News - How to shop sustainably

How to shop sustainably

We no longer blindly want the cheapest products we can find – more and more Aussies are putting their foot down when it comes to shopping for ethical and sustainable everyday products. So strong is the push that supermarket giants Woollies and Coles are focussing on providing as many green options as possible for their eco-conscious consumers. With that in mind, there are still plenty of innocent looking items on those shelves that aren’t what they seem. Vote with your wallet and choose ethical and sustainable products during your weekly shop with these handy hints:  

Buy local and seasonal

While the best choice you can make as an ethical consumer is to put your dollar towards local companies, many of us don’t have the time or energy to head to the nearest farmers’ market. You can still shop sustainably at the supermarket by opting for locally grown and made products. In addition to supporting Australian growers, this choice reduces the emissions produced when transporting items long distances. You don’t even have to look up what’s in season – by simply purchasing the cheapest fruit and vegetables at the supermarket, you are most likely selecting seasonal produce already. Just make sure you check that it’s also Australian produce!   [caption id="attachment_5740" align="alignnone" width="690"]claytons-recycled-bags Image courtesy of Claytons [/caption]  

Think beyond food

It is not all about produce you can eat or drink – what about cleaning products, personal health and beauty items and food storage? These items can also contribute greatly to the total amount of emissions, chemicals and non-biodegradable litter produced as a result of your weekly shop. To minimise the damage, try to avoid buying disposable products like plastic drink bottles and cling wrap, buy recycled products where you can, buy fresh produce without unnecessary packaging, and bring your own recycled shopping bags. Where possible, avoiding over consumption and buying only what you need is another easy way to increase your green credentials.  

australian-certified-organicKnow your certifications

Organic, all-natural, free range, grass fed – buying products with these labels is a step in the right direction for sure, but did you know there are plenty of brands using these claims in a misleading fashion? Known as ‘greenwashing’, it’s when a business promotes itself to be more environmentally friendly than it really is. Make sure that you are actually getting what you pay for by knowing your food labelling – proper certification will always win out over fancy claims. Be aware that one certification doesn’t cover everything – e.g. buying organic doesn’t mean it is sustainably sourced, and vice versa. Here are some reputable certification labels to look for on your supermarket shelves: [alert style="alert-lifestyle" dismissible="false"]

Shop Ethical app

Do you know who you are supporting when you buy certain products? Find out the environmental and social record of the companies behind common brand names using the Shop Ethical smartphone app, which includes information on common brands of food, drink, appliances, clothing, beauty products, office supplies, electronics and cleaning agents. [/alert]
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