How to Shop Sustainably



We all love shopping. There’s nothing quite like carrying around those shopping bags full of the promise of a new look; items that truly reflect who we are or show us off in a new light. This is the real reason why shopping sustainably is difficult: we are all programmed to respond to the temptations that are around us everywhere. Advertisements and the desire to emulate what we see on others can tempt us right back into stores, despite the knowledge that shopping less would be much better for our bank balance and the environment. So, if we must shop, how we can do so more sustainably?


Set a budget


You really can’t expect perfection. The key to sustainability is about taking baby steps towards a better lifestyle. Remember that you alone aren’t going to save the world. What it will take is a lot of people committing to change and all buying less together. So, if your love of clothes means that going cold turkey and just stopping purchasing new things altogether would be torture, why not start off by setting yourself a monthly budget? Doing so would really force you to think about every purchase that you make. By reducing your purchasing power you will force yourself to be more considerate in your purchases.


Think about where you shop


When you do shop, think carefully about who you want to give your hard earned money to. Second-hand stores really are the ultimate when it comes to sustainability. You are preventing the pieces from going to landfill, giving them another purpose and also helping out a charity at the same time. Plus, they are usually very cheap, which isn’t a bad thing for your bank balance. It can be difficult to find everything you need in a charity shop, though, so you also need to think about the ethics of high street stores that you visit. Choose shops that are good when it comes to sustainability issues. Debenhams, for instance, diverted 97% of its waste away from landfill in 2018. Visit stores that really make a difference and reward them with your money.


Make a plan


Being sustainable with your clothing has a lot to do with being able to assess what it is you absolutely need to buy. Many of us have wardrobes bursting apart at the seams, yet we feel like we have nothing to wear. One of the main issues is that we own so much clothing we can never remember all of the individual pieces that we have. This makes it difficult to pull outfits together. Try to cut down your wardrobe. It might seem wasteful but if you take items that you don’t wear to the charity shop and really simplify your wardrobe, you will start to appreciate what you do have. This will make it a lot easier to plan exactly what you do need to purchase when you visit the shops. You will no longer automatically buy a new skirt to go with your new blouse, for example, because you will know you have the perfect item to match at home.