection for it’s stores is very non-green. For all they appeal to urban, eco-conscious types, they almost always locate on the fringes of development (I know there are exceptions) and have VERY exacting site requirements regarding parking (ie. lots of it).

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