By Laura Green
Our current market setup encourages us to consume, consume and consume, often at the detriment of our planet. With climate change threatening our planet’s health, being a conscious consumer is one way of doing our bit for the environment. With that in mind, here’s our guide to being a conscious consumer.
Avoid plastic bags and packaging when buying veggies, and bring reusable grocery bags whenever you go for a shop. Biodegradable plastic bags can also be purchased online for less than $5. When buying packaged products, consider whether their box or wrapping could be recycled, and choose accordingly.
Avoid Unsustainable Crops
We’ve all heard of the terrible effects of palm oil in tropical countries, so look out for it on ingredients lists. You can also consider avoiding cash crops; crops planted in less developed countries on vast scales, such as generic tea, coffee, and tobacco brands, which see areas for farmers to grow their food greatly reduced.
Search for logos on fair trade and sustainably sourced products on items such as tea, coffee, chocolate, and paper.
Buy Fair Trade
This can be a difficult one. Ethically made clothing seems few and far between, but there are resources online, such as Shop Ethical. You can also look for fair trade logos, shop from local boutiques, or look for “Made in Australia” tags. If you can’t afford these brands, digging through Op Shops is a great way to support another cause while avoiding sweatshop garments.
Go Flexitarian or Plant-Based
Much research has recently gone into the benefits of cutting some or all animal products from our diets. The resources used to farm animals are enormous, so cutting animal products out of just a couple of meals a week will reduce your footprint on the earth dramatically.
A new trend and lifestyle known as minimalism is being adopted by many environmentalists. It means only buying and keeping products that truly bring meaning to your life, and has resulted in a win for the environment by reducing waste production.
Give Harsh Chemicals the Flick
Organic bath and cleaning products are growing in demand, and their quality is coming to an all-time high. Brands like Lush and Sukin are leading the way, making it immensely easier to find natural products. You can also create cheap DIY cleaning products with lemon juice or vinegar and water.
Remember the aim isn’t to perfectly implement every one of these actions, but do your best at reducing your impact. The earth will thank you for it!