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
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. And with a computer in your pocket (smart mobile telephone), it would take you just moments to check and verify that the business you are buying clothing from is in fact – ethical!
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 Own 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 favourite 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 favourite 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, but 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 vegan hair colour products. Not only will you achieve your desired hair colour, you’ll also be making a huge difference in choosing the more sustainable route.
Buy Second Hand
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 superstores, consider shopping at your local thrift shops. Not only is thrifting becoming increasingly popular, but it’s also a great way to find affordable, high-quality clothing and products.
Online stores like Amazon make it easy to shop for your favourite brands sustainably, by offering their selection of products or produce. With many choices online from thousands of brands, you’re bound to find all of your needs. Many even offer a selection of affordable clothing from ethical brands. So do the planet and your wallet!
When we make purchases we often don’t think about the logistics involved, by shopping locally, we are doing our part to reduce CO2 emissions by reducing how far our food, electrical items and many more 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 eating processed foods 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 locally 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 favourite 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 telephone call.
You can even get a group of friends together to write letters, or simply begin an e-mail 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 organising a local peaceful protest in the hopes of inspiring others to stand up for sustainability.