How to Shop More Sustainably This Year
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How to Shop More Sustainably This Year

Saving the planet from climate change’s devastating effects is on most people’s minds as they
seek ways to live and shop more sustainably. One way to reduce your carbon footprint is to modify your
shopping habits.

As the world grows more climate-aware, there has never been a better time to adopt greener
living. Here is why you should shop sustainably in 2024 and easy tips for guilt-free buying.


Why Should You Shop Sustainably in 2024?


According to the Congressional Budget Office, the manufacturing industry emitted 765 million
metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2021 — a significant contributor to the climate crisis.
The textile and apparel industry is among the highest emitters within manufacturing, producing
8%-10% of CO2 emissions, with dyes and finishes causing 20% of industrial wastewater
pollution. Research shows textile emissions are beyond those created by the shipping and
aviation sectors combined.

As industry-related global warming rises, it negatively impacts entire ecosystems, wildlife and
communities. For example, northern fish and shellfish require cold water, but rising surface
water temperatures have hindered the Northeast’s thriving lobster population. From 1996 to
2014, New York’s lobster landings decreased from 9.4 million pounds to 215,980 pounds — a
97.7% decline.

Consumers have indicated a keen interest in improving their carbon footprints by making
greener, more ethical buying decisions. A 2023 report said 71% of shoppers consider
sustainability when purchasing items. Another 82% are willing to pay more for sustainable


7 Tips for Being a Green Consumer


Sustainable shopping behaviours prioritise environmental and societal impacts. Green
consumers look for ethically produced goods made from renewable materials. Adopting a less-
is-more approach is also best for minimising waste and living more simply. Here are seven tips
to help you adopt sustainable buying habits this year.


1. Research Sustainable Materials


Understanding what materials are environmentally friendly is the first step to shopping
sustainably. A crucial factor to consider includes the materials ecological footprint, from
harvesting to production to disposal.

Materials should also be renewable — meaning they replenish faster than nonrenewable
resources. For example, bamboo is ready for harvesting after four to seven years, while timber
takes decades to grow before it becomes available.

Green consumers should also question a material’s biodegradability and environmental impact
during production. Likewise, how durable is it? Will you need to replace the item after a few


2. Embrace Preloved Items


Shop at thrift stores and consignment shops to discover secondhand items at a discounted
price. This is also an opportunity to donate preloved goods to someone else in need. You’ll
unearth excellent finds at these retailers, including clothing, accessories, decorative items and

Another option is to take secondhand items from your friends and family members. For
instance, suppose you and your cousin had newborns only months apart. They may have baby
clothes they can give you, especially since infants outgrow their onesies quickly.


3. Opt for Quality Over Quantity


The fast fashion industry does more than create emissions. It’s also responsible for excessive
plastic waste and overconsumption of water. Producing just one cotton T-shirt equates to using
900 days worth of drinking water, while polyester uses 70 million oil barrels annually.
When shopping for clothes, buy quality items you can rest assured will last more than a few
wears. This means you’ll want to buy one or two more expensive items made from durable,
sustainable materials instead of numerous cheaper ones.


4. Commit to Ethical Brands


An ethical brand is committed to protecting people, wildlife and the environment. It follows fair
labor practices, ensuring a livable wage and safe working conditions for laborers and farmers.
Ethical brands also leave a lasting impact on communities through Fairtrade investments.
Look for the Fairtrade International logo on product packaging to determine whether a brand is
ethical. The Fair Trade Certified logo also indicates equitable production but with less stringent
sustainability and moral terms then the original certifying agency.


5. Buy Local Goods


While big-name retailers may be convenient with lower prices, it is always best to support local
businesses and farmers when shopping for goods. Visit small boutiques for clothing,
accessories, furnishings and artwork by local artisans. Dining at family-owned restaurants is
another way to contribute to your community.

Shopping for fresh produce at your local farmers market is best for supporting regional growers
and enjoying seasonal goods. It is also more sustainable by limiting transportation and
packaging emissions from conventional grocery store supply chains.


6. Avoid Single-Use Plastic


The world has a significant plastic pollution problem, quadrupling over 30 years, with two-thirds
of plastic having life spans under five years. Globally, people produce 300 million tons of plastic
annually, 50% of which is single-use. Many plastic items take 1,000 or more years to

Bring reusable bags during shopping trips so you won’t require single-use plastic bags.
Reusable straws, Keurig pods, utensils and water bottles are other items you can use to reduce
plastic consumption.


7. Plan Your Purchases


Planning what to buy is a powerful tool for helping you shop sustainably this year. If you stick to
a list, you are less inclined to make impulsive purchases, allowing you to cut back on buying
unnecessary items. It also prevents food waste by encouraging you to purchase and use only
what you can before expiration.

Likewise, you’ll want to research brands and products before making big-ticket purchases.
Giving yourself extra time can fully determine whether a brand is committed to people and the


Make a Difference Through Sustainable Shopping


Small and large efforts make a significant impact on the planet. Adopting greener buying habits
contributes to a healthier environment and generates more ethical consumerism. Be part of the
change by shopping sustainably this year.

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