Your Guide to Sustainable shopping

Your+Guide+to+Sustainable+shopping

June Hill, Editor-In-Chief

I don’t know about you, but I would like to continue living on this planet for a while longer. When we were in quarantine last spring I found myself thinking a lot about my impact on the earth and how I could reduce my carbon footprint. I quickly discovered that changing my shopping habits would be the perfect first step. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the fashion and textile industry produces 10% of global carbon dioxide emissions every year and is estimated to use around 1.5 trillion liters of water annually. That’s like… a lot of scary math. After doing my own research and getting incredibly angry at the human race (myself included) for being so wasteful, I decided I had to quit fast fashion. 

Since the spring I have not purchased from any harmful brands since, mostly because truly sustainable brands are far too expensive for my minimum wage budget. However, I have done some back-to-school shopping, and while I am sure I still have a lot to learn, here are my tips and tricks for how to shop for clothes while keeping the fate of our planet in mind. 

 

Educate Yourself

The True Cost is a documentary that reveals everything terrible about fast fashion. It explains that fast fashion exists because of how quickly trends come and go, and how, unfortunately, clothing ends up in the dump just as quickly. This documentary can explain the harm this industry does a thousand times better than I ever could. So, if you have some free time and want to get motivated to change the way you shop, The True Cost is the way to go.

 

Double-Check 

Next time before you purchase from a brand, quickly type it into goodonyou.eco. This website allows you to search for the name of a label and quickly find out how sustainable it really is. The site is very user friendly and they rate each store on a scale from big happy smiley face to distressed sad frowny face. You can also find helpful articles about brands they recommend and information about harmful products. The site is especially helpful when you want to purchase from a store that is not obviously a fast-fashion brand. Two popular stores I was surprised to discover got a thumbs down from Good On You were Urban Outfitters and Pacsun. 

 

Shop the DePop

Sadly, I still like Urban Outfitters; I can’t help it. Instead of buying directly from their website, though, I have easily found most of the pieces I want on DePop. This way, I am giving new life to someone’s old closet, and it is a much cheaper way to shop too. One thing I love about DePop is that you can bargain with someone if you think they are selling something at too high of a cost. My proudest bargaining moment came when I got a dress for $17 that was originally listed for $30. Shabam. 

 

Explore at Goodwill

Thrifting is not for the faint of heart. Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but if you are as picky as I am, it can take a while to find something you like. There are always going to be a lot of plain or boring pieces when you go thrifting, but they are worth sifting through when you find that one cozy grandpa sweater or that wonderfully unique pair of pants. Pro-tip #1: Goodwill and Salvation Army bring in newly donated items on Mondays. The racks will be fully stocked if you go that day. Pro-tip #2: Shop by texture. Rather than swiping through every item of clothing in the store, you can identify what is worth looking at by feeling the material it’s made of before you even pull it off the rack. If that sleeve is scratchy, don’t bother, because it’s not worth feeling uncomfortable!