Sustainability is a major concern for many people these days. Changing the way that we live can help to reduce our impact on the planet. There are a lot of obvious ways to do this, like changing the way we travel so we fly and drive less. Using less energy at home makes a big difference too. However, have you thought about the way that you shop?
There are a lot of environmental issues tied to the things we buy. You must consider the emissions that are released when producing and shipping products, the materials that they’re packaged in, the social impact that they have, and the other actions of the companies that you are giving your money to. Unfortunately, a lot of people counteract the good choices they are making elsewhere because they make poor decisions when they are shopping.
The good news is, you can easily fix this by making a few small changes. These are the best ways to be more sustainable when shopping.
One of the best things you can do is to shop local instead of shopping online or going to big worldwide retailers. If you shop with a big corporation, you’re buying products that are shipped all over the world and contributing money to a company that creates a lot of emissions. Although local businesses still ship products in, their carbon footprint is much lower than a big worldwide company. Learning how to support small businesses means that your shopping habits have a better social impact too. The money you spend goes into the local economy and helps people in your neighborhood support themselves and their families. Even though shopping at bigger stores helps to create jobs, a lot of that money will be taken out of the local area. So, shop local when you can.
The only downside here is that local shops tend to be more expensive. If you can afford to spend a little bit more, shop local, but don’t feel bad if you need to go for the cheaper options elsewhere.
We all know about the dangers of plastic. It doesn’t degrade and it ends up in the ocean, where it causes all manner of environmental problems. So, when you are shopping, try to avoid it as much as you can. Buy non-plastic items or, at the very least, items that are made from recyclable plastic. Check the packaging on products too and avoid plastic if you can. There are lots of great zero-waste shops popping up where you can buy things like pasta or rice in refillable containers instead of plastic bags. If you do have to buy plastic, make sure that you recycle it properly.
Manufacturing new products creates a lot of emissions, so if you can buy second-hand, it’s much better for the environment. It’s also a good way to save money. Electronics are one thing you should always try to buy second-hand. We have a culture of replacing phones every year or two, even though they still work fine. This creates a lot of unnecessary electrical waste, but you can save some of those old phones and reduce your emissions by buying second-hand instead.
You can also get lots of great second-hand clothes online from eBay or even in thrift stores. The fashion industry is another one that creates a lot of environmental problems, so getting second-hand clothes is always a good idea.
Support Ethical Brands
There is a strong focus on sustainability for many people these days, and businesses are starting to recognize that. In the last few years, more and more ethical brands have been growing in popularity. These companies are changing the way that they make and package products so they can reduce their environmental impact. Many of them are also using some of their profits to support important causes and ensure that everybody involved in the supply chain is treated fairly. Many larger companies are not focused on ethical practices and often use exploitative methods to produce their products. So, look for these ethical brands and support them.
Invest in Quality Items
Finally, invest more money in quality items. There are so many cheap products out there that will last no time at all before they break and need to be replaced. This is so much worse for the environment because you’re creating more waste and more emissions are being released to produce those products. However, if you invest a bit more money in quality products that will last a long time, you can be more sustainable. This also saves you money because you are not constantly replacing low-quality items that break over and over again.
If you want to be more sustainable when you shop, simply follow these tips and you can make a big difference.