August 12, 2010
hello dearies! it feels funny to not have written a shop help post yesterday, but just in case you missed the news- biz articles will only be posted occasionally, as this fall i’m offering a brand new e-course for online sellers called selling the handmade way- i hope to see you there!
lately, i’ve been thinking a lot about shopping ethically. every time i’m in the store and reach for an organic goody, the annoyingly cheaper alternative always seems to scream at me. it’s for this reason why i constantly have to remind myself why it’s important to shop with a conscience.
you may say, why is it important to shop ethically? with every purchase you make, you vote for what you believe in, what you support, and what you want to see more of. if we increase the demand for more organic, local, fair trade, sustainable products, then companies will respond and the prices will come down. with every purchase, we send a message directly to the manufacturers about what we want and what we like to buy. the products we purchase have a direct effect on our economy, our personal health, and the health of our planet.
how to do you begin? i like to start off by asking myself a few questions:
- - do i really need this?
- - will i be able to use this for long time, then recycle it?
- - how far did this have to travel to reach me?
- - who made it and how were they treated?
- - is it labeled honestly or with clever marketing?
so how do you shop ethically? there are a few guidelines that i try to adhere to anytime i can. first, if there’s an organic option, i always try to support it! if you can’t afford to buy everything organic, do some research on what is most important to buy organically. for instance, (for health reasons) it’s more important to buy organic strawberries than it is to buy organic bananas, because the thicker skinned fruits aren’t as susceptible to absorbing pesticides.
next, always buy your fruits and veggies seasonally and try to buy them local if you can. preserving seasonal foods while you can will save you from contributing to the thousands of miles these foods must travel out of season. read more about our initiative to eat more seasonal and local foods here.
always read the labels. with statements like fresh, all natural, cage free, no added hormones and no added gmo- it’s hard to know what’s what! often times there aren’t any regulations behind such statements, so it’s important to find out where it’s coming from- an agency, the government or the company itself? be conscious of marketing efforts and don’t fall victim to thinking items are good for you just because they’re covered with green labels and leaves. to find out more about what these statements mean and who’s behind them, read this article on making sense of food labels.
choose fair trade. fairly traded goods mean that the people who grew the food or produced the item are getting paid and treated fairly, meaning they’ll be able to stay in business!
purchase with a conscious. go beyond personal health and look for the most recycled, low packaging options available. support recycled paper goods for your kitchen, bathrooms and office and always look for the products that have the lease amount of packaging. instead of buying single use items, invest in melamine plates for picnics, cloth towels for napkins/paper towels and reusable grocery bags to shop with.
buy handmade! that’s an easy one, right?! if you think there might be a handmade alternative, skip the big box store and support small businesses. visit places like etsy, artfire or your favorite handmade blog to find alternatives.
it’s not always easy (or most affordable) to shop with a conscious, but don’t think that your efforts are wasted or go unnoticed. whether it’s one ethical purchase or a hundred- you really do make a difference and your health as well as the health of the planet will benefit from every sustainable decision you make!
do you have any tips, advice or suggestions?