Here’s What To Look For If You Actually Want To Shop Sustainably
It's easy to make your money work for the planet without making sacrifices.
Switch to felix, the plan with a bigger plan.
Making the decision to be more sustainable is amazing, but afterwards you actually have to know how to do it. Honestly, so rude that the answers aren’t just beamed into our brains, but okay.
Well, we’re here with a little brain beam, as a treat. One of the best things we can do to help the planet, besides investing in a metal water bottle and reusable makeup wipes, is shopping sustainably.
And, thankfully, shopping sustainably is actually pretty simple – you just need to know what to look for.
To find out more, we spoke to Anita Vandyke, founder of the zero-waste-living Instagram account @rocket_science (and also a qualified rocket scientist, medical doctor, and author). She’s an expert at shopping sustainably and shared her best tips for how to do it.
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Dump their ass
Businesses don’t have a great track record of looking after the environment, so it’s important to research the brands you give your money to.
Anita says you should look for brands that offset their carbon emissions or are part of an alliance or certification standard. You can also check if they test on animals, provide good working conditions, or use lots of chemicals to make their products.
Don’t worry, this isn’t tough as it sounds. Sites like Good On You do the hard work for you so you can search for a brand and see how they rate on various sustainability values.
If you don’t like what you find, follow the evergreen advice of smart women: dump them.
“We need to vote with our dollar to make sure brands who support community and environmental initiatives continue to exist,” says Anita.
Switch to sustainable brands
Once you’re free of sleazy brands, make the switch to ones whose values align with yours. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style or your wallet.
For example, felix mobile is a carbon neutral mobile provider with a seriously good mobile plan. You get endless data with speeds of up to 20Mbps plus endless standard national calls and text within Australia on the Vodafone 4G mobile network – all for just $35 a month on the felix subscription.
On top of all that, felix is certified carbon neutral by the Climate Active initiative and it’s Australia’s first telco brand powered by 100 percent renewable electricity. Plus they plant a tree a month for every active customer.
See, it’s super easy to make your money work for the planet without missing out on the finer things in life.
The key to shopping sustainably, says Anita, is to use what you already have and consume less. But when you do need a new outfit, try to make a habit of looking in second-hand stores first.
“Look at designer consignment stores, try eBay, or get a tailor to alter your clothes,” she suggests.
Don’t be surprised when the compliments come rolling in – vintage stores often hide amazing one-of-a-kind outfits. Plus, second-hand clothes and furniture is often way cheaper than buying new. Cha-ching, but make it fashion.
Reuse, reuse, reuse
Here’s the thing: shopping sustainably doesn’t just mean buying second-hand or from ethical brands. It also means making smart purchases that you can use again and again.
Invest in a KeepCup so you don’t have to throw away a plastic cup after your morning coffee; keep cloth napkins at home so you don’t have to get paper napkins with your food delivery; or take a backpack or canvas bag when you go grocery shopping.
In most cases, you’ll only need to buy reusable products once, and it’ll mean you can do good and save money every time you make another purchase.
“Reducing our carbon footprint means you buy less, but you buy better,” says Anita. “This means you save money because you are no longer part of the cycle of overconsumption.”
Remember, every little thing helps
Any step you take towards becoming more sustainable has a big impact on the planet, whether you switch to felix mobile or start shopping in second-hand stores.
Get comfortable with the fact that you can’t save the planet on your own, but that you can make a real difference by shopping sustainably and making other little lifestyle changes.
“An everyday activist embraces the concept that small changes can make a big cumulative difference,” says Anita.
“The key is to do what you can. Let’s aim for effort, not perfection.”
Aussies who are keen to take steps to a healthier planet can switch to felix here.
(Lead image: cottonbro / Pexels)