5 Ways to Shop More Mindfully
Most of us have grown up in an age of abundance with little regard for the impact that our choices have on the environment. The incredible ease of shopping at a touch and increase in disposable the variety of products has led to the development of a culture that promotes excessive buying regardless of wants and needs. This compulsive consumerism has led to a significant wastage of our limited resources and is severely impacting our sensitive ecosystems. The need to shop more mindfully has never been more imperative. It might seem that our individual actions might not have any impact on the problem created by many but every action counts, and you can contribute your part by following these tips to shop more mindfully:
- Avoid single-use carry bags- This cannot be stressed more, this will not only save you a few bucks for every shopping trip you make but it will also reduce the demand for single-use carry bags that are one of the most common pollutants. Bringing your own carry-bag is a very small and easy step that one can take to get on the road to shop more mindfully. And whenever you are buying anything, ask your vendor or shopkeeper to avoid using excessive wrapping paper and unnecessary packaging and just take the product home as it is, if it is possible.
- Ask for an electronic receipt- the receipts that we usually get from shops might seem like paper but it is actually a mixture of chemicals. If your store offers the facility to get electronic receipts then always opt for the electronic alternative as it will save you a lot of time as well as prevent the generation of unnecessary waste that we throw away without a second look. Electronic receipts will also create a more reliable copy of the transaction if you ever need to return products or keep a record of the same, and most importantly it will help you avoid the dreaded clutter of old receipts that can be found all around the house and your cars.
- Identify your needs- take a stock of what you have at home and then identify what you need to buy. Avoiding unnecessary buying is probably the most important tip to shop more mindfully. For a shopping trip, avoiding it altogether might seem counterproductive, but it is essential to buy only what we need to shop more mindfully. Attractive deals and sales might entice you to buy more than your needs but always try to reconsider every buying decision and assess what you actually need.
- Buy thrifted items- everyone is obsessed with buying new trendy items but value can also be found in already existing items. You can always find unique furniture, trinkets and clothes when you buy thrifted things instead of just rushing towards the next big thing. Vintage will always be unique and fashionable. Some products stay evergreen, unlike the next passing fad that big conglomerates would have us believe. Swap with friends, or check out your local thrift shops to find some unique economical products instead of buying new ones.
- Shop locally- buying from local businesses is not only a part of mindful shopping but it also supports the local economy. There is a lot of value to be found in local shops and establishments. Getting things delivered to your doorstep increases carbon emissions. While it might seem harmless to just get the groceries delivered instead of going to your local market, this leaves a very big carbon footprint with every purchase. Considering the pandemic we are not left with any alternative but when everything goes back to normal try to make more mindful decisions and shop locally.
- Research: The best thing about the internet is the easy access to a plethora of information. Try and read about the details of greenwashing, what brands are doing it etc. There are several websites that evaluate the socio-economic and environmental impacts of brands. One of my personal favourites for the global brand is good on you
These tips are not all exhaustive and there might be many other ways you can shop mindfully, and depending on your needs and preferences you might even come up with your own tips. The important thing is to be conscious of our surroundings and to avoid making impulsive buying decisions.
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