A lot of us are new to the conscious consumerism world. I know this because I’m definitely one of those people. For a long time, the main way I did my part in the world was by recycling, donating and volunteering when I could- which are all awesome things! Working at DoneGood made me realize how the money we spend and the things we buy affect people and our planet. If you haven’t reached that part in your journey yet, that’s okay…we’re here to help!
The word sustainable wasn’t part of my vocabulary until a few years ago, but it was more along the lines of saving turtles with paper straws and creating art with recycled materials. While I had an idea that clothes from places like Forever 21 and H&M were so cheap because they weren’t made to last long. I didn’t do much of my own research to learn how bad those materials are for our world, and how poorly the workers who make them are treated. Now I know that Election Day isn’t the only way to make a change and take a stand.
Americans gave $327 billion to charity last year—but we all spent over 40 times more than that buying stuff! That means if just 2% of the dollars we all spend can help make the world better—that could do as much good as all the donations to all the non-profits in the country combined.
Sustainable shopping is choosing to buy, or not buy, products based on the things you care about like: how they impact on your health, the environment, and other people. Like if you want to buy a face wash without toxic chemicals, or chocolate that isn’t made with child labor, or a sweatshirt that supports mental health.
Why is sustainable shopping important?
So many of the things we use or wear on a daily basis are made by companies who don’t really care about how their products are contributing to climate change or keeping hard working people locked in poverty. A lot of people may tell you to “only buy what you need” or “consume less”, but we’re big fans of doing the things we want while also being able to make the world a little better. We could just stop buying things, but what will happen to the folks who’ve worked hard to build their businesses or who rely on these businesses for their livelihood? We need SYSTEMIC economic change. How do we get that? Only when consumers participate in supporting the people building those new economic systems.
But hold on, we’re not for overconsumption either. We don’t want to put a ton of “stuff” in the world. We’re for people buying secondhand, and for people not buying things they don’t really need. So if you’re looking for ways to be part of that change while making your shopping habits more sustainable, we’ve listed 5 different ways for you to do that!
5 Easy Ways to Make Your Shopping Habits More Sustainable
- When you’re shopping in-person, use reusable shopping bags and if you’re a lover of online shopping - check for items that ship plastic-free. The fashion industry and food waste play big roles in pollution, so anything we can do to put less plastic and harmful fabrics or materials out in the world, the better.
You can save 1500 grocery bags a year by using Better Basics biodegradable grocery shopping kit. And make a strong statement on a light shopping day with Made Free’s reusable tote bag, that fights poverty and human-trafficking.
- Buy secondhand clothing and prevent them from being thrown in landfills. As mentioned before, the fashion industry is doing crazy things to the planet. Fast fashion, online shopping returns, toxic chemicals (unfortunately the list goes on), are all contributing to climate change. So if you’re able to buy gently used jeans for casual Friday at work, or someone’s “old” prom dress to wear to a wedding - it buys us some time before it eventually has to retire. What’s that saying? One (wo)man’s trash, is another (wo)man’s treasure?
- Make intentional decisions to help avoid making returns when shopping online. We totally support buying what you want, but we also know how much returned items are accelerating climate change. Maybe take the time and get your feet measured to make sure those shoes will be the right fit, or do some research to see how accurate the size chart is before committing to those jeans.
As fun as fashion montages are, we don’t all need to be influencers with Fashion Hauls with intentions to return most of the order. Hate to be the one to break it to ya, but a pre-paid return label doesn’t make a return actually free. Between transporting them back to the companies and the packaging used to make the return, we’re definitely paying for it by adding more pollution to the world.
- Shop online with ethical brands like the ones on DoneGood.com! We do the research to make sure the 100+ brands on our site pay wages their workers can actually afford to live on and take care of our planet by using eco-friendly practices. That means you get to shop with a clear conscience, and use that brain power to shop instead of worrying about the bad things a business could be doing. And you can save a few bucks by shopping our sale page (it pulls in all the markdowns from all of our partners everyday, so you don’t miss a thing) or using the exclusive discount codes!
- Invest in high quality pieces that will last for years and are always “in style”. And even if the fashionistas say they’re not, you rock them anyway because ya look good in ‘em, and also because they’re not falling apart since they’re made with high quality materials. We’re no fashionistas, but pieces like shirts and shoes are always an investment. One of our newest partner brands, Dulo, has men’s shirts that are both classic and fly, and of course…eco friendly and toxin-free! Nisolo and Saolo also have timeless and stylish shoes.
We know these pieces aren’t always the cheapest option, but believe us when we say that cheap fashion will cost us more in the long run. At least you know that higher quality shoes and clothes can last for decades, and not only after a few washes. They’re also made by super talented artisans, instead of being pumped out by machines in a factory.
We’re all doing our best here and taking this sustainability journey one step at a time. Have you tried anything to make your shopping more sustainable that didn’t make the list? Leave a comment, and let us know!
- Sustainable Sustainability: DoneGood.com
- The Fashion Industry is Accelerating Climate Change: DoneGood.com