If you made a New Year’s resolution to introduce sustainable eco-friendly alterations to your lifestyle this year, you may be wondering exactly how to go about applying these changes. The way you shop is a great place to start, whether you’re hunting down a new outfit for an event or just doing your weekly grocery shop. Many of these sustainable shopping tips are simpler than you’d expect. It won’t take much hard work on your part, and could make a real impact on the way businesses approach their manufacturing and design process.
- Research the brands you shop with. Whatever you’re planning to buy, doing a little research into the ethical standards of the company in question will help you make informed, eco-conscious choices. There are some brands out there that source their clothes from unethical factories using underpaid and poorly treated workers and materials taken from unsustainable sources. Others, like Lazybones Australia, take the time to ensure that their products are sustainably sourced and in keeping with fair trade standards. Choose where you spend your money wisely so you know that you’re supporting a noble cause instead of contributing to damaging and unethical practices.
- Go thrifting. For those that are interested in pursuing a less wasteful life and a more sustainable future, skipping out brand new products and shopping second-hand is a great way to put your ethics into action. Vintage clothing stores are packed full of unique finds, each with their own fascinating history. Sometimes you’ll have to do some digging to find something you love, but it can be well worth the search. If you find a vintage or second hand piece that you’d love to wear but it doesn’t fit quite right, consider getting it altered so you can wear it comfortably. The same principle applies for shopping for new furniture, décor or any other items – opt to seek out second-hand options before buying something new and contributing to a more wasteful society.
- Keep up with the news. There are quite a few popular high street retailers that have been called out in recent years for their appalling unethical practices; from using certain fabrics and materials that damage the environment to forcing workers to produce their clothing in an unsafe work environment on extremely low salaries. These stories tend to pop up and then fade away, so aim to stay informed by reading ethical fashion blogs, eco-conscious websites, and following social media activists who speak up about unfair practices.
- Consider quality over quantity. Fast fashion is famously unethical and highly wasteful, so shop with quality in mind instead of buying lots of cheaper items to fill up your wardrobe. Seek out high quality garments that are made to last for years to come, and try to build a capsule wardrobe made up of versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched to wear in a wide variety of outfits.
- Go local. When it comes to food shopping, local shopping is always the most eco-friendly option. Foods that have been imported from the other side of the world come with a hefty eco footprint, so try out products and produce that are grown or made in your local area. This is also a great way to support local businesses and boost your region’s economy.