How To Be A More Ethical Shopper*
In the past year I've become much more aware and to be honest empowered about my shopping.
There are a few elements that I have changed to both lessen my carbon footprint and also ensure my money is supporting businesses that aren't just good, they're also doing great things as well.
Below are a few simple tips that might be useful if you would like to make shopping a little more ethically minded.
Shun Single Use Plastics
This year I feel plastics are at the forefront as a result of documentaries such as A Plastic Ocean - which is a good, if scary watch. We've all become aware of the problem and whilst we wait for all business to catch up and package items in compatible packaging, simple changes like always bringing your own tote bag when shopping and using a reusable Coffee Cup make a remarkable difference. It is estimated that 500 billion disposable cups are discarded to landfill every year. That’s one million cups a minute, every hour of every day of every year. Never feel you aren't making a difference - because it genuinely is. Also in my experience Baristas usually offer a discount and are always happy to clean your cup for you as well!
Donate What You No Longer Want or Need
Naturally we all have things we no longer want and grow out of clothing or simply no longer want it but rather than discarding items, pass them on to someone who might like them, donate to a charity shop or sell online. If you can't make it during office hours most bottle recycling centres also have clothing drop points available 24/7. You can also recycle clothing and there are textile banks if items are worn out. For a list of Irish textile recycling locations see >Here<
Choose Carefully and Buy Well
The boon of online shopping brought with it a sense of fast fashion. Whilst it seemed initially exciting, having purchased a few things on a whim online, I now choose to mull over my purchases and buy what I know will last. Whether something is €20 or €200 I have to see myself wanting to wear it frequently. For those things that are a little outside my budget working out a cost per wear also helps make the decision for me!
Support Business That Give Back
I feel we are in an age where not should we care about products, we should care more about where they are from, how they are sourced, and what the business are doing to give back to the communities.
This May TK Maxx and Homesense will be stocking a stunning range of hand-made baskets from Uganda, that not only look good but will help customers do good too.
Produced by the Rwenzori Trading Company, Uganda, income from the baskets goes directly to the artisans to help pay for their children’s education. The money received from the sale of two baskets is equivalent of a term’s schooling for a child in Uganda.
The beautifully designed baskets are made using traditional weaving techniques, each with its own unique patterns and colour schemes. Each basket is signed by the person that made it, creating a direct link between maker and shopper.
The extra income has also helped empower the women who weave the baskets, bringing greater equality in the home and a greater say in how the money is spent and their children’s education.
Since 2011, some 6,000 families have benefited from improved income as a result of the project, with a 40% increase in children completing primary school education.
For a limited time only, the unique items are available to purchase at Homesense and TK Maxx. Prices start from €3.99. They will go fast so if you see one you love - be sure to pick it up and know you are supporting a child's education and a woman's financial independence.
Support Local Farmers
I was amazed recently when I went to the Leopardstown Farmers market (on a Friday) at the standard of produce. I ended up leaving with two bags full of the most beautiful local and fresh produce. If you have a farmers market in your area, go! Not only will you find food that is fresher, tastier and more nutritious, buying those local foods help to support and sustain farming in your community. It's something I am definitely going to focus on moving forward.
*Thank you to TK Maxx & Homesense for collaborating with me on this blog post and for the opportunity to share this wonderful win-win initiative. For a limited time only, the unique items are available to purchase at Homesense and TK Maxx. Prices start from €3.99. They will go fast so if you see one you love - be sure to pick it up and know you are supporting a child's education and a woman's financial independence.
Images by Johnny McMillan.