Shopping is often overlooked as a worthwhile way to reduce your carbon footprint. From food to transportation to clothing, we have the opportunity to make a difference with our dollars. If you are looking for the most effective ways to be environmentally conscious while shopping, please read on.
Public transportation is a great way to save money and reduce harmful emissions. Buses and trains can also be a great place to catch up on reading or podcasts. Many cities have car share companies, some even offer more eco-friendly, fuel-efficient cars to borrow for a period of time.
Another option is to ask a neighbor or friend to join you in the things you might do on a regular basis. Car-pooling is a great environmentally conscious way to shop for groceries, hit the gym, or get to work.
Reduce Waste by Bringing Your Own Reusable Grocery Bags
A simple habit that can be a game-changer for the environment is to keep reusable shopping bags on hand at all times. Keep some in the car, as well as in your purse for easy access when shopping. Many slow fashion brands are beginning to make stylish, eco conscious reusable bags that can double as a cute tote, messenger bag or purse.
Supporting local farmers isn’t only earth-friendly, it’s also better for your health. Nutrient value deteriorates over time and food that comes to your supermarket has often traveled miles upon miles to get there. The food grown closest to you isn’t only better tasting, it’s better for you.
Even if your farmer’s market is a little bit further away, it is well worth the time investment to purchase fresh, local, most often organic produce. It also means fewer emissions to transport the food to your plate.
Think about it this way - each little thing you purchase leaves its own carbon footprint. Plastic wrap, coffee in disposable cups, the containers from takeout all end up somewhere (for a very, very long time). Practice being more mindful each time you pull out your wallet. Purchase what you need, not just what you want.
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the things you buy as a household, not including food, accounts for over 26% of your household carbon emissions. If you want to live a more environmentally conscious life, consider the less-is-more philosophy.
Landfills are overflowing with fast-fashion items and clothing that does not or cannot be recycled. Thrift shops reduce the environmental impact of creating and shipping new goods. As an added bonus, most of the proceeds from thrift shop purchases go towards charity, as opposed to corporate polluters.
When shopping online, be patient. Asking for overnight, or 2-day, delivery will most likely require your package to be placed on a plane. This will significantly increase the carbon footprint of your new purchase. Also, when shopping “big-box” online retailers make sure to choose to have all products shipped together, even if you have to wait longer. One shipment means fewer carbon emissions.
Plan at Least One Vegetarian Meal a Week
While at the grocery try to reduce the amount of meat and dairy purchased, and skip the beef. Prof Tim Benton, at the University of Leeds, says “The biggest intervention people could make towards reducing their carbon footprints would not be to abandon cars, but to eat significantly less red meat”.
Know Your Earth Friendly Products
Wouldn’t it be a beautiful feeling to know that the clothing in your wardrobe makes a positive impact? Sustainable fabrics are becoming more widely produced and accessible to the general public. Do your part for the environment by purchasing these earth friendly products.
Being informed about different sustainable materials for clothing is the first step towards an eco friendly wardrobe. Clothing made from hemp, naturally produced linen and organic cotton are all excellent choices for a more sustainable, eco-friendly wardrobe.
Buy Carbon Offsets
Still feeling guilty about your day of shopping? Consider purchasing carbon offsets to cut down your carbon footprint. Many companies, including airlines, allow you the option to offset your carbon footprint with either money or points.
If you have ever wondered how you can be more environmentally conscious you’re not alone. Most people do not realize just how much power they have to help the environment. Simple, fairly effortless choices when shopping can be the easiest route to reducing your impact on our planet.
You have made the first step simply by informing yourself and taking an interest. The rest is a piece of cake once you begin to see the benefits of an environmentally conscious way of life.