Ethical consumer guide: where do I start?
Shopping these days is more than just a necessity: for most of us, it’s our lifestyle, hobby, therapy, the way we deal with bad emotions and celebrate the good ones. Although not many of us are actually aware of how our choices are affecting the planet, animals, other people and the impact it sets on the future.
Big changes won’t happen overnight, however, every journey starts somewhere. Here are some handy little tips and tricks that will help you to begin your journey towards more mindful living and conscious consuming.
You may not have heard this before but your regular plastic toothbrush takes about 450 years to decompose. Now think about how many toothbrushes you will be buying in your lifetime. Crazy, isn’t it? Good news is that companies like Atlas and Ortus are not only creating fantastic bamboo toothbrushes but also are planting a tree for every purchase! I think it’s an obvious win-win situation. Happy teeth and happy earth!
- Bringing your own coffee cup to a coffee shop is the next big thing: your barista will thank you and you will also get a 50p discount on your favourite latte! Even though technically disposable coffee cups are recyclable, only less than 1 per cent actually ever end up being recycled.
- Can’t live and drink without a straw? Get your own reusable bamboo straw! They look stylish and you are literally sipping from nature!
- Staying hydrated is very important – ditching plastic water bottles as well! That’s also one of the easiest swaps you can make today. There is a huge variety of sustainably beautiful water bottles and you can refill it and reuse it as many times as you wish!
Recycle and avoid plastic when possible
Just a simple reminder that if you do use plastic packaged products, don’t forget the power of recycling. We won’t get rid of plastic completely any time soon but let’s be aware of what is happening with our empty toothpaste tube or face cream containers – throw them away into an appropriate trash bin.
Don’t forget that we are lucky enough to be living in times when there are alternatives to almost everything. You can easily find products in glass jars instead of plastic ones, shampoo soap bars instead of regular plastic bottles and so on.
As in your closet, so in your bathroom you can go back in time and still look cool. Plastic disposable razors was a nice trend and we all got hooked up on idyllic commercials but the truth is these razors are made of hard plastic that takes years and years to biodegrade. Do you still remember good old traditional razors? They only require you to throw away the blade, which can be recycled, it will last you a lifetime, save you a ton of cash and also look like a statement piece in your bathroom!
Know how to read your labels
We all know by now how important it is to read the labels on our food packaging but can we also get into the habit of reading labels on other products such as shampoos, moisturisers, soaps and perfume? Do you really want to put a product on your skin with ingredients that you cannot understand or pronounce? Also many creams and balms still contain animal parts, so in case you are vegan, be sure to check the labels as not all ingredients may fit with your values.
Read beyond the labels too
Many companies are still testing their products on animals and we think that this fact goes unnoticed for quite too often. Keep an eye on the list created by PETA and avoid these brands by all means. We live in the 21st century and animal testing is extremely unnecessary and unethical. There are more than 6,000 ingredients that have been already proven to be safe to be used in our skincare products and there is no reason for animals to suffer.
Can you reuse it?
If it did happen that you ended up with an empty plastic jar that is not recyclable, have some fun and get your creative juices flowing! Can you reuse it or refill it? Can you turn it into a storage for small items?
Keep looking for information online and watch documentaries. Accepting the fact that you don’t know everything is your greatest power. People who don’t ask questions – never get their answers. Always keep wondering about how something was made, who made it and how your single purchase is going to affect the rest of the world. Have you heard the saying “But it’s only one straw – said 8 billion people”? The problem is definitely bigger than a single straw. Start noticing unnecessary cheap packaging, overuse of plastic bags that could be swapped for carton or paper bags. Supply is influenced by the demand and you as a consumer are influencing the demand – it’s as simple as that.
Don’t keep it all only to yourself
Share what you’ve learned with people around you! Your impact is going to be more powerful if it’s going to be passed on. Spread the message and initiate meaningful conversations. Another good way to inspire and educate your loved ones is by giving them the most beautifully sustainable and ethical gifts!