Online shopping has slowly but surely replaced the more traditional method of purchasing from shops physically, and while it has been extremely advantageous for many, it also brings with it some additional problems, such as the environmental cost of shipping and packaging. However, shopping online has also been a blessing in disguise as it has become much easier for us to filter out and find our preferences be it finding a vegan soap bar or a shirt made of Tencel fabric.
Never before has it been easier to be a conscious consumer. You have a plethora of tools and limitless information at your disposal to make the right choices. All you need to do is finetune your shopping experience with the help of some useful tips and tricks, which we will present to you in this article.
- Download the Be Zen chrome extension
This is one of the best tools out there to be a conscious consumer online. The Be Zen chrome extension helps users find eco-friendly alternatives to products they browse online on platforms like Amazon and Bestbuy thus diverting customers from these unethical brands to more sustainable websites. This not only helps the customers but also the ethical brands! This tool will tell you exactly why a certain product is sustainable and ensures that all the brands featured reduce waste, have low greenhouse gas emissions, are toxin-free, support animal welfare, have fair labor practices, are part of social initiatives, and are accessible.
Click on this link and get ready for a hassle-free eco-friendly shopping experience!
- Find Brands Through The Good On You Directory
This one is for all the ethical fashionistas out there! The Good On You directory uses transparent data sources and a comprehensive methodology to rate brands on how sustainable they are.
To determine each brand's score, Good On You considers 500+ data points across more than 100 important concerns, indications, and standards systems. They give third-party sources weight based on the scope and caliber of their assurance or how well they verify that brands adhere to the established requirements. Good On You analysts assess each brand using their proprietary technology and their rigorous approach, which they created in conjunction with industry professionals, academics, and organizations like Fashion Revolution, Fashion for Good, and Four Paws. All you need to do is select which category of clothing you want to shop for, and Good On You will provide you with a list of brands to try out. You can even search brands in their directory to find out how they are rated.
- Use Buycott To Support Certain Causes
The Buycott app was created to assist consumers in avoiding purchasing goods from businesses whose practices don't align with their beliefs and to support campaigns and businesses that do. Users enroll in order to support specific initiatives. The website further states that when you use Buycott to scan a product, it will search up the product and determine whose company owns that brand. In order to inform you whether the scanned product clashes with one of your campaign commitments, it will next cross-check the product owners against the businesses and brands participating in the campaigns you have joined. This amazing tool is available for both iOS and Android users.
- Use Leaping Bunny To Go Cruelty-Free
If your specific concern revolves around animal rights, then Leaping Bunny is the platform for you. With an extensive audit process that occurs every year, Leaping Bunny has some pretty stringent rules that brands must follow to be certified by them. So, a Leaping Bunny certification serves as a guarantee that you are buying cruelty-free products. You can find these brands either on their website or by downloading their app.
- Shop Second-Hand With ThredUp
Buying used products is one of the ways in which you can be a sustainable shopper. ThredUp, an online clothes consignment and thrift store as well as a styling delivery service, is a useful tool to help you get started from home. It offers reduced prices on high-end items, both new and used, from companies like Kate Spade and Coach.
There is a lot to discover on the website, but it can be made a little less intimidating by exploring curations for ideas or looking up certain companies. There is a Sales section in addition to the things that are frequently discounted. By donating or selling clothes to ThredUp, you can also get a jump start on your spring cleaning while earning a few dollars.
Things To Remember While Shopping Online
While these tools certainly make things easier and will more or less do all the cumbersome research for you, it is still vital to keep these few pointers in mind while shopping online.
- Ensure That The Company Uses Eco-Friendly Packaging.
Eco-friendly packaging comes in many shapes and forms. We recommend avoiding brands that use recycled plastic as it is a common greenwashing tactic (some brands genuinely mean well, but we never know). Using recycled and natural materials like paper are a much better alternative. Also, brands that provide you with the packaging you can reuse by upcycling are also great.
- Shop Slow And Shop In Bulk.
To be a conscious consumer is to make an active effort to control your urges to buy conspicuously and only buy what you truly require. Ask yourself multiple times whether you really need a product before going ahead with the purchase. Use your products to the utmost. Only replace them when you cannot possibly use them anymore.
Also, buying in bulk, especially household goods, can do wonders. When you buy an item at a higher frequency, the transportation and shipping cost increases. It is much better for the environment if your goods are all brought in one shipment, which would last months, rather than buying goods every week. Buying in bulk also reduces packaging use and makes you plan your purchases better.
- Shipping And Transportation Has An Environmental Cost.
As mentioned before, shipping and transportation is harmful to the environment due to carbon emissions. Shopping locally can do wonders in reducing the distance traveled. It will automatically eliminate the need to use ships and flights to transport goods. This is why quite a few eco-friendly companies mention explicitly that their goods are produced locally.
- Opt For Products That Minimise Waste, Are Cruelty-Free, Vegan, And Eco-Friendly.
As long as the items you purchase tick these boxes, you are good to go. Of course, there are even more points you can keep in mind, but these basics are enough to be a sustainable shopper. Minimizing waste ensures that the goods aren't polluting the environment. Cruelty-free ensures that animal testing isn't conducted. Make sure that the company also doesn't exploit labor. The additional vegan tag ensures that no animal products are used in the making. Finally, even after meeting these points, a product could be unsustainable for the environment. To be truly eco-friendly, they also need to be toxin-free so that we have this added guarantee that they will truly not harm the environment in any way.
- Avoid Companies That Greenwash.
Being eco-friendly is in “vogue.” Exploitative companies tend to take advantage of consumer sentiments and straight up lie to their customers in order to increase sales. By using the tools listed above and by also using your own discretion, you can, to a great extent, avoid such companies.
By inculcating all these points and by using the tools given above, you can truly embrace the conscious consumer lifestyle and shop sustainably online to your heart's content!