The GreenEtiquette: the manners to be polite to the environment

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Why should not the “bon ton” be applied to the environment?

The formality was born in Italy during the 16th century; since then, it has inspired and influenced the human behaviour in many different situations. From the personal introduction to how to set the table, from the relationships between neighbours to the most recent “netiquette“, which overhaul the way to navigate on internet, the manner is approaching many new spheres of interest.

These days, dominated by the climate change, the global warming and the unprecedented challenges we are facing with the energy supplies, the manners should be directed to the Earth. Luckily, media of all types as well as institutional and non-institutional organizations, activists and exceptional celebrity endorsements, give us daily pieces of advice and recommendations on how to be eco-friendly. However, until today, none of them has drawn out a proper Etiquette of the sustainable living.

At, we believe that a way of conduct for a eco-friendly living is foundamental to preserve our planet, all the fabulous species that live on it and the human beings. For this reason we have written the general principles, the manners to be polite to the environment and respectful with the Earth.

This is the GreenEtiquette: a sort of guideline to be used when we want to be more “green”; the guiding principles that should assist us with any choice we make, making it more sustainable. However, we should always keep in mind that, learning the manners does not necessary mean follow all these principles.

The Etiquette is first of all the results of a common sense of the word “respect“.

1) Read the label

The label is an easy-to-understand reference that exposes the truth of a product and encourages the shopper to make fully informed choices and discriminate among competitive products.

By getting in the habit of reading the labels you can make a dramatic improvement in your life. It is far more important than comparing prices: the list of ingredients, the origin of the product, the manufacturer and the importer are just some very important information; certifications also make the difference and help you in taking the right decision on how to spend your money.

2) Choose local economies and organic products

Buying from farmers’ market or even producing your own food is an environmental friendly way to reduce your carbon footprint and ensure you get quality products.

Bread and yoghurt for instance can be made at home while tomatoes, basil, strawberries and many other deliciousness can be grown at your place. This practice will also help in reducing the waste of plastic and the abuse of packaging.

3) Opt for ethical consumerism

Do not purchase products and services that can be considered non-ethically made. The positive buying include minimal harm to or exploitation of humans, animals and/or the natural environment. Remember: the green consumerism has no price!

4) Go for biodegradable, reusable and recyclable

Home to millions of species including humans, Earth is the only place in the universe where life is known to exist. It is our home and we believe this is a good reason for being in love with Her. This means that we should be respectful and well-mannered, trying to return what She gives to us. Opting for biodegradable is a way to love our Planet, but we could also reuse, recycle and select washable things instead of throwaway.

5) Do maximize the potential of things before binning

Things have a longer life than you think. A piece of paper, a jacket, a mobile phone, anything should not be discarded before asking ourselves if it is possible to use it again. Maybe it can be transformed into a gift or maybe you could sell it, or even better you could reinvent the usage and reuse it! (see next point)

6) Give new birth to the things

Use your creativity to reinvent the things and transform them in something new, even the objects that can be considered useless. From the suit that can be readjusted with some accessorizes, to the old pc keyboard that can easily be reduced to small parts and transformed in nice pieces of jewelry. Plastic bottles, bags and many other things can be modified into something new, using your creativity and at the same time, respecting the environment.

7) Use the proper bin

Always keep in mind that each material has a proper bin. Paper, glass, metal, biodegradable waste are the easy ones, however other waste materials such as batteries, oils, electrical equipments, medicines, and many others, should be also properly collected and sent to the relevant central collection facilities.

8) Do not waste the resources: water and energy should be used knowingly

Natural resources are being consumed at an alarming rate. In our daily life, we should optimize them in order to cut the carbon footprint and reduce the related costs, but overall we must preserve them as well as the connected biological balance in order to ensure life on Earth.

We should always consume only what we really need; at home, in the office, at the gym but even during the journey between them. We could take a walk, take a ride on the bicycle or choose the stairs instead of the elevator.

If we can’t really stay away from the technology, then we should make the more sustainable choice and remember to switch off the electrical devices when we are finished.

Last but not least, never waste water and if it is drinkable, drink tab water!

9) Sharing is good

Are you stressed to be stuck in the traffic? Do you have the Monday syndrome? Why don’t you share the journey with your colleagues, neighbours, or friends? Car-sharing can be very eco-friendly and at the same time can improve the quality of your life. In addition the same idea can be applied to bicycles, houses and resources.

Sharing is good and it gives you many advantages at the same time: from the cost saving to the friendship support, you have many reasons for making this choice!

10) Are you “green”? Do not display it!

Living in harmony with the natural environment, means living in harmony with people. Why should we insist in drilling our friends on where to bin a certain material, what to buy and how to avoid the waste? Being “green” it is a fortune for many reasons and probably those who are not green today will become green in the future. Being green means using the common sense, being polite with the others and to the environment.

Simona Falasca, Elena Noseda (also translating), Simona Calissano, Mario Notaro

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