Shopping and buying sustainably is a great way to reduce waste and emissions. Though it may not seem like it when you're at the store, every purchase you make has a big impact on our environment. Make sure that it is a positive one by utilizing these tips!

What You Can Do:

  • Buy less! Chances are, you don’t need everything you purchase. Reducing your consumption can save energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills and recycling centers

  • If each family in the U.S. spent an extra $10 a month at local and independent businesses instead of national chains, over $9.3 billion would be directly returned to our economy. Buying local reduces emissions used to transport goods around the country, supports the community, and provides consumers with unique items!

  • Wait until a product is at the end of its lifespan to throw it away, or if you have no use for it anymore, consider donating it to a community center, thrift store, school, or nonprofit organization so that it can find a proper home. Donation prevents usable goods from going into the landfill and can help others in your community! 

  • Research the brands you buy products from to make sure they practice sustainability in the creation of their items. Vote with your dollar- if possible, refuse to purchase from companies that do not align with your environmentally conscious values.  

  • For Prime Members, Amazon is a great way to get practically everything you need- and even a lot of things you don’t. However, the constant purchasing of Amazon products wastes packaging products like cardboard (Waste Management states that they have seen a 20% increase in cardboard in its curbside collection over the last decade), and the airplanes and trucks used to deliver the boxes to your door use up carbon emissions. Consider buying less from Amazon, and when you do, purchase multiple things in one shipment so that they can be shipped in the same box. 

  • Celebrate holidays sustainably! On Valentine's Day, purchase fair trade chocolate to insure that the workers who helped it get to your loved one are justly compensated, and send E-cards instead of paper cards that will get thrown into the trash. On Christmas, wrap presents in recycled packaging instead of purchasing single-use wrapping paper. These simple acts can reduce the tons of waste produced from the holiday season each year. 

Fast Fashion:

  • Fast Fashion is defined as ‘An approach to the design, creation, and marketing of clothing fashions that emphasizes making fashion trends quickly and cheaply available.’ Fast fashion rapidly creates cheaply made clothing using fabrics and resources that are harmful to the environment--the fashion industry is responsible for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and nearly three fifths of clothing ends up in our overflowing landfills within a year of its production. This clothing, while inexpensive, does not last long, and results in consumers purchasing more and more to keep up with both the ever changing trends and wear and tear of their pieces. Buying clothes from fast fashion brands such as H&M, Forever 21, Zara, and Urban Outfitters, while seemingly less expensive, has an underlying environmental cost, as well as a higher one in the long run for your wallet as items must be replaced more regularly. ‘Slow fashion’ brands, while more expensive, not only eliminate the cost of replacing the item, but are much more sustainable. 

  • The lifespan of a piece of clothing is longer than the average person has it in their closet. Thrift shopping and buying secondhand gives these no longer wanted clothes a new home, and can lessen the environmental impact that would have been used to create new clothing. Thrifting is also better for your wallet!