Sustainable living isn’t easy, we know that. It is easy, however, to get caught up in the day to day of living without even knowing, forgetting about our impact on the planet.
Living a busy life, be it with family, work, dogs, travelling can mean that sustainable living and purchasing may not be at the forefront of your mind constantly. Habits are hard to change and there is lots to do, by all of us. Consumers and businesses, big and small, need to band together to make a difference. We can all start to take some simple steps towards being sustainable and saving the planet.
Shopping sustainable will support the environment, as well as support local and homegrown talent. It will help you refine your home and wardrobe as well, allowing you to buy better and save waste. What’s not to love? It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, if we all take small simple steps to purchase better we can make a bigger difference together.
Shopping sustainable will also have a great impact on the local economy and for independent designers and makers across the UK. Supporting homegrown arts, crafts, textiles and designs by creators looking to share their talent. Being a creative maker can be tough, sustainable shopping allows consumers to know who made their products and what with, and support an indie as well.
In 2016 UK households binned 300,000 tonnes of clothing in the UK. Clothing which will take years and years to degrade. We buy a lot and then throw away even more. There are many benefits to shopping more consciously from supporting indie makers and businesses, reducing waste, reducing plastic, using cruelty-free and organic, supporting ethical working conditions as well as protecting some of our deteriorating natural resources.
Buy Recycled and Second-Hand
Buying recycled can mean a whole range of things. From recycled wood, glass, jewellery, fabrics to metal there is no end to the amount of recycled goods you can buy. They come in all shapes and sizes now as well from clothes to homeware and furniture.
You can also buy from second-hand and vintage stores in your area, this is ideal for picking up new clothes! It’s great for the environment and you’ll probably get something someone else doesn’t have.
Another great idea is to upcycle your own furniture and clothes and those of your families. A lick of paint and a few fancy door knobs can do wonders for even the worst of drawers...
Shop Local (and er...online!)
Everyone loves shopping local. Even better for the planet if you can walk or cycle there. Shopping local is great because you are supporting the local economy and other independent businesses. Visiting and supporting indie retailers in your area will mean the world to them even if it is just to buy a few products now and again!
Buying online isn’t a bad thing either (in fact online shopping has a lower impact than high street big brand shopping). Shopping local doesn’t necessarily have to mean in the physical sense either. Little fuel can be used by efficient travel systems in place by delivery distributors, much like public transport. Buying online can allow you to reach local independent markers up and down the UK, and support their craft as well. A lot of independents will make to order, often saving on waste.
Again a great way to pick up something different for your home or wardrobe!
As we said earlier, shopping second-hand and vintage is always great when looking for clothes. You’re bound to pick up a wee something that you and you only love and everyone else thinks is weird (no...just us?). However, thinking about your sustainability can be a great start to changing some of your clothing habits overall.
Start with a clear-out and ‘capsulise’ your wardrobe. Keeping less, your nice token items. Sprucing it up with new accessories and jewellery now and again! Save for slightly more expensive and nicer pieces, rather than one-off impulse buys and the you-know-you’ll-never-wear-again-dresses. The clothes you don’t want can go to a charity shop, or save some of the fabrics and get crafty yourself!
Re-wear and reuse - and don’t be embarrassed about it! Is there anything better than re-wearing your favourite dress 101 times?
And of course, get yourself a tote bag.
4. Shop Organic and Zero-Waste
Using vegan and organic skincare is a great way to improve your skin and do your bit for the environment. It’s even better if they are locally sourced ingredients! Shopping organic skincare also means you know what is in your products, so you can ensure that it is right for your skin as well.
Another great way to be more sustainable with beauty products is to shop zero-waste products to avoid excessive use of plastic. There are now pop up stores all over the UK offering refills on beauty products as well as cleaning products.
When choosing cleaning products always opt for the bio-degradable ones too!
There are lots of little steps you can take to start your sustainable shopping journey, one that will leave you feeling better about your carbon footprint, waste, and lifestyle choices. These are just some small changes that you can make on a day to day basis. In the long run, you may even save money and you'll definitely leave your life feeling more enhanced.
Remember to share your views with the brands you love, tell your artisan makers you adore their craft, ask your local baker how they’re feeling today, post a picture of your recent buy online from an indie retailer, tag them in that tweet! Brands and businesses love your feedback, especially when they are trying to support local, indie and sustainability themselves aswell.