The idea of going green is nothing new at this point, and while it is easier than ever before to live a green life, shopping can still be tricky. Many people want to do the right thing and live greener lives, but giving up old habits can be challenging. Eco-friendly stores are not the big box stores you see covering the globe, and it requires more work to find green places to shop or green products to buy. Even the act of shopping can be less than green unless you know the proper patterns to follow.
Since the individual person or household has little power over the global eco-friendly movement, it often comes down to small life changes that make an average person greener. At the same time, we all wait for more significant industries to take meaningful action. Thankfully, there are many ways you can still enjoy shopping while being as green as you can to protect the planet we all share.
Common Shopping Habits
Many people have everyday shopping habits they might not realize are not the greenest behavior. Returning products is a fantastic option for broken, defective, ill-fitting, or other products that you cannot use, but you should avoid returning items that work, but you simply don’t like. Returning a product means you use fuel to send the item back, where it is either put back in the shipping process workflow for restocking to be sold again, which uses more fuel or creates waste as some companies will simply throw out returned products rather than expend the resources, mainly time and money, to try and resell it. If you do not like an item you bought, it would be better to donate it rather than return it.
Another part of shopping is the fun mindlessness, but while discovering something new while shopping is exciting, it is not the greenest mindset. Shopping with a conscious mindset will keep you on track and ensure you buy only what you need rather than what looks cool on the shelf. There are times for splurges and indulging, but do not make it your default shopping mentality as you may end up buying more than you want or need.
Find The Right Stores And Products
Whether you shop online or in person, there is an art to finding the best green stores that have products you need. Stores that mainly sell green products are not the big box stores you see in every major city, but rather the local stores and small businesses. Shopping at locally owned stores also helps reduce waste as creating and selling goods in the same area limits production pollution and waste. Even if you buy green products at the big box stores, you still must face the pollution from the store and how the store gets its items. You also want to avoid stores that destroy returned items or make no effort to reuse items. As you might expect, no store announces what happens to returned items, but news reports will give a shortlist of businesses who value profits about the planet.
When you find a store that looks promising, it is time to evaluate the items inside. There are no FDA regulations on the terms “organic” or “natural,” so do not take those labels at face value. To determine if something is green, check the ingredients list first, as highly processed products will have chemical names instead of ingredients you might recognize. If the product is not perishable, will you use it long-term, or will the item get tossed into a junk drawer in a few weeks? If you plan to use the item for a long time, consider the product’s durability and quality as an item you must replace frequently creates unnecessary waste. It would be best if you also looked at the packaging as single-use plastic casings or non-eco-friendly padding wipe out any green value of the product inside.
Going green is a trend that has been picking up more and more steam for years. Now living a greener life is a common social talking point, but actually living a greener life comes with some extra work. Some of your common shopping habits are not the greenest, but habits can change with some conscious effort. When it comes to buying green products, look for local green stores, and research the products before you make a choice. Green shopping is not as easy as grabbing items off the shelf, but it is not as hard as it used to be, and it is getting easier every day as more people understand that going green helps us all.