Sustainable Shopping Tips
Sustainable shopping doesn’t necessarily have to be inconvenient; it is all about shifting our way of thinking and being conscious of the actions we are taking. We have the opportunity to make large changes by actions we take. Every time we bring our own reusable shopping and produce bags that’s numerous plastic bags a year that are not being used. As a result of our actions and the number of people adopting this ideal, there’s a ripple effect, eventually leading to stores stocking less plastic with the shift to banning plastics and eliminating that convenience as has been seen in the state of Victoria with regards to plastic bags in grocers. Despite the convenience of plastic, bringing a reusable drink bottle, keepcup, straw, and bags can all be items you store on you in purse of backpack while out and about or within your car. It’s all about creating the habit of remembering these items before we leave the house each morning, stopping to think where we might end up throughout the day and determining how can we reduce our plastic consumption at each of these places. Now, let’s get down to some tips on sustainable shopping.
1. Support Local Businesses
Although it is often more expensive to shop at local businesses (as it should, they are not often bulk buying or having the scale of economies that large retail giants have), this is one of the first steps we can make towards sustainable shopping.
2. Attend Markets
Here in Australia we are blessed to have markets on almost every weekend year-round, a luxury that many other countries do not have for many reasons: if it’s poor weather and as a result inability to grow fresh produce, etc. Attending these markets allows us to support local artists and vendors, get out of the house for a few hours, and maybe even learn a few things about those within our communities.
3. Buy Quality Products
We’re at a time in life where vintage items are trendy and second-hand stores are booming, as a result of the shift away from fast fashion. As a result, it is becoming easier to reduce our retail footprint, even for those who love the odd retail therapy outing. It simply can’t be stated enough that buying fewer items of better quality is much more sustainable that continuing to buy that $5 basic t-shirt every few months. Having a capsule wardrobe is very doable, having multiple staple pieces as well as a few colour items to allow you to add your own identity to your items and while feeling as though you are not wearing the same thing day in and day out. It has been estimated that more than 50% of clothing purchases are thrown out in less than one year, so how many items are you turning over each year? Further, these items often are not even donated, sent straight to the landfill, with the equivalent of one garbage truck full of clothes being burned at a landfill every second! Deciding what to wear will become less of a stressor in your daily life, with less time wasted trying to pick out an outfit as you only have a few pieces to sort through rand decide between.
4. Check Clothing Labels
As much as saying no to single-se plastics such as cups, straws, and bags, plastic has become so prevalent in our lives, that it has made its way into the way of clothing. Particularly that of activewear. Be on the lookout for labels that mention the item is made out of polyester, nylon, and rayon as these are forms of plastic. We all want to have a healthy lifestyle and with that comes the necessity of appropriate clothing, so do your research to find alternatives that are made from natural fibres such as bamboo, tencel, or cupros. As these can be investment pieces, ensuring you are using a device in when washing that catches microplastics, such as the Cora Ball will help to reduce your impact on the environment and remove these plastics from entering our waterways.
5. Don’t be Greenwashed
Marketers are good at their jobs. Be aware of potential greenwashing from brands that add words such as “eco-friendly” and “naturally” to labels to help us feel less guilty about our purchases all while no changes have been made from their company. It’s easy to fall prey to these actions as we all want to do better in our lives, and with quick headlines seeming as wins for reducing plastic usage, there’s often a less glorified back-story. As much as we want to be able to trust those that are providing products to us, we want to encourage you to be cautious and do your research. We aren’t trying to make you question everyone around you and imply that all companies are deceitful, but as not all companies follow a profit, people, planet philosophy and just a profit one, their judgement can be clouded.
Sustainable shopping can take on many forms from grocery shopping to clothing, to appliances, to so many more of the categories of items that we buy. We understand the research that can be required before making informed decisions and encourage you all to make small changes that when you can to help create positive change.