5 WAYS TO SHOP MORE SUSTAINABLY

15 Mar 2021 | Student Advice

We’ve all heard the expression, “when everything goes back to normal”, a lot over the last year. It’s been spoken dreamily as we thought of guilt-free days with loved ones as well as being used as a regular excuse to watch Netflix until 3am in the morning: “I really will stop doing this, when things go back to normal.”

At one time or another though we also heard the question, “should things really return to the way they were?” During the numerous lockdowns we had more time than usual to look at our behaviour: how much we ate; how much we drank; how much we spent; and where we bought things from. This analysis forced many of us to face the uncomfortable truth that we need to change the way we act as consumers. With that in mind here’s a couple of tips about how to be more sustainable in your shopping.

Put in the time

Brands and companies tend to cover their merchandise with labels suggesting at eco-sensitivity and fairness but many exaggerate the amount that they do. It’s up to you to check that they’re being as good as they say they are.

One thing to look out for is the B Corporation certification. If you haven’t heard of B-Corps it’s an organisation made up of companies who undergo a thorough assessment to see whether they meet the, “highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.” Some well-known B-Corps include, Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia and Brew Dog.

There’s an app for that

There are hundreds of weird and wonderful apps on the Apple and Play stores but there are also a lot of useful ones that can help you be more eco-conscious. Some examples include: “Too Good to Go”, “Karma” and “Olio”. Olio was especially significant during lockdowns as the food sharing app allowed individuals to connect virtually with each other so that excess local food was given to struggling individuals rather than going to waste.

Make long term swaps

We often don’t even think about the things we use once, or briefly, and then throw away: makeup pads, earbuds, razors etc. Take a look at your daily routine and see if you can invest in more sustainable products. Try replacing your disposable razors with one where you only have to replace the blade – it can be so much cheaper in the long run!

Also, girls should definitely at least investigate some of the more sustainable period products available. There are so many more environmentally friendly products out there including, period pants, menstrual cups and tampons/ pads which use less plastics and harmful chemicals – again these could save you a fortune in the long run!

Cool off before clicking

Another way to become more sustainable is to doubt yourself a little more before you click to the check out. Ask yourself whether you really need/ want the things in your basket and how long you’ll actually care about the purchase. If it’s a big purchase maybe even give yourself a day or two to think it over and make sure you really need/want it.

 

Care

Looking forward to the future, one of the simplest thing that we need to do is care. Care about what we buy, where we buy it and even how we buy it. We need to care enough to hold everyone to account: ourselves, our suppliers and, most of all, our governments.

Eventually, the world will open up again and we’ll be free to lead the lives that we’ve longed for this past year. However, moving forward, it’s up to every one of us to decide whether we want things to return to the way they were or if we want to forge a better way forward.

 

By Ilona Cabral

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