Rethink These Four Purchases to Be More Sustainable

So, you’re interested in living a more sustainable lifestyle. Perhaps you’ve been making small changes to live a little greener, most of them related to plastic. If you’ve stopped using plastic bags and learned to always pass on the straw, that’s awesome. However, it’s probably not keeping your carbon footprint at bay to the degree you might be hoping.

sustainable purchases

Everything we choose to bring into our homes leaves its mark on the planet, whether it’s something we plan to use once or hang onto it for years. Not sure how to ensure that you’re making sustainable purchases? Here are four purchases to reconsider if you’re trying to live more sustainably.

Technology

Before you spring for the latest iPhone, pause and give it some more thought. New tech isn’t typically something we consider as a major factor in our carbon footprint. But, the resources involved in the production of new technology add up when considering the extraction of raw materials, production, distribution, and end of life. Purchasing a new phone, laptop, camera, or tablet when your existing one is perfectly fine places a major strain on the environment. It also encourages tech companies to continue releasing and producing demand for new models each year. If you want to green up your tech game, the best thing you can do is use your devices for as long as possible. When you really need a new item, consider purchasing second hand or refurbished tech.

Fast fashion

We all like to spruce up our wardrobes from time to time, but doing so without thought can come at a major cost to the environment. From unethical labor practices to constant production to keep up with trends, fast fashion brands place a major resource strain on the planet. That doesn’t mean you can’t ever purchase new clothing, but it’s important to do so thoughtfully. Whenever possible, try to make more sustainable fashion choices including buying secondhand or from ethical and sustainable brands.

Impulse purchases

Every item we choose to purchase has a resource footprint, the bulk of which happens before it makes it onto store shelves. For this reason, the most sustainable purchases are those that we skip altogether. Of course that doesn’t mean you can never buy anything new. Rather, it’s important to be intentional about when we choose to swipe our credit cards. Avoiding impulse purchases is the best way to make sure you’re not putting undue stress on the environment with your purchases and as an added bonus it also saves you money.

Sustainable swaps

Yep, it’s best to avoid the impulse to run out and buy a sustainable swap for everything you already own when you decide to live more sustainably. End of life is important, and it’s best to avoid single use plastic as much as possible. However, if you let your Ziploc bags go unused in favor of reusable silicone food storage bags, the greenhouse gas emissions used to create those single use bags will have been for nothing.

The most sustainable choice is always using the items that are already collecting dust in your closet. Once you’ve used up all the existing toothpaste, paper plates, and plastic water bottles, it’s time to make the switch to sustainable alternatives. However, it’s best to avoid doing so prematurely.

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About Kira Schreiber

Kira grew up in the Chicago suburbs and is passionate about mental health, healthy eating, and sustainability. After spending the first part of her career working for a non profit mental health agency in Southern California, she transitioned to pursue a career in her passion for cooking. Now back in Chicago, Kira spends her days developing healthy recipes for a food tech start up. When not in the kitchen or on her laptop she loves spending time outdoors, hitting up a spin class, or watching home decor DIYs on YouTube.

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