Now, more than ever, we are feeling the need to change our habits in order to try and positively impact climate change. It can seem like quite a daunting task, but, small changes by many, can add up to big shifts!
Our aim is to help you start to make these small changes by shopping sustainably and to understand the greater impact those changes are having, not just on the planet but also on society.
Change sometimes needs to come from the ground up, as people, we can vote with how we choose to spend our money which encourages corporate companies to make changes! A perfect example of this is how ‘veganuary’ has massively disrupted the space and encouraged many businesses to offer vegan alternatives - even companies like KFC now offer a vegan option!
This guide is to help you understand what sustainable changes you can make to your shopping habits which will have a benefit to the planet and the creatures on it!
But before we dive in, the best piece of advice I can give you is to not try and change all your shopping habits immediately, this leads to being overwhelmed and willpower notoriously runs out, so don’t rely on that. We would recommend to take on one idea at a time, build it into your routine, you'll naturally know when to take the next step.
We’re super excited for you to start your journey into shopping more sustainably, it has been game changing for us! We’ve broken the blog down into shorter sections for you:
- Shopping the essentials
- Shopping for Gifts
- Shopping to power your home
- Shopping for Holidays and business travel
Shopping The Essentials - How to shop for your essentials sustainably
So when we say essentials, we mean the basics - food, clothes, toiletries, homeware and even you’re bigger purchases ie transport
One of the biggest impacts to sustainability is food and clothes shopping:
Food - SHOP LOCAL. We are loving seeing a more positive response to local businesses, it’s both sustainable and supports your local area, the money you spend is not paying shareholders who more than likely don’t live in your area, or even the country.
Local greengrocers are a great place to start, they will use a mix of local produce and imported, we’d also really recommend learning about seasonal veg - this is also another way to be more sustainable as it’s a lower carbon footprint-
We’ve linked a fab piece here if you want to have a read :
and a handy seasonal calendar for fruit and veg:
A side benefit to shopping more seasonally is that it’s also cheaper and better for you too, you eat more of a range of foods that are nutritionally diverse, something that is incredible for your gut health
If you want to know the importance of gut health - read this article about how it can affect everything, including your mental health.
Another benefit is the difference in plastic waste, super markets literally cover EVERYTHING with single use plastic, whereas your local greengrocers will be loose, which also helps you not overbuy and cut down on food waste! You know what we're talking about, you buy a full bag of carrots, but only need two and end up throwing them away!!! We’ve all been there!
We know a push back on this is a potential increase in food costs, but we have found that we buy less and waste less, the veg is far better quality and tastes sooooo much better and lasts longer! Which for us has been a win win!
If you’re time poor, a veg box might be another great solution? It’s super easy and straight to your door!
A huge mindset shift for us was the realisation that our health and looking after our bodies is the most important thing we can do, that starts with how we are fuelling it. It might cost a bit more, but for us that means eating less takeaway, because the food we can cook is much tastier!
We’d recommend bringing your own bags with you, we opt for organic cotton bags, again staying away from plastic and also using brown paper bags instead of the small plastic ones, most grocers have them.
Our final really big tip on the food side, is plan! Make a food plan for the week / two weeks, this has been game changing for us! We spend less money, less time and less food waste (literally nothing goes in the bin!) also knowing what we’re doing means we are less likely to opt for a takeout. We also like to batch cook, this means on days when you’re busier you’ve got something super quick lined up that just needs heating up!
All of these small changes add up to such huge differences when it comes to being more sustainable! Honestly the first time we compared the plastic waste on a supermarket food shop to our first greengrocers shop we were SHOCKED!!!!
Again this is the same for your local butchers (this was before we were vegan) yes it’s definitely abit more expensive, but the quality and taste is so much better, you’ll be massively cutting down on your plastic consumption and locally sourced means a much lower carbon footprint. We would again recommend a food plan, freezing too so you cut down on food waste.
We’re not here to push going vegan, but even cutting down on your meat consumption has a huge benefit to the environment. Changing one meal a week has benefit!
Food production accounts for ¼ of the worlds greenhouse gas emissions and takes up half of the planets habitable surface.
This is a fab source if you want to know more about the impact
Again, this isn’t about taking all this on in one chunk! It would feel too much! We started with small things. For example, planning out our meals and getting into a really good habit with that, taking the time to cook and batch cooking (making enough for the next day)
Reducing our plastic by bringing our own bags, shopping for loose veg in the supermarket. We then started to shop more locally gradually.
Most importantly enjoy it! We’ve tried more food, added in so much variety, different recipes and had fun with it!
Clothes - Obvs we love fashion here at KIHT so this is important to us! We are originally from a fast fashion background, so weaning ourselves off fast fashion to starting our own ethical and sustainable brand has been such a journey!
