Eco-friendly shopping: The common pitfalls

It would be fair to say that “green” and “eco” are two terms that have surged in popularity over the years. You don’t have to suffer through endless official research to confirm this; a simple search on Google Trends over the last decade tells the entire story.

However, while many of us may have great intentions when it comes to the topic, implementing them is another matter in its entirety. Many of us look at the hard-hitting industries, such as cars and construction, and scratch our heads on ways to cut our impact there.

In truth, some of the so-called smaller ones can have just as much impact, and shopping is one of them. Whether it is updating your wardrobe, or embarking on the weekly food shop, here are some mistakes that you should try and avoid the next time you hit the high street.

Mistake #1 – You choose the wrong shops

It’s that location, location, location factor again, isn’t it?

Put simply, you can have the best intentions in the world, but some shops are more down for being sustainable than others. Some have made public pledges (and are sticking to them), while others hope the green topic disappears.

Places like Covent Garden are renowned for their eco-friendly offerings, with shops having green lines and taking as many steps as they can to reduce the impact on the environment. Unfortunately, not all stores follow such a line, and we’d advise a little research before you head out on your shopping extravaganza to see which ones are truly taking it seriously.

Mistake #2 – The packaging can tell most of the story

We all know the commotion about plastic bags, yet some stores still use this as their primary packing method. This is the first red flag.

Then, there are those stores that place your goods in giant cardboard boxes. We know the culprits (mostly online-based), and this is yet another flag.

Once you start to see the accumulation of these signs, you don’t need to look any further into a company’s production policies or anything else more complex. If they can’t get the packaging right, it’s time to look at other options.

Mistake #3 – You don’t buy local

This is a classic, but it’s again one that many of us fall on. Particularly with more and more of us shopping online, it’s more complicated than ever before to stick to the local mantra.

However, it can make a world of difference. It’s not just about supporting the local economy. It’s about reducing that carbon footprint which can be through the roof if your goods are arriving from afar.

Mistake #4 – You don’t buy in season

No, we’re not really talking about clothes seasons here, but this mistake is more around your food choices.

Sure, you might be a strawberry fanatic – and that’s great for around 20 weeks of the year. However, consider alternatives that are in-season in your country of residence when it comes to the wintery months. Otherwise, you’ll be paying for the privilege of importing foods from other countries – something which isn’t just expensive for you, but also the environment.