Our shopping affects people, animals and the environment. Every purchase we make has huge repercussions down the supply chain socially, economically and environmentally. Over recent years we have all become much more aware of our impact to the planet.
I was raised in rural UK where my parents where shopkeepers. During this time I came to realize the power of community at the heart of which is typically small, independent businesses. When shopping locally you regularly share a communal space with other people in the community this naturally leads to communication and forming of relationships. Small, independent businesses are sources of employment and providers and consumers of goods and services that sustain the local economy. When you shop at chain retailers, most of the money will go back to the business elsewhere, whereas the money you spend at local businesses will directly go back into the local economy.
My wife and I are lucky enough to live in a small market town which has a good collection of small, local businesses. Most people who are grew up in the town are cogizant to the importance of small, independent businesses and support them with their custom. However as more people move to the rural town from cities their culture of supermarkets and then low-cost supermarkets has spread outwards too. This has led to the collapse of many small, local businesses.
To retain our unique communities and maintain a healthy local economy we should all look to shop and support small, local businesses.
Shopping sustainably means shopping at ethical brands and retailers - and not just those that brand themselves as ‘ethical’ without actually being too kind to the environment. Standad shopping practices, especially the clothing industry is largely opaque, exploitative and environmentally damaging.
When buying clothes, it is important to always read the fine print to see what materials your clothing is actually made of. Synthetic materials like polyester, nylon, and acrylic take hundreds of years to decompose. Those materials account for a large chunk of the clothing that’s currently sitting in landfills. Plus, synthetics require plastic and chemicals to make, and these directly contaminate water supplies. Choosing all-natural fabrics is one way to work toward a more sustainable wardrobe but also a more economical wardrobe as these pieces will last far longer. Look for organic cotton, hemp, Tencel, ethically-raised wool, and other natural fibres!
While there are some options for sustainable shopping local to where I live there are much more options available for home delivery.
When its not possible to shop locally rather than travel to a city I generally turn to the internet. While investigating sustainable living I’ve collected a series of bookmarks as I’ve shopped.
Fair trader is a volunteer-run co-operative shop in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire. They stock an exciting range of fashion accessories, jewellery, food and drink, clothing, homewares, toiletries, greetings cards and toys.
Mi Terro re-engineers food waste into sustainable materials for example waste milk into t-shirts.
Ethical Superstore offers products across multiple product categories.
Bamboo Clothing offers clothing made from bamboo really good for yoga and gym wear.
Lefrik offers bags and backpacks made from recycled plastic bottles.
Weaver Green offers rugs and textiles made from recycled plastic bottles.
Velo Culture offers belts and wallets made from recycled bicycle innertubes.
Cycle For Good operates the Elephant Bike initative where if you buy a recycled bike from them they give one to someone in Malawi via their social enterprise scheme.
Yoga Bloke offers various sustainable yoga equipment.
PrAna offers sustainable yoga clothing, US but ships to UK.
Napapijri offers sustainable clothing including some really nice coats.
Rapanui offers sustainable clothing range.
SeaTowel offers towels made from platic collected by fishermen from the sea during fishing.
momoq offers sustainable clothing range.
finisterre offers sustainable clothing range.
komodo offers sustainable clothing range.
nomads offers sustainable clothing range.
thought offers sustainable clothing range.
William Lennon englands last working boot maker.
These are not endorsements, just a collection of online stores I have either bought or considered buying something from. If you have any recomendations of good places to shop online for delivery to UK do let me know.