With ‘single-use’ named as Collins Dictionary’s word of the year for 2018, it is clear that sustainable living is a hot topic. Ethical clothing companies are bearing more influence on social media platforms and many people are becoming more conscious of the way they shop. So how can you live more sustainably this year? The way we shop plays a big part in the answer to that question. So here are 5 ways to help you think about how your shopping habits can be more sustainable this year.
Your purchases have a bigger impact on the world than you realise. Think about how many miles your shoes have travelled to reach your feet – from where they were made, to the warehouse, to the shop, and then to your front door. Shopping locally offers you the opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint, support local businesses, and invest into the future of your local area.
It might be tricky to find everything you need within a mile of your house, but you’ll be surprised at how much you can buy locally. Find out when the farmer’s market happens, or where local artists and artisans sell their wares. Check out the grocers at the end of the street and see what you could buy there instead of at the supermarket. This is a simple way to start shopping more sustainably.
And if you are literally thinking about where your shoes have come from, check out this incredible Exeter shoemaker Chuckle Shoes.
Think about your purchases
High street brands encourage consumers to constantly buy the latest fashion trend. To maintain such low prices in the shops the fashion industry relies on low cost production. This encourages poor working conditions and mistreatment of those making the clothes. The demand for certain fabrics and dyes also puts immense strain on the earth’s resources.
So next time you’re in the fitting rooms trying on that new pair of jeans, ask yourself these three questions: Do I love these jeans? Who has made them? Will I wear them at least 30 times? Questions like these will help you stop and think about your purchases and in turn make you a more conscious consumer.
If you need some inspiration for ethical clothes shopping, look no further than Sancho’s, on Fore Street, Exeter - who are truly committed to sustainable fashion.
Think About the Packaging
Little choices can make a big difference. Considering the packaging of a product is a key element in sustainable shopping. Toiletry products can now be bought with no plastic packaging, a bamboo toothbrush for example, or paper-wrapped soap. Buying a tube of toothpaste that doesn’t come in a cardboard box can make a difference. Reduce packaging by visiting your local refill shop to top up dry foods, toiletries, and house keeping products.
Visit The Real Food Store for refill larder items like oats, rice, pasta, dried beans, pulses and cereal.
Or why not show some support to this incredible new venture, Nourish of Topsham, Exeter’s first zero-waste store.
Buy Second Hand
Shopping second hand is a brilliant way to shop sustainably. Stepping into your local charity shop can reveal a whole new world. Take a friend and have a hunt. The more you go, the better you’ll get at finding some of those hidden gems. You’ll soon learn which charity shops are better for certain things, whether that’s clothes or crockery. Online stores also offer an accessible way to shop second hand. Give it a go this week!
For quality second hand children’s clothes, shoes, toys, books and accessories check out the wonderful Jelly charity shop in central Exeter.
We live in a consumer culture that constantly bombards us with new products. The amount we buy demands resources from our world. These resources are not limitless and our consumption is damaging the planet. Buying less is a way to say no to our consumer culture. Living sustainably doesn’t always mean buying the right thing, but maybe just not buying something in the first place.
Shopping sustainably doesn’t have to feel unrealistic. Start with a few ideas from this list. Then maybe work towards a goal, for example, ‘Only buy second hand clothes for a year’. You’ll soon find that your shopping habits have changed and that you’re becoming more conscious of the purchases you make. Remember it all starts in the little steps that you can take tomorrow.