Becoming a Conscious Shopper

Consumers today are facing a new challenge when heading to the local superstore to grab everyday items. With over 25 different types of toothpaste, 4 aisles of make-up, and over 50 flavors of potato chips, shoppers now have more options than they can possibly process. But having too many options is not necessarily a bad thing. For the first time, consumers have the ability to shop in a selective and conscious manner that allows them to take their health, the environment, and human rights into consideration when purchasing everyday items. Here are a few tips to becoming a thoughtful shopper:

1. Read the Label

Ethical practices have gone mainstream in the fashion world. Which is good news for you! With inexpensive stores such as H&M and TJMaxx carrying conscious clothing lines, there are more options than ever before. But what should you be looking for when shopping thoughtfully? The label can give you a lot of valuable information. Where was it made? Is it fair trade? For clothing items, are the fabrics organic, or man-made? If you are buying beauty products, does the company test on animals? These are just a few of the questions that the label (or a bit of investigations with your smart phone) can answer.

2. Buy local

Many cities have some form of farmer's market during warmer months. This is the easiest way to get all of your local produce and even hand-made goods all in one place. If you do need to buy food at the grocery store, pay mind to where your fruits and vegetables are coming from and if the item is in season.

3. Shop Secondhand

Sifting through thrift store clothes racks may sound less than desirable. But, there are others ways to buy secondhand goods, which will help cut down on waste. Weather it is refurbishing old furniture, or buying that designer bag you've been gushing over gently used online, it all makes a difference and cuts down on unnecessary waste.

4. Buy Recycled

It is one great thing to actually recycle. But it doesn't help anything if you don't buy the products that are made with those recycled materials. This rings true for everything from purchasing notebook filler paper to your clothing.

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