As consumers, it can be easy to overlook the effect that our purchases can have on the planet. While the idea of conscious consumerism can be a little intimidating, there are several small changes we can incorporate into our shopping habits that make a big difference. Being a conscious consumer is all about taking action and digging a little deeper to find out not only what a product is made of, but who is producing it. Below are six simple tips that you can put into practice to become a more conscious shopper.
Check the labels for ethical fashion certifications
Before purchasing clothing, always be sure to check the labels for ethical fashion certifications. These certifications will ensure that the clothing has been made under both fair and safe working conditions and will also help prevent you from purchasing items from mass-producing corporations that don’t offer fair pay to workers. While it may be difficult to keep track of the hundreds of different ethical fashion certifications, with a little research you can focus on the ones that are most important to your values and beliefs. Beyond certifications, you can also make a habit of checking for labels that indicate a product is both vegan and cruelty-free. A lack of animal by-products in your clothing will lessen your carbon footprint and help you do your part to protect our planet and all animals that inhabit it.
Do your research
One of the most important things you can do in order to shop more consciously is to take the time to research companies. As you shop, look for companies that have ethical practices and beliefs. If you’re not sure where to start, consider using an app like Good On You. This will help you determine whether or not your favorite brands are implementing sustainable practices, a living wage, and good working conditions in order to give you a better idea of where to shop. If you can’t seem to find more information on the companies you’re looking for, don’t be afraid to ask. Do your part to speak up about sustainability and you just might inspire your favorite brands to do the same.
Opt for all-natural beauty products
Throughout your daily routine, you’ll likely use a variety of beauty and self-care products. As you aim to become a more conscious shopper, consider making the switch to organic and cruelty-free cosmetics. What goes on your skin will eventually be absorbed into your body and many products used in most beauty routines contain harsh chemicals. This is especially problematic because they can also be harmful to our planet. All-natural beauty products will only include organic ingredients that meet the same growing standards as organic food. Not only are these products designed to help you look and feel your best, they’re also great for the environment! Skincare and beauty products aren’t the only products we use with damaging effects, our hair care products can also have a negative impact on our hair as well as the environment. Think about making the switch to organic beauty products such as these vegan hair color products. Not only will you achieve your desired hair color, you’ll also be making a huge difference in choosing the more sustainable route.
The fashion industry has a disastrous impact on the environment. In fact, it is the second-largest polluter,–in the world–just after the oil industry. The creation of clothes takes a major toll on the environment. Popular materials like cotton require 2,700 liters of water just to make one cotton shirt. This is the equivalent of what one person drinks in two-and-a-half years. Keep this information in mind the next time you’re looking to upgrade your wardrobe. Rather than heading to the mall, consider shopping at a local thrift store. Not only is thrifting becoming increasingly popular, it’s also a great way to find affordable, high-quality clothing. Online consignment stores like thredUP make it easy to shop your favorite brands sustainably, by offering their selection of gently-used clothing online. With clothing from over 35,000 brands, you’re bound to find all of your wardrobe’s needs. They even offer a selection of affordable clothing from ethical brands like Lululemon. Do the planet (and your closet!) a favor by shopping secondhand to prevent textile waste.
When we make purchases we often don’t think about the logistics involved. For example, the average piece of produce in the United States travels 1,500 miles. By shopping local, we are doing our part to reduce CO2 emissions by reducing how far our food has to travel. Not to mention, locals foods are typically fresher as they are picked at the peak of freshness, which allows the food to retain more nutrients. Have some fun experimenting with new recipes at home with all of your organic goodies and you may just find you’ll never want to go back to shopping from chain vendors again. There are many other positive benefits of shopping local as well. It’s an investment in your local community and keeps local farmers in business. Shopping local also gives you access to a larger variety of produce which you might not find at the supermarket. Lower your carbon footprint while protecting the planet by purchasing your produce from a local farmer.
Communicate with companies
Rather than wait for one of your favorite brands to switch to more sustainable practices, you can do your part by communicating with that company the ways in which they can become more sustainable and reduce their environmental footprint. Whether it’s encouraging them to use natural materials or biodegradable packaging, don’t hesitate to share your values, whether it be through social media or a phone call. You can even get a group of friends together to write letters, or simply begin an email dialogue with someone higher up in the corporation; voicing your concerns can go a long way for both that company and the earth. If you find that your voice simply isn’t being heard and you’re looking to have an even bigger impact, try your hand at organizing a local peaceful protest in the hopes of inspiring others to stand up for sustainability.