By Sage & Sunday ///
There’s no denying that consumers’ buying habits significantly impact the planet. We must do our part to reduce consumption and make more sustainable choices, but that can be easier said than done. We all want to save the planet, but it doesn’t help if you get overwhelmed by the details and do nothing at all. To help you take action and make 2021 your most sustainable year yet, we put together this guide of 10 ways to change your shopping habits — without stress or guilt.
Shop indie brands
If you're looking to shop more sustainably, consider shopping at independent brands. What does "indie" mean? Well, it's a pretty broad term. Indie companies aren't owned or operated by a larger corporation and typically sell directly to customers instead of retailers like Target or Walmart. Most indie brands are small businesses that sell directly to consumers via their website or social media channels—but some are even more niche than that!
Indie brands come in all shapes and sizes: some focus on one particular product category (like lingerie), while others offer an entire collection of products ranging from clothing to cosmetics. Some sell exclusively online while others have brick-and-mortar stores; either way, they're usually much smaller operations than big-box retailers like Walmart or Amazon, which means you can expect higher quality goods with less packaging waste overall!
Choose hemp clothing over cotton clothing
If you’re looking for a more sustainable alternative to cotton, look no further than hemp clothing. Hemp fibers are more porous and breathable than cotton, keeping you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. These properties make it perfect for athleisurewear like leggings and sports bras.
Hemp is also easier on both humans and the environment than its cotton counterpart. Because of its higher protein content, hemp requires less water during production than cotton (up to four times less). It also takes fewer pesticides to grow—and fewer pesticides mean a healthier planet!
Choose recycled fabrics over virgin fabrics
This is where it gets a bit tricky. Virgin fabrics are made from raw materials that have never been used before, whereas recycled fabrics are created after the first life of a garment has ended. There are two main types of recycled fabric:
- Post-consumer waste—These materials come from clothing that has been discarded by consumers due to damage or wear and tear. They're then broken down into fibers and blended with virgin fibers to create new products. This accounts for around 60% of all recycled material in the United States today!
- Post-industrial waste—These fabrics come from leftover scraps produced during manufacturing processes, such as cotton leftovers or wool yarns that aren't large enough for clothing production but still have value as other products (think pillows). It's estimated that only 10% of all post-industrial waste is currently being recycled into new textiles; this number needs to grow if we want sustainable clothing options on all levels!
Choose cruelty-free cork leather over animal leather
Cork is a natural, renewable material and a biodegradable one, too. It's also cruelty-free. Cork's versatility makes it a popular choice in the fashion world because you can use it to create so many different things: shoes, bags, furniture and more! This environmentally friendly and cruelty-free material is durable and sustainable — making it easier for you to shop more sustainably in 2022!
Embrace secondhand fashion
Secondhand fashion is one of the best ways to shop more sustainably in 2022. It's not just better for the environment—it also helps you get unique, quality pieces at affordable prices. Here are some reasons why:
- It's sustainable and ethical. Buying secondhand means you're helping to reduce your carbon footprint by not taking up resources and energy in the manufacturing process for new clothes that may be unnecessary for your lifestyle (e.g., if you only wear dresses on special occasions). Plus, it helps empower people who need clothing but can't afford it through their local Goodwill or other thrift stores.
- It's more affordable than new clothing—and less wasteful! Many people think that buying secondhand means sacrificing style and quality, but there are plenty of great options out there if you know where to look: vintage stores with vintage designer pieces; local consignment shops; even e-commerce sites like ThredUp and eBay that have curated collections of high-end items at lower prices than department stores will offer them for brand new items (sometimes even at 70% off!). You'll also find some fabulous, unique finds while browsing through racks at these places—they don't call them "thrifting" or "shoplifting" without a reason!
While you might think that avoiding sales is a counterintuitive way to shop more sustainably, it's an effective way of limiting your unnecessary purchases.
Sales are a significant component of the retail industry and are used by businesses as a strategy to increase profits. Sales encourage us to buy more than we need, which is terrible for our wallets and the environment: according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, about 70% of all clothes sold in America end up in landfills within one year of purchase due to over-buying and poor product lifespan.
The next time you have some extra cash on hand (or if you're looking for ways to save up), consider foregoing those tempting sales signs by sticking with what works for your lifestyle—and maybe making some room in your closet or kitchen cabinets!
Repurpose and reuse your things
When it comes to shopping more sustainably, the two most important things you can do are to repurpose and reuse what you already have.
First, let's talk about textiles. This is an area that many people who want to shop greener often overlook. Clothes are one of the most significant contributors to waste as we're constantly buying new ones and throwing them away immediately afterwards. Instead of buying new clothes every season or every few months, why not consider upcycling your existing ones instead? You can make dresses from t-shirts (or tops from pants), use old sweaters for rugs or blankets—anything goes!
Second, plastics can be difficult because they're so hardy, but there are ways around that! Plastic containers can be washed out and reused repeatedly until they break down into smaller pieces which will eventually biodegrade naturally in landfills anyway, so don't feel like this option isn't possible just because it takes longer than others...and finally...
Here’s the thing: sustainable living is about more than what we do in our personal lives. Yes, there are many steps we can take to live more sustainably that start at home, but if we don’t demand change from companies and corporations as well, we won’t see progress. We need governments to enact legislation that prevents these companies from polluting our environment and exploiting natural resources. But even before that happens, it’s up to us to support businesses who are doing the right thing. We have never had so much power as consumers before—thanks to social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, information spreads quickly—and it’s time for us to use it wisely. By shopping consciously and making your voice heard on social media (and through the ballot box), you can push companies toward taking better care of both people and planet Earth today.