5 Top Shopping Tips for Sustainable Living

Photo by Ezra Gregg
Photo by Ezra Gregg

There are so many benefits of sustainable living that it’s no wonder so many people are switching on to it and doing what they can to live a more socially and environmentally-friendly lifestyle. Doing something good for others, or for the planet (or both, much of the time) will not only do well for the world, but will contribute to your own contentment too.

We’ve put together our top 5 top shopping tips for sustainable living to get you started on the path to greener pastures:

1. Bags are for life – Taking your own reusable bags to the shops is a staple part of any sustainable living fan’s shopping routine. Grabbing a plastic carrier bag (or four) from the supermarket each time you do the grocery shopping will unsurprisingly generate an enormous amount of waste. Keep one or two bags as dedicated shopping bags in a place where you can’t forget them or leave them behind – try stuffing them into the bottom of your everyday bag or keeping them in the boot of the car if you have to drive to the shops.

fairtrade banana
Photo by Lilvanili

2. Buy Locally – Buying local products isn’t just about maintaining the local economy or showing off how lovely your area is to your visiting friends. Locally-grown or locally made products don’t have to go very far to get to you, meaning that there’s no need to feel guilty about the emissions that result from great shipping distances. The best products are those for which the raw ingredients are locally grown too, but even if something is made locally with shipped materials, this will usually reduce on some of the shipping that would otherwise be involved.

3. Buy packaging-free – The next time you go grocery shopping, pick out the products which use the least packaging (or, best of all, none whatsoever). Food packaging is especially wasteful, being produced specifically to be used only once and then disposed of. Even recyclable packaging requires energy for it to be recycled, so avoiding packaging altogether will earn you one very big sustainable living gold star.

Photo by Mike Licht

4. Buy good quality products – At the moment, we live in a world where products are designed not to last, and this is doing nothing positive for our environment. Living sustainably means getting as much use as possible out of something before consigning it to the recycling bin. The best way of doing this is to buy good quality products or second hand products to avoid unnecessary production of more poor quality replacements.

5. Look out for Labels – All sorts of products from bananas to toilet paper are given labels to demonstrate their social or environmental sustainability (think Fairtrade, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and Rainforest Alliance for example), and these labels can help you when it comes to making truly sustainable living decisions about what you take from the shelf.

Take a look at our guide to sustainable food labelling to figure out your Food for Life from your Fairtrade.

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