Way back in Week 16 we discussed the importance of buying local produce, but buying local pertains to more than just food. When shopping for clothes, home goods, or other items try to take a moment to learn where your product comes from and, when possible, try to buy items made close to home.
Buying local helps prevent emissions from being released into the atmosphere by not having to transport the goods a long distance to be sold. Better yet, buying from a local, small business helps support your own local economy. Good places to buy local items include farmers markets, local boutiques, and community events or festivals.
If you have trouble finding items made locally, consider items made in the USA to again reduce the miles traveled to transport the item. According to the Federal Trade Commission, “Made in the USA” must meet the standard that “all or virtually all” the product has been made in America, so you know what to expect when you see that label. One online shop that features many items made in the USA (as well as unique gifts) is Uncommon Goods. They also have helpful labels that show if the item is handmade or recycled to help further guide your purchasing. Another good online option is Etsy. Etsy is a great way to support a small business and to find products that are often handmade and natural, which leads to another good eco-shopping tip: look for items made out of eco-friendly, sustainable materials. Treehugger created a Holiday Gift Guide with many great planet-friendly ideas that don’t just have to be purchased for the holidays (or as a gift!).
If you are buying items from other countries, always try to purchase Fair Trade items to ensure that the producers of the products have social and environmental protections and are being compensated fairly for their services. Ten Thousand Villages is a store that sells ethically-sourced handcrafted fair trade items that ensure they support the artisans in the developing countries from where they are made.
Another tip to consider is how long the item you are purchasing will last. It’s often best to invest a little more in an item so that it holds up better and stays out of landfills. Buy Me Once is a website that sells items that they ensure will last. It has a fun backstory- it was started by a woman who was impressed by her Le Creuset cast iron pot that she received as a gift. It was covered by a lifetime guarantee, and she couldn’t figure out why everything she owned wasn’t held to this standard and as beautiful as this item?
A little bit of consciousness can help you feel empowered about how you spend your money...which will not only offset emissions, but a bit of that buyers’ remorse we all experience during the holiday season.
7GA has no affiliations with the stores or websites mentioned above. They are simply recommendations from some of our own team members.