From the clothes we buy to the food we eat, each of our decisions has an impact on the climate. Clothes, food, and transportation that require energy and unsustainable materials for production and operation greatly increase our carbon footprint; but there are ways that we can continue consuming with sustainability in mind. Use your closet to fight climate change by using the following tips on your next shopping haul.
Trade the Mall for a Thrift Shop
We all know the phrase, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” Reducing the amount of clothes that you add to your closet each year can certainly reduce your carbon footprint. If you have the urge to shop (and we all do,) consider a community thrift store where you can reuse and recycle clothing. Your vintage look will gain you some hip credibility while you save cash and reduce your carbon footprint.
Aside from supporting local business, buying local apparel has benefits that make our Earth greener. Think about the journey of a tee shirt. Where are the materials gathered? Where is the shirt made? How far does it have to travel to reach the department stores where you are shopping? All of these journeys require energy. Clothes at a local boutique that sources throughout the city have a significantly lower carbon footprint than clothes that are mass-produced across the globe.
Opt for Organic or Vegan Materials
What are your clothes made out of? Look out for brands that use sustainable or organic materials. Organic materials don’t use pesticides that are dumped into our waters. Another option for eco-friendly materials is to go vegan. Leather, sheepskin or furs may look great, but the production that goes into these materials can have harmful impacts, including deforestation.
Talk To Your Favorite Brands
As a loyal customer, you play a big part in the decisions your favorite brands make. If you would like to see your favorite brands make a change that will positively impact the environment, make your voice heard! Write petitions, send feedback, and encourage other consumers to do the same. Simple changes, like reducing packaging or switching to organic fabrics, can make a big difference.
Purchase Carbon Offsets After Shopping Trips
Contributing to our carbon footprint is inevitable; it would be silly to try and bike everywhere, cut the amount of clothing we buy indefinitely, and only eat food that we can harvest within walking distance. You shouldn’t have to feel guilty after splurging on a new coat or taking a plane for vacation. To balance out the carbon we put into the atmosphere through consumption, you can purchase carbon offsets. Carbon offsets come in a variety of options; most allow you to send money to ecofriendly projects that need funding. By buying these offsets, you can reduce your carbon footprint (and shop guiltfree!).
Megan Okonsky is a writer, yogi, and traveler. She currently serves as the Marketing Director for Our Future Footprint, an apparel company launching on Indiegogo in 2017. Our Future Footprint plants three trees for every shirt sold, and donates to conservation and education initiatives.