Wether its for economic reasons or social reasons, many people are starting to question their shopping habits. Consumers want more than just a pretty product. They want to know that companies are using socially, economically, and environmentally responsible decision making. While holding companies accountable is important, it is also important to look at your own shopping habits. Maybe there are small changes you can make at home that will help you become a conscious consumer. Here are some things you can try:
Pause Before You Buy
A lot of the ‘stuff’ we accumulate around the house are things bought on impulse. I used to do it all the time on Amazon, I see some device that looks very helpful and I think, yes life really would be so much easier if I had a water powered flosser! Next thing I know its taking up valuable counter space in my bathroom and is continuously unused. The next time you have an impulse to buy something, wait. Wait at least a day and use that time to think about the product and if you really need it in your life. You may also want to consider questions like, is this made of plastic? Is there a more sustainable version of this product? What problem is this product a solution to and is that problem really a problem.
By taking time to think about these facts, you give yourself a chance to make a more conscious choice as a consumer. Maybe you will find a more sustainable solution or maybe you will realize that you don’t have a dire need for this item after all.
Reducing our use of plastic is a challenging demand because almost everything in our lives contains plastic. Instead of aiming to go completely zero waste or plastic free, set a small goal of reducing one plastic item from your daily life. There are lots of ways to do this, but here are some small goals I recommend starting with. Use reusable grocery bags instead of plastic bags at the store or reusable produce bags. I keep them in the trunk of my car so I don’t forget them at the home on my way to the store. I also keep a foldable bag in my backpack so I have it if I ever decide to stop at the store on my way home from work.
Another small goal could be to use a reusable water bottle. As you may know, plastic bottles are wreaking havoc on our eco system. But I know how hard it is to commit to only using a reusable water bottle. To make it easier on myself, I keep a water bottle at work for the whole week and bring it home on Fridays to wash. This way I know I have water at work and don’t need to carry it all the time.
Shop Fair Trade
As a consumer, one of the best things you can do is it buy products you know are supporting the people that made it. When you buy a fair-trade product you know that the farmer or artisan that made it was treated with respect and paid an adequate amount. You don’t have to jump in and make everything in your kitchen fair trade, but identify a few household items that you buy often and replace it with a fair-trade version. Coffee is a great example of an easy to find fair trade item. Yes, it’s usually more expensive than the other ones but doesn’t your coffee taste better when you know a farmer was paid fairly for their labor? There are many other food items that are easy to find Fairtrade like many produce items.
Buy Non Toxic Products
Being a conscious consumer also mean understanding that with your dollar you are making a statement. When we buy products that use toxic ingredients, we are saying to companies that it is okay to care more about profits than quality or customer safety. In the new year, try making a statement with your purchasing power, buying products that are safe all around for your body and health. This may mean switching to safer cleaning products for your home. There is an abundant number of companies now that are providing safe products at competitive prices. Another option is to switch to non toxic beauty products. If you want to find out more on this topic, you are on the right blog!
Invest in Ethical Clothing
Have you ever bought a pair of black leggings or yoga pants and after viagra one wash the color becomes faded? Many of the clothes and home goods we buy these days are made cheaply and use cheap, and at times unethical, labor. They then are sold to you at an ‘affordable’ price and the company also pockets a healthy profit. The trade off for a low price however, comes at a human cost. Often it means that somewhere along the supply chain of the product, there are people that were exploited or not paid fairly.
Yes, ethically made clothing tends to be sold at a higher price point, but have you thought about why? Companies that make ethical clothing tend to use sustainable and ethical practices in production. They might use green energy or source their materials through fairtrade. They also make sure their workers are paid properly. What you end up with is thoughtfully made quality piece of clothing that does not carry the typical carbon footprint of clothing and prednisone was made justly.
What other strategies do you have to curb your shopping?? Let me know in the comments below!