12 Ways to Make Greener Shopping Choices

By Camille Styles

As most of us make efforts to clean up our diets and be a little kinder to the environment in the process, it’s also important to consider the products we’re putting on our bodies and bringing into our homes. Today’s post, in partnership with Seventh Generation as part of our Living Green series, is all about the simple choices you can make to “green up” your shopping habits. Since we’re also trying to avoid “fast fashion” fixes by investing in clothes that will last multiple seasons, it’s important to take care of them using gentle laundry detergents that are made without harsh chemicals, and Seventh Generation is our go-to source. Click through the slides for our top tips, and we’d love to hear about any of your greener shopping ideas in the comments!

Buy Less.

When you buy fewer new clothes, you’ll think more deeply about each purchase. Do I really need this? Is it something that will age well and is able to be worn again and again? Having fewer clothes is greener, and makes your closet so much more zen.

image source

Go local.

While it also makes for a leisurely way to kick off the weekend, shopping at your area farmer’s market is also one of the best things you can do for our planet. Did you know that conventional food can travel upwards of 1,500 miles before it gets to your plate? All that shipping uses tons of natural resources, contributes to pollution, and creates trash with extra packaging. Farmers market food is transported shorter distances and is generally grown using earth-friendly methods.

image source

Reuse and reduce waste.

When it comes to recycling, it’s not always just about separating out your paper and plastic. It can also mean a washable travel mug for your morning coffee, cloth napkins instead of paper ones, rechargeable batteries…you get the idea!

image source

Care for clothes with natural products.

It used to be difficult to find chemical-free laundry detergents that were also powerful enough to remove stains; but ever since I started using Seventh Generation’s detergent a few years ago, I discovered that it really is possible for a detergent to have it all. These new Laundry Packs effectively remove stains, while being EPA Safer Choice Certified and free of optical brighteners, dyes and VOCs. This means they’re better for the environment, and they provide peace of mind that your detergent is safe for the whole family, too.

photo by Kristen Kilpatrick

Shop seasonally.

We can all agree that the juiciest peaches pop up in June and July and the crispest apples can be found in September and October. Purchasing foods that are in season means you’re more likely to be eating locally grown food that hasn’t been genetically modified.

image source

Go organic.

We all know about organic foods, but did you know that fabrics can be organic as well? Check the tag and look for items made with organically grown cotton like fleece, terry, sherpa and velour.

image source

Purchase items in bulk…

…and say goodbye to excessive packaging waste. You might not need to buy large amounts of every item on your grocery list, but buying in bulk makes a lot of sense for those things you find yourself using day after day such as laundry detergent, toilet paper, and razors.

image source

Look no further than the App Store.

There are countless smartphone apps out there to help you on your journey to becoming a greener shopper. We love Good Guide, which lets you view the score for over 250,000 products based on how its company works to protect health, the environment and society.

image source

Shop vintage.

There’s nothing greener than buying something secondhand. Next time you’re in the mood for a new dress, why not hit up a vintage shop for a change? You might find something amazing, and you know no one else will be wearing it.

image source

Shop the perimeter of the grocery store.

Typical grocery stores place their produce, meats, and dairy items on the perimeter of the store. All of the packaged and processed foods live on the inner aisles. So next shopping trip, shop the outside borders first, and then work your way in. The result will be healthier and more natural food choices, and less wasteful packaging!

image source

Look for the Leaping Bunny.

Sure, you know how to check labels for calories and expiration dates, but The Leaping Bunny Logo might be the most important packaging information of all. It’s the only internationally recognized symbol that guarantees that no animal tests were used in the development of that product, and can be seen on packaging for cosmetics and household products around the world.

image source

Keep reusable bags handy.

Always have a few reusable bags in the trunk of your car. So if an errand pops up while you’re out and about, or you have just enough time to hit up the grocery store, you don’t have to drive home to grab your bags.

For lots more tips on living clean & green, check out some of the other posts in our series!

The Cutest Kids Chore Chart

Why You Should Be Composting

Your Weekly Checklist for a Clean Green Home

How to Clean the House in 15 Minutes

Are You Doing Your Laundry Right?

*photo by Kristen Kilpatrick