No matter what you need to shop for, there are certain choices that are more sustainable than others. From the food you eat to the clothing you wear, your consumption choices have the power to support companies helping the environment rather than hurting it. 

The next time you are at the store, consider the following tips. Instead of buying impulsively, try making considered purchases from brands working to protect the planet. Ultimately, you’ll be happier with the long-lasting, high-quality products and the fact that you are protecting the environment.

Purchase from Sustainable Brands

If you don’t already have a list of your favorite sustainable brands saved, now is the perfect time to do some research and think about what’s really important to you. While it’s easy to be tempted by sales and trends at fast fashion retailers, being sustainable means taking a step back and considering what you are actually purchasing. Chances are, you don’t want that trendy polyester jacket as much as you initially thought. 

It helps to do some research before you head out to the store so that you are prepared to say no to sneakers made with EVA foam and yes to sustainable sneakers instead. If you don’t have time to do any research ahead of time, you can always pull up the app Good On You, which provides a rating for companies based on their levels of sustainability.

Shop at Local Farmers Markets

When it comes to food, buy as close to your house as possible. Farmer’s markets and co-ops are ideal as most of the produce will have been grown nearby. If you really want to take a large step toward sustainable living, try cutting out meat for a week and see how it goes. The raising of livestock contributes an enormous amount of greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change.

Buy Second-Hand

You can shop without actually buying anything new. By shopping at second hand and vintage stores, you are essentially recycling clothing while giving yourself something new to wear. By extending the lifespan of clothes, you are reducing the amount of waste that one person creates when they wear things and then get rid of them.

Shop for Specific Materials

When you’re shopping, be sure to check the tags of the clothing or footwear you are about to purchase. If they are made from polyester or other synthetic materials, they will inevitably release microplastics into the environment once they are discarded. Avoid these and instead look for natural fibers like silk, organic cotton, vegetable tanned leather, and hemp. Organic cotton sneakers are not only better for the environment than their synthetic counterparts, but they are lightweight and breathable, too!  Tencel and Piñatex are two sustainable materials that come from the renewable natural materials of eucalyptus and pineapples, respectively. 

Rent Your Clothes

You don’t always have to buy your clothing, either…now there are lots of ways of contributing to a circular fashion economy by renting your clothes. Using apps like Rent the Runway, you can get a wardrobe refresh every time you need without actually buying a garment. Simply choose what you want, wear it, return it and repeat the cycle!

Buy Less!

A huge part of making thoughtful purchases is buying less. This way, you save up to make more considered choices for higher quality pieces that will last longer and provide more joy to you every time you wear or use the item. Develop your own style and don’t get distracted by trends that will come and go. Or instead of buying clothes, use your money to travel!  In the long run, you will produce a lot less waste and have a higher quality wardrobe. 

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