Shopping makes me feel good. I’m not ashamed to conform to any gendered stereotypes because retail therapy is cathartic, though my spree’s tend to cost more than a 45 minute session on a shrink’s chaise lounge, my biggest concern is all the foreign labels and imported merchandise. They’re murder on my carbon footprint. I’ve had to devise ways of indulging my inner shopaholic while still respecting and protect the planet.

Here are a few ways you can ‘green-up’ your shopping practices.

NO MORE SHOPPING SPREES

As much as I hate to admit it, shopping sprees are gluttonous and should be done away with. There is no reason you need a specific cardigan in 4 different colours. The French always look incredibly chic despite having a capsule closet of immaculate pieces that can be worn a number of different ways.

Buy only what you need.You’ll find your space isn’t cluttered with useless things and your mind won’t be weighed down by having to keep track of it all.

An added bonus to cutting your shopping sprees down to none, is that you’ll have a whole lot more money to spend on things that actually matter like donating to local feeding schemes. 

BUY LOCAL

The sting of having to do without authentic Champagne will eventually fade. The pollution accumulated from a steam train transporting bottles of bubbly from a vineyard in the middle of the French countryside, to a truck that shuttles it to the cargo plane that will deliver it to customs, only to be put back onto another truck that takes it to your local speciality store won’t fade so easily.

When you support local businesses, you are investing in your local economy. The eco-friendly bonus is that the demand placed on industrial farms decreased, meaning that harmful pesticides and insecticides don’t poison the earth. When your soil is healthy, growing healthy and nutritious produce becomes a whole lot easier.

BE THE DIY GUY/GAL

Since we’re on the subject, why not grow your own herbs and spices; fruits and veggies. When you control how you grow your food, you can be intentional about doing it in a way that honours Mother Nature.

If you’re not green fingered, but handle an electric drill and sander like a pro, why not task yourself with building your own furniture? Upcycle some of your trash and use it to decorate your home. You can make jams and preserves, face masks, body scrubs, and body mist.

There are so many things you can make yourself, using natural and sustainable materials, as opposed to buying them from the store so why not try?

GO THRIFTING

Ever heard the saying, ‘one (wo)man’s trash is another (wo)man’s treasure’ ? No better way to find out than to go looking yourself.

Thanks to hipsters, thrift shopping has become an extremely trendy practise. Buying preloved clothes often comes up cheaper and the apparels don’t end up in a dumpsite somewhere or discarded in a public park or near a water source. And it doesn’t stop there; social media has made it easy to buy and sell second-hand practically anything. Now you can buy a car, boat, shoes, cutlery and crockery from someone who no longer needs theirs. Your individual efforts might feel like a drop in the ocean. When you consider how many people are part of these second-hand pages, and how often you see a millennial walking past with a sweater similar to the one you had in standard five, you begin to appreciate how effective this form of shopping is.

If you’re reading this, you obviously care enough about the earth to want to keep it around for a while. So take another look at how you shop and consume because even though you think buying vegan furniture is the right choice, having it imported from Switzerland is as irresponsible, if not worse, than just buying leather couches from your local furniture store.

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