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How to shop sustainably


1st Jan 2015 Home & Garden

How to shop sustainably

With increasing pressure on all of us to protect the planet's scarce natural resources, there is never a better time to form green and sustainable shopping habits. Some people worry that going green means spending more, but in many cases, you could even save money. On top of this, shopping sustainably can enrich your life and it ensures you're doing your bit for the environment. Here are some easy tips to shop sustainably.

Buy local

Next time you go shopping, think how far the product you are buying has travelled to reach the shelves. As much as you can, buy items that have been sourced, made or harvested locally. Less travel means less carbon dioxide emissions, and for fresh food, in particular, it almost always tastes much better. As a general rule, if you stick to buying seasonal produce, it's more likely to have been harvested locally.


Reduce plastic waste

Avoid buying products that have been excessively packaged, or packaged in materials that can't be recycled. Buy fresh fruit and vegetables loose rather than in plastic wrapping. Whenever you go shopping, always take your own bags with you. Plastic is a real environmental problem, both in how it's produced and how it's disposed of.


Choose sustainable products

When you go shopping, choose products that have been responsibly sourced and produced without the use of harmful chemicals or pesticides, such as organic. Consider buying Fair Trade items, from food to clothing. If you are on holiday, avoid buying any souvenirs that may have been manufactured using unethical, scarce or endangered animal products. 

Look for items made from timber that carry the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label. This covers a wide range of products, from wooden furniture to paper and toilet rolls. 

If you enjoy eating seafood, check labels on fish, such as tuna or salmon, to see if it contains the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Certification mark.


Buy recycled and second hand

Products that have been recycled are champions for the environment, so put these on your shopping list. Instead of buying new all the time, browse charity stores, junk shops or visit car boot sales to shop for pre-loved items. You can save a lot of money by shopping this way, and can often come across a real gem of a find.


Opt for biodegradable cleaning products

Granted, you do tend to pay more for green cleaning products, but prices have dropped over the years and many supermarkets have started to produce their own, budget-friendly versions. Cost aside, buying biodegradable cleaning products is better for the environment, soil and water. Containing natural ingredients, biodegradable cleaning products may also be healthier for humans, too.

Consider energy efficient goods

Electrical items in the home can guzzle energy, so if you need to upgrade a domestic appliance or electrical gadget, choose one with the best energy efficiency rating that you can afford. Although it may cost more initially, over time the money you save from reduced energy bills will soon pay for itself.