With the growing concern over environmental impacts, more people have been making the decision to go green, and shopping ethically is one way to do that. But what does it mean to shop ethically? Being an ethical consumer can be done in small ways depending on what and how you plan to buy.
Shopping ethically can help bridge social classes in a way through the promotion of local production and consumption. And as a consumer, you have the power to shape the shopping culture into something that can build the economy without harming the environment.
Ethical shopping supports high-quality products and companies while holding others who ignore social and environmental consequences accountable. It can also benefit those employed in the production of these goods. It can benefit you as well; more often than not, you can be assured of quality with ethically sourced goods, as they are usually made with great-quality and durable natural materials.
That being said, there are several ways you can change your shopping habits for the better. Here are seven tips to help you shop more ethically.
Buy From Ethical Brands
Take the time to look up ethical brands with products available in your area. By doing some research and asking people you know, you may be able to compile a list of companies that use naturally sourced materials, pay their employees livable wages, and uphold ethical production of their goods. For example, you can purchase from brands like Sézane, web and vintage brand, and similar ones that use eco-friendly materials and that have fewer collection releases than fast fashion brands.
Switching to ethical brands may be a difficult transition, especially if you’ve been buying from the same brands for years. However, with the right companies, you can start living more sustainably without regrets. By buying from ethical brands, you can enjoy a guilt-free shopping experience, knowing that you’re minimizing harmful environmental impacts to a certain degree. You’ll also be supporting companies who ensure that their workers are treated well, paid well, and are working in a safe environment.
Minimalism provides some advantages in different aspects of life, especially in escaping consumer culture. As such, the minimalist lifestyle has grown in popularity over the years, with most people opting for fewer possessions.
When you practice minimalism, you make fewer purchases, which means you also produce less waste, in terms of both the products you buy and the packaging used for it. And because you commit to a life of minimalism, you are also more conscientious in choosing what to buy. You end up prioritizing products that are of better quality, that will last longer, and that you’re sure will see a lot of use, in order to maximize your purchases. All these things help you reduce your carbon footprint.
Consider buying from local shops and businesses instead of buying goods that have to be shipped in. Continuing to buy the latter means contributing to waste, as shipping often requires more packaging. Shopping locally reduces the waste involved and thus your carbon footprint as well.
In addition, by buying from small businesses in your locality, you’re sure to be getting your money’s worth. These businesses often put more care into making their products, thus giving you better quality. And since they might not have as many people frequenting their business, they’re more likely to offer better deals that can help you save more.
Go For Secondhand Goods
Many people these days indulge in consumer culture, with most goods, especially clothes, being produced in bulk annually. This isn’t very sustainable, with all the waste generated and the terrible workplace practices involved in production, and it makes it hard for many to shop ethically.
As an alternative option, you may want to start buying secondhand goods, as opposed to brand-new products. For instance, rather than buying from fast fashion brands, you can look for used or vintage pieces in thrift stores or curated online shops. This way, you’ll be helping to reduce the number of clothes that end up in landfills, while adding a unique aspect to your style.
In addition, secondhand goods are often sold for lower prices, thus allowing you to save money. In some cases, you may even be able to snag designer goods for much lower than the original price.
Rent Clothing For Special Occasions
Special occasions are inevitable, and you may find yourself in the bind of having to buy new clothes every time one comes up. To avoid filling your closet with clothes you might only use once, consider renting an outfit instead of buying one for the occasion.
Not only will you be reducing waste and saving space in your closet, but you also get to save money, as it’s often cheaper to rent clothes than buy new ones. If you’ve always dreamt of wearing designer attire to an event, renting may be your best chance to indulge in luxury without breaking the bank.
Learn How To Upcycle
Upcycling is essentially the practice of turning discarded or unusable items into new products that are of greater value. Using the same principle as reusing and recycling, upcycling allows you to reduce waste.
If you’re new to upcycling, furniture pieces are a great place to begin, as you can get a better product out of an old piece you might have written off as being unusable. You can also get creative with the fabric of old clothes and turn them into useful pieces, such as pillow covers or tote bags.
Participate In Goods Swaps
Item swaps happen when a group of people organize events where participants bring items they don’t need and swap them for items they want. In-person swap events still happen, but nowadays you don’t necessarily have to be physically present to swap with someone; rather, you can just log in to a swapping app or website. This is a great way to get rid of items you will no longer use while getting something new in exchange.
Living ethically is important if you want to play a part in saving the environment. As such, shopping more ethically is a great way to do that and save money at the same time. You’ll be living more sustainably, and consequently, you’ll be lending your support to businesses and establishments that may have more ethical practices.
Changing your shopping habits may not be something that can be done overnight. In fact, it can be difficult for some people who are loyal to certain brands or habits. However, with the tips given above, you can slowly begin your journey of shopping more ethically.