The word “green” is everywhere these days. And these big companies loooove to greenwash by claiming their products are sustainable or eco-friendly, but there’s no substantial information to back them up. They may say a t-shirt is “handmade made with natural materials”, but leaves out the part about the worker who is paid little to nothing in a sweatshop to make it. Remember when H&M said they were sustainable, but they really weren’t? Although they’ve made some improvements since then, they were still adding all kinds of pollution while continuing to mass produce their apparel when the claim was initially made.
Green is used to describe ANYTHING that benefits the environment, like literally any part of the product, practice or building’s life cycle. So while it’s closely related to another term that’s probably not always used correctly, “eco-friendly”, it’s just not as specific.
Suppose you were buying a new soap that was handmade in a solar powered building. Awesome! That means it didn’t take as much energy to make as your old soap. But if that same soap is then packaged in a plastic container - it’s not eco-friendly. If the soap was placed in a recyclable box, using biodegradable labels and carbon-neutral shipping…now we’re talking eco-friendly!
So basically, green is less harmful to the planet than traditional items, and eco-friendly doesn’t cause any harm, period. When companies aren’t lying to us with greenwashing, green shopping helps fight climate change through a smaller carbon footprint.
This information can be overwhelming but if you’re looking to add a little green to shopping habits, below are some tips.
A Guide to Green Shopping
- BYOB: Bring Your Own Bag! While some states have banned plastic grocery bags and some stores don’t even offer them anymore, staying prepared with a reusable tote is a nice start to green shopping. Plus you can style a reusable bag with your shopping day outfit better than a plastic bag…just sayin.
- Try to shop local. Remember that there might be some big companies franchised in your neighborhood that still sell products full of toxins, or don’t pay their employees fairly. When shopping locally for food, check out a farmers market for produce that’s grown nearby. We know you can’t always find everything at your favorite local spots, but we also know how much energy it takes for goods to be transported from long distances when businesses don’t have carbon neutral shipping.
Cut back on single-use products and aim for reusable bottles when you can. A start to this is buying things in glass jars instead of plastic, and then reusing those jars for things like food containers or candle holders. We’re super inspired by tonle’s candles in up-cycled bowls and jars!
- It’s safe to say we don’t need anymore waste being tossed into landfills and oceans. Check for options with less packaging, packaging that’s easily recyclable or refill stores where you can use the containers you have and fill them with what you want to buy. You can also search for low-waste or zero-waste products that come in biodegradable or cardboard boxes. Some brands like J&L Naturals even ship their items plastic-free and with biodegradable labels!
- Sharing is caring. I mean you’re probably already sharing your Netflix password with your squad to save money, so why not swap other things like games, food and clothes? Letting your buddies borrow or have things you no longer need can prevent them from having to buy more stuff, and can even free up some space on your end. You can even turn it into a fun game night with the fam by bringing the stuff you don’t want, and drawing numbers to see who gets first dibs. Sustainable competition!
- Do the research! Oh wait, we’ve already done that for you! But if you’re ever out and about or grabbing something you can’t buy on DoneGood.com, read the labels! Check for third-party verifications that confirm a product is non-toxic or natural. Be on the lookout for words like “poison” and “danger” in your household cleaners. Something that claims to be good for the environment shouldn’t have so many disclaimers.
Have you been trying to add a little green to your shopping habits? Let us know some of your go-to tips and tricks!