The holiday season is the shopping season. But as sustainability is becoming a big trend in today’s world, consumers are taking a more conscious and eco-friendly approach to shopping.
Sustainable shopping is the practice of purchasing items that are designed, created or manufactured and sold in an environmentally-friendly way. This movement is rooted in the growing awareness of environmental issues such as climate change. The retail industry is actively encouraging sustainable shopping, and as a shopper and consumer, you can take part too.
With recent innovations, shopping sustainably can be achieved, even on big gift-giving holidays like Christmas. If you don’t know where to begin, here are some helpful tips for shopping sustainably during the holidays.
More than just a slogan or a buzzword, “going green” or choosing to be eco-friendly is a practice and a commitment. It is often done by people who are trying to help resolve, reduce, or at the very least, slow down the degeneration of Earth due to man-made destruction. It spans from social to environmental aspects centered on creating a better society and a better planet that can sustain life for future generations.
Being environmentally aware means you try to make the least impact and reduce your carbon footprint as much as you can. This includes using transportation methods that do not emit carbon dioxide, like electric vehicles, bicycles, or walking. Opting for reusable items instead of disposable or plastic ones and conserving energy and water are also among common ways to go eco-friendly.
As the movement grows and evolves, it has made a major shift in consumer habits. Today, more and more people want to practice sustainable shopping, purchasing products that are made the eco-friendly way as well.
So what makes a product sustainable? Here’s what you should look for when shopping:
- A product must be produced without harming or depleting natural and non-renewable resources
- Manufactured using renewable materials and resources
- Production and distribution should not harm the environment
- It should be produced in a socially responsible or ethical way (meaning no person, or depending on your values and beliefs, even animals, were harmed in the process
- Could be made from recycled materials
- Reusable for a long time or biodegradable
There is a demand for brands to be more transparent when it comes to their environmental impact and how they are carrying out their social responsibility. With this, you can now identify brands that are sustainable based on public information out there. Just be mindful and don’t just believe blatant claims. Look for their concrete data and initiatives that make a brand sustainable.
A Sustainable Celebration
The holiday shopping rush can put pressure on many, especially those who put so much effort into the gifts they give. But this should not stop you from shopping sustainably. In fact, going for sustainable holiday gifts can even help encourage others to consider joining the movement too, so it’s nothing but a win-win for the giver and the receiving end.
Here’s what you can do:
1. Go for Hand-Crafted, Recycled, Upcycled or DIY Home Decors
Holiday decorations make you feel that the season is in full swing, but it can be much better when you know that it’s good for the planet as well. If you have decorative items from the previous year, see what you can make out of them. You can also buy recycled or upcycled items from independent and small craft artists and retailers when you can. Additionally, consider renting a real Christmas tree instead of an artificial one. This way, you can save money, and you are sure that no machinery was used for your festive decor.
2. Buy from Local Shops
Local products can be unique. Go around your community or find local bazaars, fairs and markets to see if you might find food or gift items that suit your preference. With this, you know how a product is produced, you get to help local shop owners and, as a bonus, if you opt to walk, you reduce your carbon footprint too.
3. Try to Shop Online
Traditional commercial retail has been found to release more carbon emissions; therefore, e-commerce has been known to help address this dilemma. With that in mind, choose to shop online when you can. There are enormous catalogs of different products, from fashion items to food, all online. Many brands also offer online shopping options to cater to consumers and support sustainability; just be sure to choose the real and honest ones.
To avoid missed sizes, try to shop for versatile gift items. To add a bit of personal touch, you can still go for customized items like mugs and tumblers. You can buy highly functional items like a jacket or laptop case. You can even find glasses online that fit the receiver’s style preference. Your gift will definitely stand out.
4. Get Creative With Gift Wrapping
Wrapping paper often goes to waste after opening gifts, hence try to minimize shopping for them. There are many eco-friendly gift wrapping ideas out there. You can either use a recycled gift wrapper or use something that’s reusable, like a nice cloth with festive print, a tote bag, or a reusable paper bag or box. Instead of buying greeting cards and gift tags, try to make hand-written ones too using recycled paper or material you have at home. It’s warmer and more personal that way.
5. Be Mindful of Food
The holiday season brings out festive dishes and family specialties. It can be really exciting to prepare them for family and friends, but overestimating can lead you to a huge amount of food waste the next day. Buy proper portions for holiday meals and if there are leftovers, make sure they are still used. Look for recipes where you can use them in advance, or you can consider sharing them with others.
It’s the Season to Spread Joy & Sustainability
The holiday season is a time where many feel most festive, warm, and giving. As you celebrate the holidays, don’t forget to share with the planet and opt for more sustainable and responsible shopping. This way, you get to give gifts to friends and family while helping give a gift of a future to the next generations.