If you are trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle, then one of the areas in which you will likely be trying to improve is how you spend your money. Making a conscious effort to shop more sustainably works to put pressure on businesses to improve their practices and become more environmentally conscious. Although the impact of shopping more sustainably might seem limited, its effects on companies can be huge.
Be Careful with Packaging Materials
One of the ways that you can shop more sustainably is to be more aware of the types of materials that are being used in packaging, as packing is one of the main contributors to landfill waste. Whenever possible you should avoid buying products that use too much plastic packaging. However, avoiding plastic packaging completely is not always realistic. In these cases, you should check to see that that packaging only contains one material. As recyclingbalers.com explains, packaging that contains more than one material is impossible to recycle.
Go for Natural Fabrics
When you are shopping for clothes you should avoid buying pieces that are made from manmade fabrics, such as polyester, rayon (viscose) and nylon. Instead, you should opt for cotton, wool, linen, hemp, jute and Tencel materials.
Do Your Research
Before shopping with a brand, you should take some time to do your research, to make sure that a brand is sustainable you should look into the materials that are being used, if the processes are environmentally friendly, where materials are sourced and what delivery methods are used. It is not too difficult to find the answers to these questions online or by contacting a brand directly on social media.
You should be on the lookout for greenwashing, which is a practice used by businesses to make their company more sustainable. There are several resources online that can help you to learn which companies have a history of greenwashing.
Practice Mindful Shopping
Of course, making a conscious effort to shop with the right companies that stock the right materials is a very good practice, but it should be used in combination with mindful purchasing. You should try to avoid impulse buying or buying fast fashion pieces, or items that won’t last by simply being more mindful of your spending.
Learning more about how companies use advertising, marketing and customer experience techniques to influence purchasing decisions can help you to be more mindful when shopping. It is also useful to ask yourself some questions when shopping, such as:
- Will I wear/use this in a few years?
- Why do I want this item?
- Do I have anything like this at home?
- Does this bring me joy or serve a purpose?
If you struggle with maintaining mindful shopping then it is help to set yourself some boundaries. For example, you could create a rule in which you do not allow yourself to buy an unnecessary item as soon as you see it. Instead of buying anything on the spot you should wait a few days before making a purchase.