10 ways to lower your impact on the environment while shopping
Did you know that transporting food by plane from one side of the world to the other generates 1,700 times more CO2 emissions than transporting it 50km by truck?
Which means that buying some of your regular food shop from a local farmer's market could significantly reduce your personal impact on the environment.
At Tidy we believe that the best way of lowering our collective environmental impact is for everyone to make a few small changes to their lifestyles. Like making the switch to solid shampoo, or finding other ways to minimise the impact of their shopping habits.
Here are some options for how to do just that:
1. Shop locally
We've already touched on why it's a good idea to shop locally for your food where possible, but it's worth considering for all your shopping. Especially if you're able to walk or take public transport to the shops.
Not only will locally made and sold products have a lower overall carbon footprint, but you'll be benefitting the local economy and encouraging more local producers and makers to take the plunge and start investing in other products to replace those that are made further afield and transported long distances.
2. Use reusable and refillable options where possible
We've written before about using refillable cups, or buying products like shampoo or shower gels in refillable containers. But remember your reusable bags when out shopping too!
Since the 5p plastic bag charge was introduced in UK supermarkets in 2015 (and has since been raised to 10p) billions fewer single use plastic bags have been used in the UK 🙌
Stores still report selling hundreds of millions a year though 😞
On average 9 single use plastic bags were sold per person in the UK last year according to a government report.
Imagine if everyone had remembered their reusable bag just 9 extra times a year...
3. Pick slower delivery options
Shopping in person isn't always convenient or possible, so things will always need to be delivered.
When buying something for delivery picking a slower delivery option can reduce the carbon footprint of the delivery by allowing companies to batch deliveries more efficiently, reducing the number of trucks, lorries and vans out on the road.
Everything comes to those who wait, as they say 😉
4. Buy less
Less is more. We strongly believe that at Tidy.
Our whole business is built around the idea of doing more, using less.
Many people are starting to reject fast fashion and are buying fewer clothes, less often. But what about other products we all love to buy?
Do you upgrade to the latest and greatest new phone every year?
How about your favourite team's sports kit?
How often do you change your furniture? Or your glasses? Or your car?!
Think about things you may automatically upgrade just because you can, and ask if you need to.
5. Consider secondhand
Some things are just better new. We'll admit that. But many things are genuinely better when they've been used.
The patina of a well used leather chair. Or the vivid green of oxidised copper (a favourite of architects who embrace their building becoming weathered). Or the deep, rich flavour of a well aged whiskey (though that's not the point here. No one wants second hand whiskey!)
The point is you don't always need to buy new and in many cases buying secondhand gets you a better version of the product. Which makes that fact it's better for the environment an added bonus.
6. Reuse, repair then recycle
Following on from giving other people's stuff a new lease of life, consider doing the same for your own things!
If something's a bit worn or broken think about patching it up or fixing it. Extending it's life will save you from having to replace it, saving you money and lowering your environmental impact. Win win.
Websites like espares will help you find and buy spare parts for a huge range of appliances and products around your home.
And if you're not good at DIYing, there are more and more repair cafes and clubs popping up all over the UK.
7. Pick your brands carefully
If you are buying new (or secondhand for that matter!) picking which brands you invest in carefully can make an outsider difference to your personal impact on the environment.
Brands that are deliberate about their sustainability and consider their own impact on the planet have done a lot of the hard work for you. They've put the effort into reducing their product's impact so you can buy them safe in the knowledge that your choices are benefiting the world.
Be aware of brands that talk a good game, verse those that practise it though...
8. By quality over quantity
Related to buying less: if you prioritise quality over quantity when making buying decisions you'll lower your impact on the environment over the long term.
Buying one thing that will last longer, rather than something that will need replacing every year will add up over the decades.
9. Shop online
If you can't shop locally without taking the car, shopping online can genuinely be a better, lower carbon, option.
It's much more efficient for one delivery van to visit 50 homes than for those same 50 customers to each drive to the store.
At Tidy we use Royal Mail to deliver our mens shampoo to minimise the impact of the delivery even further. Other online retailers are starting to take steps to reduce the impact of their deliveries too.
Finally, try unsubscribing from all those sales and promotional emails you get.
The average American is exposed to 5000 adverts a day. If their inbox is anything like ours has been in the past, most of those are delivered in the form of email...
Unsubscribing will help you lower your environmental impact in two ways;
Firstly by reducing the temptation to buy stuff. If you don't see an ad for the new shiny thing, you're less likely to want it.
Secondly by saving power. No really. Email is "free" but every message sent online consumes power when being transmitted across the internet.
One estimate suggests the world’s email usage generates as much CO2 as having an extra seven million cars on the roads (apparently their figures need updating, but even if that's a ballpark figure, it's not insignificant!)
If everyone unsubscribed from promotional emails, we could collectively safe a huge amount of energy.
And our inboxes would be significantly more manageable.
Wouldn't that be Tidy? 😁
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