Learning about ethical shopping and how to shop consciously is the first step to helping improve the health of our planet, as well as taking good care of ourselves.
The world has finite resources and we all leave our own environmental imprint. Whether that be large or small, there’s no doubt every one of us can contribute to reducing the amount of waste generated in our day-to-day lives.
And our shopping habits are steadily changing for the better. Eco shopping, improving mindfulness and being conscious of what companies put in their products are things we can all do to help the planet.
It really doesn’t take much to make these changes and we’re not here to eco shame anyone. After all, everyone has to start somewhere and the ethical shopping community welcomes everyone.
By working as a community we know that if everyone does their bit, we can improve the wellbeing of ourselves and the world we live in.
What is sustainable shopping?
Sustainable shopping means shopping in a way that doesn’t leave a harmful impact on the world.
Unfortunately a lot of the items we consume – whether it be the food we eat, the clothes we buy, or the fuel we burn to keep warm – result in a negative impact on our environment.
But we don’t always see it. For example, single-use plastics that don’t biodegrade end up thousands of miles away in our oceans; leather used for handbags is not always produced with animal welfare in mind; cheap flights to Europe pump millions of tonnes of invisible toxins into the atmosphere.
By adhering to eco conscious shopping habits, you are not only mindful of where your products come from, but you also want to ensure they don’t impact the environment once you’re finished with them.
That’s why recycled clothes and water bottles, natural skincare products, repurposed gifts, fair trade food and carbon offsetting are all part of the sustainability cause.
How to shop more consciously
Of course, it’s one thing to be aware of ethical shopping and another to make it part of life. Often the barrier that prevents people from being an ethical shopper is price: for years products made from single-use plastic and man-made synthetics have beaten natural, ethical products on price.
But not only are natural, ethical products becoming cheaper, but we’re changing how we shop.
Price now isn’t the sole factor in defining if we buy one item over another. Shoppers are learning how to show ethically and consciously, and are actively seeking ethical purchases because of the increased awareness of the environmental and social impact many cheap goods impose on the world.
Here are some tips for shopping ethically…
1. Source locally
Perhaps the best thing you can do to improve your sustainable and ethical shopping habits is to source your purchases from local suppliers and shops. This dramatically reduces the carbon footprint of your items, and can also support your local highstreet at a time when big supermarkets and giant online retailers entice shoppers away from independent stores with their cheaper prices.
2. Check the labels
Whether it’s natural vitamins and supplements, or sustainable fashion, it’s always worth checking the label to see what’s gone into making your item. After all, a sweater may look like it’s made from wool but might in fact be 100% polyester.
Here at Take Good Care we’re open about what goes into our products and at times we have to use plastic packaging for health and safety reasons. That’s why you can read full lists of ingredients and materials used in every one of our items.
3. Recycle, reuse or repurpose
Single-use plastics make up a large proportion of the waste we throw away every day. The EU is monitoring the worst single-use plastics to wash up on our beaches, including plastic wrappers, food containers, cigarette butts and plastic bags.
Recycling is a great habit to get into, but so is reusing and repurposing. Finding a different use for a toothbrush once the bristles have waned, such as using it to clean your shoes, is a small way to be more environmentally conscious.
Equally, repurposing cardboard boxes into storage containers, jam jars into house plants or even turning an old bed into garden furniture helps reduce your carbon footprint while refreshing your home’s interior design!
4. Clothes swap
Fast fashion is one of the biggest environmental issues facing us today. We throw clothes away without thinking about the energy, resources and effort put into making them and getting them to our door.
But clothes swapping is not new. Perhaps you’ve swapped outfits with friends before going on a night out, or handed down an expensive coat to a younger family member.
Occasional clothes swapping is great, but these days there are clothes swapping apps you can use to find the closest event, where you can bring along your unwanted garments and swap them for a new look!
5. Use your products
Failing or forgetting to use up all of a product is something we all do. Who doesn’t have a tub of hand cream half used sitting at the back of a bathroom cabinet, or a jar of olives that went out of date a year ago?
Part of shopping ethically is also consuming ethically. An easy way to do this is by asking yourself if you really need the item, and, if you do, how much of it you need.
Companies will always try to sell you the larger bottle of shampoo or the bigger box of protein shake. But will you use it all? If not, then opt for a smaller size.
6. Glass isn’t always better
When presented with a choice between a glass or plastic container, many eco conscious people opt for the former. But it’s not always better.
After all, the cost of making and transporting glass sometimes makes it less environmentally friendly than plastic.
We’re not here to dispel a myth about glass being bad! If you use and reuse glass containers, and then recycle them, that’s the best option. But recyclable plastic also has its merits in that it’s durable, reusable and, eventually, recyclable.
7. Speak to the company
If you’re unsure about what is going into the products you want to buy, then speak to the company selling the products! Here at Take Good Care we love to chat with our community about the natural ingredients that go into our health and wellbeing ranges.
Of course, we are also open about them when we need to use plastic, for example, to maintain hygiene standards.
If a company doesn’t want to talk to you about ethical shopping and how they are striving to be more sustainable, then perhaps it’s time to shop elsewhere.
Ethical shopping is becoming easier and easier, with reusable, recycled and natural materials preferred over plastics and synthetics. Here are some eco friendly shopping solutions if you’re seeking to reduce your environmental impact…
- Reusable drinking bottles
- Sustainable fashion
- Household cleaning products
- Naturally occurring essential oils
Sustainable homeware takes many forms and the fact the EU sees plastic cutlery and plates as one of the biggest polluters in our oceans means buying ethical homeware products has never been so important.
Items such as bamboo cutlery, charcoal dental floss and even coconut bowls can help reduce the post-use impact on our environment.
2. Reusable drinking bottles
Plastic bottles are another item that negatively impacts our environment. Yet a reusable water bottle can save as many as 150 plastic bottles from being used every year. That’s a lot of plastic saved!
3. Sustainable fashion
It’s official: sustainable fashion is not a trend, it’s here to stay. Repurposing clothes into new items such as recycled scarves, shoes and jewellery not only helped save the planet but looks good too!
You can find thousands of sustainable fashion brands online and even more on the highstreet. After all, ethical shopping in charity shops is a great way to recycle old clothes, find a new look and get a bargain at the same time.
4. Household cleaning products
Gone are the days when thick bleach was the only solution to clogged drains. The development of eco-friendly cleaning products over the past decade means you can now greatly refuse your environmental impact when tidying and scrubbing your home.
Local refill shops are also the perfect place to top up on your washing up liquid, detergent or shampoo without the need to buy more harmful packaging.
5. Naturally occurring essential oils
Finding natural beauty products that don’t feature synthetic ingredients is fairly easy, so long as you look at the ingredients. Naturally occurring essential oils contribute in numerous ways to skincare, lip care and other beauty products – transforming their texture, smell and health benefits, without impacting on the planet.
Don’t be hard on yourself
While we all need to do our bit to help the environment, this shouldn’t come at the cost of your own health. Eco guilt is a problem for many of us, who feel that no matter how hard we try we’re not making enough of a difference.
But this is absolutely not the case. The biggest changes in this world begin with small steps, and if we all make a conscious effort to be more environmentally friendly, then the world will be a healthier place to live.
The real choice is about being eco conscious – even if this is simply reusing plastic storage containers – or opting to ignore the impact we have on the environment. Ethical shopping is a movement we can all get behind. So let’s go!