Even though preventing climate change and improving environmental protection feel like overwhelming issues, the truth is that each individual action matters. We all need to do our part to help the planet, and developing green shopping habits is a big step in the right direction. Shopping to support the environment means being much more conscious about both what we buy and how we shop. Here are some tips to get you started.
Choose eco-friendly alternatives.
More and more environmentally friendly products are available these days, and even mainstream companies are creating eco-friendly lines of their goods. From beauty products and cleaning supplies to clothing and accessories, one of the best ways to shop more sustainably is to start buying green alternatives to standard products.
Avoid single-use products.
Disposable products – like plastic bags, water bottles, straws, and paper towels – have a serious environmental impact, because they get used just once and then go straight to a landfill. Instead of constantly replenishing a supply of disposable items, invest in reusable products that will last: cloth shopping bags, steel water bottles and straws, and cloth towels, just to name a few. These changes will massively reduce the amount of waste you create on a daily basis.
Buy local when possible.
The transportation of goods across the country and around the world is a major producer of carbon emissions, so buying local products is another way to help the environment. Try shopping at small businesses in your area, and buy your food from local farmers when possible. Buying local will also help boost the economy in your own town.
Choose items with less packaging.
Like other disposable products, packaging materials are single-use items that get sent straight to the trash. Even worse, they’re frequently made from plastic. Fortunately, many companies now pride themselves on using minimal packaging, and there are often options to buy items that aren’t packaged at all. When you’re at the grocery store, shopping in the bulk section, buying loose produce, and choosing fewer processed foods will also help.
Bring your reusable shopping bags.
This is probably the easiest change to make. Using a plastic bag each time you shop creates a huge amount of waste, so bring a cloth bag instead. People tend to think about reusable bags at the grocery store, but don’t forget to bring them to the mall or wherever else you shop as well.
Make fewer shopping trips.
Every trip in the car produces carbon emissions, so spending less time on the road makes a difference. Instead of driving to the store every time you realize you need something, plan ahead and make one or two big shopping trips each week. You’ll end up saving time, too!
Shop online less frequently.
The same principle applies to shopping online. Instead of ordering items separately whenever you think of something you need, make bigger purchases less often. Having a big order shipped at once will cut down on both packaging waste and the energy used for shipping.
If you want to make a commitment to green living, changing your shopping habits is a good place to start. Before you make your next purchase, make sure you’re abiding by these tips!