Shopping is a necessary part of life where we go to stores to buy the products we want or need. Such a common and frequent errand makes it a significant contributor to the climate issues we are currently facing. We’ve put together some simple yet effective ways to shop more sustainably.
1. Change how you travel to stores.
Your form of transportation plays a large part in how physical retail shopping causes emissions. If you drive to a store that is miles away, you’ll contribute more to the store’s carbon footprint. If you ride your bike or walk, you help reduce that effect. Even using public transportation is a much better method for reducing your footprint.
If driving is still the best option, combine shopping trips. Rather than doing an errand a day, map out all the errands you’ll need to take for the next month. Try to compile them into one or two big shopping trips. That will reduce your transportation’s impact and probably turn out more convenient for your time.
Your distance to the store can also inform whether or not you’re better off buying online…
2. Order online.
Studies show that on average, online deliveries generate half the carbon footprint than physical retail shopping;“E-commerce is the less energy-consumptive option approximately 80% of the time.”When people shop in person, they travel to the store, perhaps make multiple visits to evaluate items, purchases, sometimes return items, and then travel back home. Depending on how you commute to the store, that process generally isn’t outweighed by the recorded impact of emissions related to packaging and delivering online orders.
Ordering online also grants you more flexibility. You can research and compare products and companies more thoroughly before purchasing. Many businesses are making a point to reduce their carbon footprint regarding deliveries. Pay attention to companies that tell you about their delivery process. Those are the ones to support.
3. Buy used products.
Many of the new clothes and products we buy are low quality and meant to be disposed of after a few uses. Consider buying used and/or higher quality apparel and products. Investing a little more money into something that will last much longer is certainly worth it both for yourself and the sake of our landfills.
Thrift and secondhand shops are a great way to reuse perfectly good products. They are almost all charity-based, locally run, or family owned so your support at these businesses make a positive impact on more than the environment.
New or used, take care of your belongings. Properly launder, wash, and store your products so you don’t have to replace them as often.
4. Support small businesses that make the environment a priority.
Buying products made from recyclable materials is a great way to support and utilize recycling efforts. Consider it a “used” product that will get more than one use out of it.
Do some research for companies that are built on the value of being eco-aware. Nowadays you can buy practically any cosmetic, hygienic, or practical household product that has been recreated in an environmentally friendly way. Unfortunately, many of these products have not made their way into large brand stores yet. There are new forms of toothpaste that doesn’t use water or tubes, plant-based cleaning products, and so much more.
Think ahead and think smart. Only buy what you need and find ways to get it more sustainably like we’ve covered. We only have one planet. Let’s take care of it.