So I am sure you have all heard of the more common ways to be eco-friendly when shopping. It may be difficult to think of how your shopping habits can have an impact, but think of how often we all go shopping! Every day? Every other day? Every bit can help with these tips on how to make more environmentally conscious decisions when you are shopping.
1) Bring your friends.
Has your weekly shopping day rolled around? Go out with your housemates or friends and take a taxi together, carpool or even take the bus. Traveling to the store together rather than separately will help save fuel and minimize traveling cost.
2) Look for Less: less plastic, less packaging.
Everywhere we look things are wrapped in plastic and over packaged. Look for less packaging especially when grocery shopping. If you can find a substitute without the wrap choose that. Look for fresh fruits and veggies without the excess plastic. Peppers, apples and oranges can all taste just as good without the packaging. Another tip: bring paper bags along to package your fruit rather than the plastic bags they provide in supermarkets, they often rip from the weight anyway. When picking out cereal products, some brands have reduced their packaging by only using a bag or a box rather than both. It may not seem like much but it could cut the waste that ends up in your bin in half. Personal body care products are often another source of excess packaging. Bars of soap are a great example of a product that can be bought with very little or no packaging as an alternative. Handmade bars of soap often come with no packaging for the same cost.
3) Look for recyclable materials.
In Guelph plastic containers labeled with a 1, 2, 4, 5 or 7 are all recyclable in the city blue bins. Go the extra mile and look for these numbers when purchasing personal care products. That way you can feel good investing in products that can be recycled and reused.
4) Think about where you shop.
Whether it’s supporting the local farmer’s market or shopping in a store that you know has an active recycling program for its products or is involved in other environmentally responsible activities, think about where you shop. Decide what’s important to you and try to ask the right questions and make sure you are shopping somewhere that supports what you’re passionate about. Many stores have programs in place to take back products they sell and properly recycle them so if it’s somewhere you shop regularly it may be worth asking.
Now I am sure you have heard this tip before: Bring your own bag. But sometimes we forget it in the car or don’t have one on hand if you are on a spontaneous shopping trip. So think of other alternative ways to carry out your products. If you carry a purse or a backpack, and it’s anywhere near as large as mine you can probably fit a good portion of your purchases inside. Bought just one or two items? Try carrying them out with you. Other larger items may be easier to carry out rather than fumbling with stretching a bag over them. Some stores have sticker handles they can put on heavier items to help you carry them, just ask the cashier! Especially if you’ve come shopping with a group of friends you can help each other carry out items.
So next time you’re headed to the store keep these tips in mind or think of some new tips that work for you. The first step in becoming a sustainable shopper is to be aware of our different options and make these conscious decisions when we are making our purchases. Think of every purchase you make as a vote! We can all send a strong message through our decisions as consumers.
Are you putting your votes in the right place?