Who can resist a good shopping spree? We know we can’t. But if you’ve watched the documentary, The True Cost, you’ll know that the fashion industry is contributing a lot to environmental issues. But worry not! You don’t have to give up shopping just yet. Here are 7 simple habits you can adopt to shop more sustainably!
1. Carry a reusable bag everywhere you go
These totes are compact and lightweight, making them easy to carry around.
The simplest habit you can pick up is to have a reusable bag on hand. Whenever you buy something, just whip out your reusable bag and use that instead of the plastic bags provided.
For a super affordable option, we recommend tote bags by Cotton On Foundation (COF), which you can get from Cotton On and Typo. These bags are light and compact, making them really convenient to carry around. They also come in lots of colours and patterns, so you’ll look extra stylish while staying sustainable.
Not only will you be saving the environment, you’ll be donating to a good cause as well! 100% of the proceeds will go towards COF’s aim to provide quality education and clear pathways for every child in the communities they partner with, so far seeing 9,100 students provided access to quality education. COF works directly with communities in need; delivering quality education projects in Southern Uganda, South Africa, Thailand and Australia. Talk about shopping with a cause.
Look out for these green tags the next time you shop at H&M.
An easy way to shop sustainably is to buy from sustainable brands. These are brands that make sure their clothing uses eco-friendly or recycled material. This means that less water, energy and chemicals are used which is better for the environment in the long run.
H&M’s sustainable products are easily identified by their green H&M Conscious tags. Currently, 57% of the material from their Conscious line are made from recycled or sustainably sourced materials. Their prices are pretty affordable too, so you don’t have to break the bank to shop sustainably.
These people practice sustainable farming practices under Cotton On’s sustainable cotton programme.
For cool and comfy t-shirts, get them from Cotton On instead. They are moving towards a goal of using 100% sustainable cotton by 2021. They also launched their own sustainable cotton programme in Kwale County, Kenya which supports and trains over 2,500 local farmers on sustainable farming practices. So, each time you buy a t-shirt from Cotton On, you can be assured that it’s eco-friendly and for a good cause.
Recycle your unwanted clothes instead of throwing them out.
It feels very refreshing when you declutter your wardrobe. But instead of throwing out your unwanted clothes, make it a habit to recycle them instead! If you live in Singapore, recycling bins are readily available in your local neighbourhood. So you don’t have to make plans to travel to a recycling centre to do this.
Alternatively, you can drop off your clothes at H&M, Levi’s or UNIQLO and enjoy some shopping perks. Drop off your pre-loved items at their stores across the country and receive cash vouchers or discounts for your next purchase. Clothes that are in good condition will be donated to those in need while the rest is recycled.
These basics from H&M’s Conscious line will never go out of style.
Basics like a white button down, dark-coloured trousers and a denim jacket are timeless and will never go out of style. Chances are, they’ll be staples in your wardrobe for a long time and you’re unlikely to throw them out unlike fast fashion trends that go out of style. So you’ll want to get them from stores that sell high quality basics like Esprit or G2000. Bonus points if you get your basics second hand or from sustainable brands like H&M. Mix and match them with many looks and look très chic.
If you see a mobius loop, it means that the item is recyclable.
To appeal to consumers, a lot of brands use excessive amounts of packaging for their products. There’s just no running away from this when you shop. To alleviate this issue, you can actively buy from brands that use recyclable packaging.
It’s a good thing that brands like Cotton On are switching over to using paper shopping bags instead of plastic, which are recyclable and made from recycled materials resulting in less waste long term. If the packaging isn’t made out of paper, check and see if you can find a mobius loop which indicates that it’s recyclable.
Materials like organic cotton, linen and hemp are environmentally-friendly.
As a rule of thumb, buy clothes that are made of fabrics you’ve heard of like cotton, wool, silk and linen. Synthetic fibres like polyester and nylon are created in labs and use petroleum and/or chemicals to be produced. They’re essentially plastic and are not biodegradable. These fabrics also shed microfibres with every wash, which contributes to water pollution.
While eco-friendly pieces may be a tad bit pricey, they are of high quality and will last a long time.
7. Pick up sewing
Instead of chucking out that holey shirt or too loose pair of jeans, pick up some needle and thread and give your clothes a new lease of life. Mending holes and adjusting hems are one of the simplest modifications you can do to bring your clothes back to life. Plus, you don’t even need a sewing machine to do this!
Being conscious while you shop can really go a long way in saving the environment. It’s all in the small changes and simple habits that you adopt! So the next time you’re planning a shopping spree, keep these tips in mind and shop sustainably.