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6 Tips for Shopping Sustainably to Save the Planet

Want to help combat climate change? Here are some simple tips you can follow to change your buying habits.

To live a more sustainable life, reducing your consumption is the number-one action you can take. Once you decide to buy something, you can prioritize second-hand products. And making sure to recycle all your discarded items is another critical step to closing the cycle. I’m sure you’ve heard the guiding principles before: reduce, reuse, recycle.

There’s a growing recognition of the dangers of climate change, and consumers are making it a top concern.

But how can we reassess what we’re doing in our daily lives to support sustainability and adopt more environmentally friendly practices?

It all starts with changing our buying habits. Studies have shown a shift in our buying behaviors, and companies are responding. Because of our purchasing transformation, companies look to deliver products with a lower impact on the environment.

Globally, sustainability is rated as an essential purchase principle for 60% of consumers. This number is just under the U.S. average of 61%. Yet, according to New York University’s Stern Center for Sustainable Business, as of 2019, only 16% of consumer-packaged goods (CPGs) were sustainably marketed. However, that sustainably marketed CPGs delivered a 54% market growth over five years (2015-2019).

Our NSF experts and others say that if we begin shopping with an eco-conscious mindset, it can help slow down the destructive toll on our planet and move us in a more sustainable direction. Check out these six tips for shopping greener and moving the needle on saving the world.

  • Be Choosy

    With the internet at your fingertips, it’s not too hard to do your homework before you make a purchase. Research brands with social and environmental policies and make sure their products are sustainably sourced and packaged to avoid a negative impact on the environment.
  • Jump on the Buying-Habit Bandwagon

    There’s a growing recognition that our planet needs our help, and consumers are making it a top concern. Consider interacting with your preferred brands to voice your ideas and ask questions.
  • Market Demand

    Shopping at a store where sustainable products are available will make finding what you are looking for easier. You can also check your local supermarket for products they have labelled or grouped as eco-friendly. These sustainable consumer goods include everything from paper products and skin care items to foods such as milk, yogurt, snacks and more.
  • Read Labels

    This will help you more easily find products that have been verified for their claims. Look for labeling that matches your concerns, such as sustainably sourced, landfill-free manufacturing, plant-based, gluten-free and organic. Be wary of outlandish claims that are considered greenwashing, such as “earth-friendly,” without any link or way to verify it is true.
  • No Bag, Please

    Buy products with minimal packaging, use recyclable materials, and skip the bag when you can.
  • Buy Local

    With its packaging waste and carbon emissions, Beat the supply chain by heading to the local farmers’ market to put freshly grown or farm-raised food on your family’s table.

As a customer, you have the power to help transform the way industries produce their products and respond to the environmental crises we are facing.

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