Sustainable Shopping - 5 Things You Need to Know
With the spotlight shining more and more intensely on environmental concerns, sustainability
is becoming increasingly important in all areas of life. Shopping is no exception, and the
good news is that style and ethics are not mutually exclusive. If consumers make the effort
to think about the products they buy, shopping can be a more sustainable practice. Here are
five things you need to know to shop more sustainably.
1. Plastic on the label should be a red flag.
Single-use plastic is one of the environment's biggest enemies, and it has infiltrated the
fibers of our clothing. Polyester, nylon and rayon are essentially plastic, and many types of
clothing are made exclusively from these materials. Fortunately, there are plenty of natural
fiber alternatives that use biodegradable materials like bamboo, tencel and cupro. Certain
clothing brands are taking the lead in reducing plastic. ASOS, for example, now source 34%
of the fibers used in their clothing from sustainable sources.
2. Vintage clothing is often more sustainable.
Vintage can be a great source of guilt-free fashion. Silk slips from the 1920's and flowing
dresses from the 1970's are pieces to treasure because they are one-of-a-kind and really stand
the test of time. Vintage clothing shops are always a good place to look, but you may even
find some gems in your parents wardrobes, just waiting to be discovered.
3. You can shop less by shopping better.
A good rule of thumb for sustainable shopping is to invest more funds in fewer pieces and
avoid flash-in-the-pan style trends. More than 300,000 tonnes of clothing are sent to landfill
every year in the UK alone, and a large number of clothing purchases are discarded before a
year has passed. Landfills are burning the equivalent of a truck full of garments per second,
so if you can whittle down your purchases to items that will last you for the long term, you will
be shopping more sustainably.
4. Your beauty choices matter.
You should use organic, plastic-free products, and particularly try to eliminate silicone from
your routine. Silicone is thought to produce dramatic make-up results, but the petroleum in
your lip salve is derived from the same petroleum that fuels your car. The bottom line is that
it is harmful for the environment and, potentially, for your body. You should avoid products
that use words like "natural" and instead opt for those with ingredients that are certified
5. Upcycling is the future.
It might not sound the sexiest, but upcycling is one of the best options for sustainable
shopping. There are many brands that upcycle their own products, reviving tired old pieces
and giving them new life on the rack. There is so much functional material already out there
that we don't need to keep producing new materials. Show your support for designers who
talk about a circular supply chain or closed-loop processes. The real power lies in the money
spent by consumers, so your decisions matter.
Sustainable shopping isn't impossible - it starts with the individual, and only needs to involve
a few simple principles to start making a difference. The planet is depending on us to make
changes to our lifestyles, and you might even find some exciting new discoveries when you
shop more sustainably.