The fashion industry is the 2nd LARGEST polluter in the world
Yes you may want to read that again, it's an awful fact and something that needs to change.
It’s 100% a mindset shift, choose well, buy less, wear more.
We’ve pulled together some brands we LOVE that are doing amazing things in the sustainable fashion space and we are obvs going to plug our own brand here too!
We’d recommend looking for brands who are ethical, sustainable, work on give back initiatives, or are part of groups like BCorp, for us we try to avoid Far East production (we manufacture in Portugal) as from our experience in the industry this is very difficult to control ethically. It also has a higher carbon footprint because of the distance it has travelled and laws around garment production are very different in terms of pollution.
‘In most of the countries in which garments are produced, untreated toxic wastewaters from textiles factories are dumped directly into the rivers.’
If you want to read more on this, we’ve got a great article here:
Another super important piece to sustainability when it comes to clothing is after care. The better you care for your clothes, the longer they will last. This has a huge impact on sustainability!
‘With the average lifetime for a clothing garment in the UK estimated as just 2.2 years; and an estimated £140 million worth of clothing ending up in landfill each year – taking good care of your clothes has never been more important.’
Wash less, think twice before you sling something into the wash basket, if it just needs a freshen up try hanging it outside, or in a steamy bathroom to air first.
Wash at low temperatures - wash at 30°or less. It helps to reduce emissions whilst also protecting your clothes and prevents colour fading too. We’d say the exception to this, might be things like your bedding, towels, that might need washing at slightly higher temperatures.
Do not tumble dry - again this has a HUGE impact on emissions and also the lifespan of your clothes.
Lower your spin cycle - the lower the better as it helps with carbon emissions and also cuts down on damage to fibres and the potential releasing of microplastics.
Wash clothing inside out - this protects the fibres, also avoid over filling your washing machine to cut down on friction and avoids damaging fibres.
Read the Care label - Different materials need different levels of care - for instance wool needs washing only when necessary on a gentle hand cycle with specific detergent. Checking care labels, particularly on more delicate fabrics and items will ensure their lifespan.
Use eco laundry powders and detergents
Standard detergents contain fossil fuel based substances and do not biodegrade. Eco laundry products are biodegradable and kinder to the planet as they are derived from natural and plant based ingredients. They are also now available in refillable or 100% post consumer recycled bottles too.
We’ve popped together some info here
Nothing smells better than freshly washed clothes off the line! It’s also better for the environment and your clothes too!
Donate, don’t bin!
Yes, this again has a really big impact! If you can use your local clothes bank rather than the bin. This keeps your clothing in the system and out of a landfill!
Self care, furniture, cars, bicycles and tools even buying a house! You're essentially looking for the same things, what is the carbon footprint of the product, energy efficiency and will the product last, electric cars, carbon neutral houses are all becoming possible, in the meantime look at these links for self care and a furniture blog we really love!
Shopping sustainably for Gifts
Ok so you need to buy a sustainable gift, we’ve got you! We’ve pulled together our FAVE sustainable gift ideas here - - link to pillar blog
Everything you need to know about buying a gift that’s sustainable!
If you want a quick fix on this then check out our ethical and sustainable Hoodies - https://kiht.co.uk/collections/ethical-hoodies
Also here is our blog on sustianable gifts for her to check out to for some amazing ideas! - https://kiht.co.uk/blogs/blog/sustainable-gifts-for-her
Shopping to power your home
its becoming more easier to switch up your utilities company supplier with websites like Uswtich.com if you use these then you can actually request clean energy sources so you aren’t adding to emissions with you household activities.
We recommend OVO energy, they are very reasonably priced and you can opt in for a carbon-neutral!
Also, look at your home lifestyle, are you leaving lights on? not shutting doors in winter? All these small things will help to cut down your home emissions and save you money too! Win win!
Shopping for holidays and travel
We are living in a super fast paced era and travelling around the world has never been easier, or cheaper. This ease of movement is now coming with a price, but not your pocket, it's the planet.
It's so cheap to hop on a plane and much more convenient to jump in the car, rather than walk, we’ve all been there!
So, as we said earlier, this is about small changes first.
Taking the stairs instead of the elevator, it’s better for both you and the planet! Can you walk instead of drive? Could you even cycle?
Thinking of travelling abroad? Have a little read of this fab blog on eco friendly travel companies
Again we just want to stress, this is not about being ‘perfect’ about ‘judging’, getting overly stressed. It’s about small manageable changes over time and making them part of your routine! Remember small manageable changes add up to big shifts!
Here's a great youtube video we’d recommend watching on 50 things I no longer buy to live a more sustainable lifestyle (and save money!)
Thanks for reading! We hope this helps you on you’re sustainable journey, we’d love to know your thoughts too, drop us a comment below, or if you’ve got any great tips on living sustainably please share below!! x